Meta tags have the power to do wonderful things when it comes to search engine optimization. The purpose of meta tags is to provide some important information about your webpages to both online searchers and search engine crawlers. However, not all meta tags are created equal in terms of potential SEO power. Some are definite “must-use” tags, while others are either meaningless or possibly harmful. San Diego SEO optimization experts attempt to explain meta tags in detail.
What Are Meta Tags?
Meta tags are snippets of text that briefly describe the content of a webpage. Some are seen by both searchers and search engines, while others are only visible to the automated crawlers that determine how content ranks.
How Do Meta Tags Help with SEO?
When used correctly, meta tags help with SEO in several ways. Meta descriptions, in particular, are useful because they provide an extra clue about the content of a page. Google has specially said they take into account the content of a page as well as the references to the content that appear on the web. To help with SEO, meta tags need to:
- Accurately reflect the page’s content
- Use only one or two keywords in a way that’s natural and not forced
- Stay within the appropriate character limit (tags that are too long will get cut off)
Which Meta Tags Are Good?
In many SEO circles, the most important meta tag is the title tag, which is the main header on the page. Search engines use this tag to get the gist of what your page is about. Each page should have its own unique title tag.
With the increased use of mobile devices, the viewport tag has become important. It’s used to define the visible area of a webpage. When PCs were widely used, this tag was usually fixed for all pages, but now it needs to be adjusted for smaller screens.
Finally, there’s the meta description. Ranking isn’t influenced by this tag, but it’s still a critical part of SEO since the meta description is what users see on search engine results pages. If a meta description is compelling and relevant to what searchers are looking for, it’s likely to convince them to click the link associated with it.
Which Meta Tags Should Be Avoided?
Meta keywords were once widely used to help search engines understand which keywords were associated with content. However, meta keywords can also be easily abused, so they’re no longer considered for SEO purposes. Google is also not a fan of refresh tags. It’s better to use a 301 redirect. Some other tags to avoid include:
- Author/web author (there’s no need to ID the author of a webpage)
- Revisit after (no major search engines use this one)
- Expiration/date (just remove outdated pages instead)
- Generator (identifying what program was used to create a page is unnecessary)
- Cache control (it’s better to determine when and how often pages are cached in the HTTP header)
Successful search engine optimization involves a mix of techniques. Some methods are more technical, while others are more practical. Meta tags fall somewhere in the middle. They’re technical in the sense that you need to pay attention to format and character count, but they’re also practical because they provide more details about the type of content you are presenting.
For quality-assured search engine optimization services, businesses rely on Saba SEO. As one of the leading providers of internet marketing in San Diego, we have over ten years of experience in content creation, SEO, and PPC. By utilizing a variety of white hat tactics, we can help you increase your online visibility and create high-quality content that is sure to entice your target audience and rank well across all search engines. Give us a call at 858-951-1717 to find out how our experts can help you with your digital marketing needs.