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Apr 7, 2023

Meta Tags for SEO: Know How They Help in Optimizing Content

Suman Samal, Asst. Marketing Manager
Suman Samal
Meta Tags for SEO: Know How They Help in Optimizing Content

Contents

Meta tags can prove to be a powerful tool, if you want to optimize the ranking of your websites on search engines. But how to use them effectively?

In this beginner's guide, we'll take a closer look at meta tags and how they can impact your SEO efforts. We'll discuss what meta tags are, the different types of meta tags you can use, and how to create effective meta tags that help improve your search engine rankings.

So let’s dive in and ensure you are not missing anything when it comes to your website's SEO meta tags.

What are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are snippets of text that provide additional information about a web page to search engines and enhance its visibility in search results. They are included in the head section of the HTML code and are not visible on the actual page. There are various types of meta tags, which includes title tags, description tags, and keyword tags.

Do Meta Tags Impact SEO and rankings?

Yes, meta tags do have an impact on SEO. While they are not the only factor that search engines use to determine rankings, they can help improve a website's search rankings. Two most important meta tags include a descriptive title tag and a compelling meta description tag which can encourage users to click on a website's link in search results.

Using relevant keywords in metadata can help search engines understand the content of the page and get it indexed for your target keywords. However, it is important not to rely solely on meta tags for SEO and to focus on creating quality content that provides value to users.

Meta title

The meta title is one of the most important meta tags for SEO. It appears as the clickable headline in search results and should accurately describe the content of a web page. It should include relevant keywords and be concise, ideally under 60 characters, to avoid being truncated in search results.

Importance of Meta Title for SEO

The Meta Title appears in search engine results, and it allows the users to know in a glimpse whether the content answers their query or not. A well-crafted title can encourage clicks and improve search engine rankings. A strong Meta Title improves website visibility by including important keywords and utilizing action-oriented language.

Optimizing Meta Titles is a good way to increase a website's online presence and performance overall.

How to write title tags

To write effective title tags, first, make sure it accurately describes the content of the web page. Include the keywords that are relevant to the topic of your webpage in order to optimize it for search engines. Make sure the title is unique and descriptive; avoid using generic titles such as “Home Page” or “About Us”. Consider including your brand name but prioritize the focus on the main topic of the page.

Best practices to follow while creating meta title

The best practices to follow while creating meta titles include:

  • Accurately describing the content of the web page.
  • Each page should have a unique and specific title tag.
  • Using relevant keywords naturally.
  • Keeping the title concise (under 60 characters).
  • Avoid adding vague and generic titles.
  • Including the brand name (if relevant).
  • Using action-oriented language.
  • The title should be descriptive but brief.
  • Avoiding duplication across multiple pages.
  • Prioritizing the focus on the page's main topic.

These best practices will help you craft meta titles that get more clicks and help you build a strong online presence.

Avoid these common title tag mistakes

Some common mistakes to avoid while creating title tags include:

  • using duplicate titles across multiple pages
  • avoid keeping a page blank, ensure to add title tag to every page 
  • stuffing irrelevant keywords
  • making the title too long or too short
  • failing to accurately describe the content
  • using generic or vague language
  • prioritizing branding over relevance to the main topic of the page

Meta description

The meta description tag is another important meta tag that appears underneath the meta title in search results. It is a summary of the main content of the web page and encourages users to click through to the website. It should have complete sentences, ideally under 160 characters, and include the primary target keyword of the webpage.

Why is Meta Description important for SEO?

The Meta Description works like a short summary of a page. It is important for SEO and should give the users a quick insight to what a particular article/blog is all about. By including relevant keywords and adding a compelling summary to the meta description, you can create a nice meta description. Though it does not help in ranking, it makes the user click on your page.

It also helps search engines understand the content of the page and its relevance to the user's search query, which can in turn improve rankings.

How to write a meta description?

When writing a Meta Description, it's important to keep it concise, compelling, and relevant to the content on the web page. Start by outlining the key points of the page and identifying the most important keywords. Then, craft a complete sentence that accurately describes the content and includes the keywords.

Aim to keep it under 160 characters, but make sure it provides enough information to entice users to visit the website. Finally, review and revise the Meta Description regularly to ensure it's up-to-date and effective.

Alternatively, you can also use advanced AI tools like the Scalenut Meta Description Tool to create some amazing descriptions for your web pages. 

Best practices to follow while writing a meta description

To write an effective Meta Description, it's important to follow certain best practices such as:

  • Ensure that description accurately reflects the content of the page.
  • Includes relevant target keywords.
  • Keep it concise and compelling.
  • Ideally should remain under 160 characters.
  • Avoid duplicate meta description tags.
  • Meta descriptions shouldn’t be generic.
  • Keep it in sentence case.
  • Ensure each page has a unique meta description.
  • Regularly review and update your meta descriptions.

These best practices will improve the click-through rates and SEO performance of your website.

Avoid these common meta description mistakes

While writing a Meta Description, it's important to avoid certain common mistakes. Don't make it too long or too short, aim for the ideal length of under 155 characters.

Avoid including irrelevant or spammy keywords, as this can lead to a bad user experience and in worst cases, penalties from search engines. Ensure not to use the same Meta Description across multiple pages, as this can lead to duplicate content issues.

Meta robots

Robots meta tags are HTML tags that provide search engines with instructions on how to crawl and index your website's pages. These tags can be used to direct search engine robots to crawl or not crawl specific pages, index or not index certain content, or follow or not follow links on the page.

Using meta robots tags correctly can help improve your website's SEO performance and prevent indexing of unwanted pages or content. It's important to use these tags carefully and strategically, as incorrect usage can have negative consequences on your website's overall visibility and traffic.

Why it’s important for SEO

The Meta Robots tag, in particular, tells search engine robots whether to index or crawl a page, and which links to follow or ignore. Wrong meta robots can badly impact the presence of your website in search results. By using Meta Robots tags effectively, you can ensure that your website's pages are visible to search engines. A well-optimized Meta Robots tag can contribute greatly to the online visibility of your website.

How to add a meta robots tag to your page?

Adding a Meta Robots tag to your page is a simple process that involves inserting a line of code into the HTML of your page's head section. Start by opening the HTML editor for your page and locate the head section. Then, insert the following code:

<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">

Replace "index, follow" with the appropriate value for your page based on its content and purpose.

For example, if it's a page containing duplicate content, you may insert "noindex, follow" instead. Once you've added the code, save your changes and publish your page.

Your Meta Robots tag is now in effect and is well on its way to improving your SEO performance.

Best practices to follow

In addition to avoiding the common mistakes mentioned above, there are some best practices you can follow when using meta robots tags such as:

  • Ensure that all pages on your website have a Meta Robots tag, even if it's just the default value of "index, follow."
  • Use the "noindex" tag on pages that contain duplicate or thin content.
  • Use the "nofollow" tag on external links that lead to untrustworthy or low-quality websites.
  • Meta robot tags should only be used when you want to restrict or stop the way your page is crawled by Google.

These best practices will help you optimize your Meta Robots tags for effective SEO performance.

Avoid these common meta robots mistakes

While using Meta Robots tags, it's crucial to avoid certain common mistakes that can impact your website's SEO performance negatively.

  • Firstly, don't use the "noindex" tag on important pages, as this can prevent them from being indexed and make them invisible in search results. 
  • Secondly, avoid using the "nofollow" tag on internal links within your website, as this can impact the flow of PageRank and prevent important pages from being crawled.
  • Thirdly, don't use the "noarchive" tag unless you have specific reasons for wanting to prevent search engines from caching your content.

Meta viewport tag

Another important meta tag for SEO is the Meta Viewport tag. This tag provides information to browsers about how to display a webpage on different devices, such as desktops, smartphones or tablets.

Adding a viewport meta tag to your HTML code is a straightforward process and involves specifying values for properties such as width, initial scale, and user scalability. By optimizing the Meta Viewport tag, you can enhance the performance of your website on different devices including mobile phones. It is increasingly important for SEO in today's mobile-dominated world.

Why it’s important for SEO

Having a well-optimized Meta Viewport tag is important for SEO because it helps to ensure that your website is accessible to users on various devices, which improves the user experience and can lead to increased engagement and conversions.

With Google's mobile-first ranking approach and users increasingly relying on mobile devices to browse the internet, optimizing your website for mobile screens through the Meta Viewport tag is crucial. It can improve your website's overall SEO performance. Including the Meta Viewport tag in your HTML code is a simple yet effective way to enhance your website's mobile responsiveness and improve your SEO rankings.

How to add a meta viewport tag to your page?

To add a Meta Viewport tag to your webpage, you need to include the following HTML code within the head section of your webpage:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, user-scalable=0">

The 'width' property specifies the width of the viewport in pixels, while the 'initial-scale' property specifies the initial zoom level of the webpage. The 'user-scalable' property controls whether users are allowed to zoom in or out of the webpage. By optimizing these properties, you can ensure that your website is properly optimized for different screen sizes, leading to improved user experience and better SEO rankings.

Best practices to follow

When it comes to optimizing your Meta Viewport tag for SEO, there are several best practices to follow:

  • Make sure that the viewport width is set to 'device-width' to ensure that your website is optimized for different device sizes.
  • Meta viewport tag should be used on each and every web page. 
  • Set the initial-scale value to 1.0 to avoid unnecessary zooming in or out for users.
  • Ensure that user-scalable is set to 0 to prevent users from scaling your page.

By following these best practices and regularly checking your website's responsiveness across different devices, you can improve your website's SEO rankings and overall online visibility.

Meta charset

Another important meta tag for SEO is the Meta Charset tag. This tag is used to specify the character encoding of your webpage, ensuring that browsers display your webpage correctly. By setting the correct character encoding, you can enhance your website's readability and accessibility, leading to better user experience and improved SEO rankings. Make sure to include this tag in all your webpages and regularly check your website to ensure that everything is working as intended.

Why it’s important for SEO?

Meta charset is important for SEO because the wrong encoding of the characters can make them appear broken in the browser. Issues in character formatting can create a bad experience for users and they may not want to look at your page. The bounce rate will increase and dwell time will decrease, with people spending less time on your page.

How to add a meta charset tag to your web page?

Adding a meta charset tag to your webpage is a simple process. You can add the following code in the head section of your HTML file:

<meta charset="UTF-8">

Make sure to replace "UTF-8" with the specific character encoding that you are using. Doing so will ensure that your webpage is properly optimized for different browsers and devices, leading to better SEO performance and improved user experience.

Best practices to follow

Here are some Meta Charset best practices to follow for the desired results.

  1. Always include a Meta Charset tag in the head section of every webpage.
  2. Use the correct character encoding for your website content.
  3. Regularly check your website to ensure proper rendering across different devices and browsers.
  4. Avoid using outdated or unsupported character encodings.
  5. Ensure that your web server is configured to deliver your website with the correct character encoding.
  6. Wherever possible use UTF-8.

These best practices will help you effectively use meta tags to improve your website's SEO performance and attract more organic traffic.

Meta refresh redirect

Meta refresh redirect is a method used to automatically redirect website visitors from one web page to another after a set time interval. This technique can be useful for redirecting visitors to a new URL or a newly created webpage.

However, it's important to use meta refresh redirect sparingly as it may negatively impact your website's SEO performance and user experience. Some search engines consider this method as a black hat SEO technique, so it's best to use it only when necessary and with caution. 

It's recommended to use other SEO-friendly techniques like 301 redirects to redirect your visitors to new content and maintain your website's online presence.

Why it’s important for SEO?

Meta refresh redirect is not considered an important technique for improving a website's SEO performance. In fact, it may have a negative impact on SEO as search engines may view it as a black hat SEO technique. It's recommended to use other SEO-friendly techniques like 301 redirects to maintain your website's online presence and ensure that your website ranks better on search engines.

Best practices to follow

When using the Meta Refresh Redirect tag on your website, it's important to follow these best practices:

1. Use meta refresh redirect sparingly.

2. Set a reasonable time interval for the redirect.

3. Provide a message for the user about the redirect.

4. Do not use meta refresh redirects as a substitute for permanent redirects.

5. Use other SEO-friendly techniques like 301 redirects to maintain and improve SEO performance.

While meta refresh redirects can be useful in certain cases, it's important to use it sparingly and follow best practices to avoid negative impacts on SEO and user experience.

How to add a meta refresh redirect tag to your page

While meta refresh redirects can be useful in certain situations, it's important to use them sparingly and properly. To add a meta refresh redirect tag to your page, include the following line of code within the head section of your HTML page:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5; url=http://www.example.com/new-page.html">

This code will redirect visitors to the specified URL after a 5-second delay. However, it's important to note that excessive use of meta refresh redirects can negatively impact your website's SEO and user experience. It's always best to use permanent redirects (301 redirects) whenever possible to maintain your website's online presence and avoid any negative impacts on SEO.

Heading Tags (H1-H6)

Heading tags, or H1-H6 tags, are an essential component of on-page optimization for SEO. These tags help indicate the content hierarchy of your page, with H1 being the most important and H6 being the least important.

It's important to use the H1 tag for your main page title and to structure your content using H2, H3, and other heading tags. Using these tags properly can improve the readability of your content and make it easier for search engines to understand the structure of your page.

Best Practices to follow

Let's take a look at some heading tag best practices to follow.

1. Use H1 for the main title of the page.

2. Use H2 for major sections of the content.

3. Use H3-H6 for subsections and subheadings within the content.

4. Avoid using too many heading tags on a single page.

5. Make sure your heading tags accurately reflect the content of the page.

Proper use of meta tags and heading tags can greatly benefit your website's SEO, but it's important to follow best practices and avoid overuse.

Should Your Title Tag & H1 Match?

One common debate in the world of SEO is whether your title tag and H1 tag should match. While it's not a requirement, having a similar title tag and H1 tag can provide clarity and consistency for both users and search engines.

Additionally, having your target keyword in both your title tag and H1 tag can signal to search engines that your page is relevant to that specific keyword. However, ensure to avoid stuffing keywords and check that your title tag and H1 tag accurately reflect the content on the page. Ultimately, the decision to match your title tag and H1 tag is up to you and what you believe will serve your website and audience best.

Also read: What is H1 Tags and How It Helps In SEO?

What about meta keywords?

Meta keywords are no longer a major factor in SEO and are often ignored by search engines. In fact, some search engines don't even use them at all. Therefore, it's best to focus on creating high-quality, relevant content on your website and using other SEO tactics such as optimizing your NLP key terms, title tags, heading tags, and meta descriptions. 

Avoid adding irrelevant or excessive keywords to your meta tags as it can be considered as keyword stuffing and can harm your website's SEO.

Using NLP (Natural Language Processing) key terms instead of stuffing meta keywords can greatly benefit your website's SEO as search engines like Google have moved away from relying heavily on meta keywords.

With NLP, search engines can better understand the context and meaning behind the words on your website. By using NLP key terms, you can improve your website's relevance and show up in more targeted search results. Additionally, using NLP key terms in your content and meta tags can improve your website's overall user experience as it can provide more informative and relevant information to your audience.

How Scalenut helps you with On-page SEO 

Scalenut is an AI-powered SEO and content marketing platform that helps marketers ensure they follow the highest standards of search engine optimization. The Scalenut Content Optimizer Tool is a one-stop-shop for every aspect of on-page SEO. 

From including the primary keyword in the meta title, meta descriptions, to ensuring that your images have an alt-text, the Content Optimizer gives you real-time analysis of the SEO quotient of your content. Furthermore, it keeps checking your content for optimal keyword density and also gives suggestions on possible NLP key terms that can increase the visibility of your content in SERPs. 

The Scalenut Content Optimizer is an end-to-end solution for on-page SEO. 

Final thoughts

Meta tags are an important aspect of SEO that can greatly impact your website's search engine rankings. By following best practices and avoiding common mistakes, you can create effective and relevant meta tags that accurately reflect your content and improve your website's overall performance in search results. 

Remember to focus on creating high-quality content that includes relevant keywords. Ensure that you are aware of the recent SEO trends as well as best practices to stay ahead of the competition.

Want to learn more about on-page SEO? 

Checkout Scalenut’s ebook on OnPage SEO Checklist and kickstart your journey towards high-performance SEO strategies.

FAQs:

How do you fix SEO meta description issues in Google Search?

To fix SEO meta description issues in Google Search, you can start by ensuring that your meta description reflects your content accurately and includes relevant keywords. Avoid generic or duplicate meta descriptions and make sure they are compelling and encourage users to click through to your site. 

You can use tools such as Google Search Console to identify and fix any issues with your meta descriptions, such as missing or too long descriptions. Additionally, regularly monitoring and updating your meta descriptions can improve your website's search engine rankings and overall performance.

Is meta description even worth filling?

According to current SEO best practices, filling out meta descriptions is still an important aspect of on-page optimization. Although search engine algorithms may not rely solely on meta descriptions to determine rankings, they can greatly impact click-through rates and user engagement with your website. 

To maximize the effectiveness of your meta descriptions, make sure they accurately reflect the relevant content on your pages and include compelling language that encourages users to click on your page.

What Meta tags should I include for my website?

There are several meta tags that can be included on a website, but some of the most important ones for SEO include the title tag, meta description, and meta keywords tag. The title tag should accurately and concisely describe the content on the page and include relevant keywords for SEO. 

The meta description should offer a brief summary of the page and also include important keywords. The meta keywords tag can include a list of relevant keywords related to the page's content. However, it's important to note that some search engines no longer use the meta keywords tag as a ranking factor. Always prioritize creating high-quality content and following current SEO best practices.

About Scalenut
Scalenut is an all-in-one SEO and content marketing platform powered by AI and enables marketers worldwide to make high-quality, competitive content at scale. From planning, research, and outlines to ensuring quality, Scalenut assist you to achieve the best in everything. 

Empower your content marketing campaigns with AI. Sign up on Scalenut, and start creating content today.

Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager
ABout the AUTHOR
Suman Samal
Asst. Marketing Manager

Suman Samal is a Asst. Marketing Manager at Scalenut. She is a technology enthusiast with a keen interest in content marketing and SEO. She truly believes that with the right set of tools every organization can improve the ROI of their content marketing campaigns. She spends her time managing content operations at Scalenut and ensuring that everything we publish is of the highest quality.

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