Meta tags may not be as important for SEO as they once were, but they are still important. This means that keyword stuffing in meta tags is dead. But it also means that intelligent use of meta tags to help humans and search bots is still alive and well.
In this article we will show you which meta tags you should be focusing on, which tags you can ignore completely, and how to make the most of the tags available to you.
What is a meta tag?
Meta tags provide information about your page. This can be on a range of things like what the page is about (meta description), who the author is (author tag) and what keywords the page is about (meta keywords).
Usually, these tags are added into the head section of your page and are not visible on it. They are used by browsers and search engines to better understand your content and guide the way that your site appears in search engines.
Meta tags and SEO
Meta tags are not as important for SEO as they once were. Google and other search engines have just got a lot better at reading and assessing what your page is and how good it is, so they don’t need to rely on the page’s meta data as much. What meta tags still do well is impact how your site is displayed in browsers, search engines and social media sites. This can have a big impact on click through rates and the amount of traffic your site receives.
The meta tag you can forget about
Because Google and Bing no longer need you to tell them what your page is about, the keywords tag has become the most redundant meta tag by far. It has absolutely zero positive impact on the rankings of your page. In fact, if you stuff it with keywords, you could actually see your rankings decrease. We advise to not use it at all.
The meta tags you should care about
There are a few meta tags that still do offer us value, however. These are the ones that alter the way that other websties display our pages and thus affect how likely someone is to click through.
The title of your page is actually the only tag that still carries some explicit SEO relevance. You should always include the keyword you are targeting near to the start of the header. But the page title is also the first thing someone sees when they see your link on Google. Therefore, you need to make it enticing enough for someone to click.
Your page’s description backs up your page’s title. It is the second thing, under the page title, that someone will see on Google. This can impact how likely they are to click, too. Try to make them enticing and, most importantly, make them all unique.
Social media meta tags
There are two social media-focused meta tags that you should be aware of and consider. The first is Open Graph, launched by Facebook, and Twitter Cards, launched by Twitter. Using these tags can change the way that your page is displayed when someone links to it on one of these social networks. If you try to create viral content, these tags are well worth employing.