Meta Tags have been one of the most basic elements of SEO. It is a must to know for every SEO practitioner. Are meta tags a factor in Google page rank? Is it important? What effect does it have on your site’s SEO?
Meta tags have been around since… Since I can remember. They have been a big part in search engine history. They were valued as a factor in rankings before – until people started abusing their use in getting on top of the SERPs. After that, Google opted for meta tags out of the ranking factors. But that doesn’t mean they’re not important anymore. Meta tags still play quite a big role in your site’s SEO.
Meta tags are the words that are hidden in your code. People browsing your site will just not be able to see them. It is, as Danny Sullivan puts it, a ‘legal’ way of hiding words in your webpages for search engines. The search engines still read them for it to have a simple, summarized idea of what your site is about and what exactly your keywords are.
Meta tags are located inside your html’s head area. These tags are what you should learn about after being well-versed in HTML tags.
<head>Meta tags are located here</head>
There are three important parts of Meta tags that you can use:
1. Title – The title tag is the title text that is shown in search engine listings. I know that this is not necessarily a meta tag, but it similarly functions like one.
<title>Title text here</title>
2. Description – The meta description tag is where you would want to put your site’s summary. This is where you put what your site is all about and what you are offering people. It should not be too long because the search engines only read up to a certain number of words.
<meta name=”description” content=”This is where you put your site’s summary”/>
3. Keywords – The meta keywords tag is where you put all of the keywords you use on your site. This is basically where you want the words which will take you to the top of the SERPs page to be. Your keywords are important – even if you take away all of the other words, the user should be able to know what your site is all about when they read your keywords.
<meta name=”keywords” content=”SEO, Hacker, Google, Search, etc”/>
These three things make up your meta tags.
The importance of meta tags is that the search engines read them in order to compare if these keywords and the description are related to the visible content. Are your keywords present in your webpage? Is your meta description related to your content and your site’s niche? There is a certain weight in your meta tags that the search engines see, that being the reason, wouldn’t you want to do everything in order to bring your page a little bit higher in the SERPs? That’s exactly the reason why meta tags are important.
Tips for Keeps: Even if meta tags do not hold much water when it comes to page ranking, their importance is still present as the search engine robots validate their relativity to your content and site niche.
This entry is part of the SEO Hacker School series: Using Meta Tags for SEO
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Next Lesson: What Search Engine Crawlers do with your Meta Tags