So, What Are Meta Tags?
It’s a question I’m asked often: what are meta tags? It’s also the question fellow copywriters don’t like to answer. That’s either because they don’t specialise in on page SEO like I do. Or they don’t want to educate their clients. That last one is rather weird, but other copywriters don’t like teaching others how to increase website conversions because they’re scared they’ll loose clients. As for me, I’m all about sharing my knowledge with others and for free too!
So, today by reading to the end, you’ll find out what meta tags are, where they go and why they’re important for your SEO.
What Are Meta Tags?
Meta tags are little pieces of HTML code you can give your website. They help search engines understand what is on each page of your site. These bits of code sit at the top of your web page, between the open and close head tags. If you’ve never seen them before, that’s totally normal. They are hidden in the HTML code on each page of your website.
There are four main types of meta tags. They are:
- Meta Keywords – the keywords you’ve used on each page. It looks like this: <meta name=”keywords” content=”SEO, Google, Search, etc”/>. Google has said that they don’t use this meta tag to rank pages anymore.
- Meta Description – the short blurb which is seem on search engine results. It looks like this: <meta name=”description” content=”This is where you put your page’s blurb”/>
- Meta Robots – this piece of code tells the visiting robots or bots what to do when they scan your page. It looks like this: <meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow”/>
- Title Tag – okay this one isn’t actually a meta tag, but it goes in the same area as the others so I’ve included it. It looks like this: <title>Title text here</title>
Are Meta Tags Important to SEO?
A long time ago in the land of SEO, meta tags played an important role in ranking your website. But some people overused them to artifically rank their sites higher. Nowadays meta descriptions still play a role in SEO, but they’re not a major factor. That means you don’t have to over analyse their usage and you can ignore them if want to. If you can’t or don’t add meta tags, search engines will choose some to display in search results. Other website platforms such as Website Builder and WordPress will automatically assign meta tags for you or you can enter them yourself.
Search engines like Google read your hidden meta tags to see if they contain words which match your page’s content. If they do, it can help increase that page’s ranking. I saw can, because it’s not guaranteed, just like everything else in SEO.
Where Do I Use Meta Tags?
This depends on the platform you are using to build your website on. WordPress does not automatically include meta tags into it’s code, so you have to install a plugin like Yoast SEO which will. For a Website Builder site, just head to each page to edit it, click on options and scroll down to the search engine optimisation box. To use them in your Shopify site, you enter meta tags by editing your layout. In Wix, they are added automatically when you write your page titles and their SEO Wiz.
If you’ve gotten stuck with identifying meta tags, then Spotty Lizard can help! We’re keyword finders, which means the keywords we identify for your site can also be used as meta tags. Send us a message using our contact form below and let’s get things sorted!