What are Meta Tags?
Meta tags are the part of your websites code that inform Googles search bot crawler on what your website is about and the products or services you provide. The information is not visible to people viewing your website, but it can be seen by search engines and search engine crawlers, sometimes called spiders. Meta tags are part of your HTML code that only search engines can see.
Meta tags are used to describe each separate page on your website. So, you can have unique meta tags on each page describing different things. This data can be used to decide where to rank your website in the free search engine listings. Usually search engines use meta tags to display the info as a snippet in the search engine results (often called SERPS). See an example below.
What you choose to enter in the meta tags could be used to be displayed when people search for your products or services. There are 2 tags, the title tag and description tag. We shall go further into these a little later. Each page of your website should have it’s own unique metatags, so you don’t get any duplicate tag alerts.
If you use WordPress, then adding meta tags is easy using the plugin Yoast SEO. You simply go on each page in your admin and add the meta tags. The Yoast SEO plugin also alerts you when your title or description meta tag is too long as nothing looks worse then a search engine result description that cut’s off mid-sentence as the one you entered is too long using too many characters.
Most other website build platforms will have an option to add your own meta tags on each page as part of its admin so you can easily add your own. Always remember to keep them unique and use them to describe the product or service for that page.
Meta Description Tag
This is used to describe the page to searchers as they look through the search engine results after searching using the search box. Usually the short descriptions displayed for each listing and website is the meta description. Always keep this to around 160 characters in length, any more you risk your result showing a cut off word or mid-sentence cut off. It’s important to get this right so it reads well and describes your product or service clearly, including any vital information that the searcher might be interested in which will entice them to click your link and not anyone else’s.
Think of it as a short sales pitch and a chance to grab your potential customers attention, like an advert. If you have a product cheaper than anyone else include this, or maybe a sale on or special deal. Include anything that means people should use your business and not anyone else’s. Do not include the same information in the first sentence that you have in your title tag as in the search results they could appear underneath each other so you get replicated information.
Meta Title Tag
Always use a unique title tag on every page, again describing what that pages product or service is. Google usually displays the first 50-60 characters of a sentence for the title tag so always keep it shorter than 60 characters in total. The title tag is usually bold too so stands out more so make sure you use relevant information. If it’s a product page, then you use the product name in the title and maybe price if you are competitive when compared to your competitors. Things like free delivery, 0% finance, sales, deals etc should all be included in the title tag if you can.
Make sure it reads well too and makes sense don’t just include keywords crammed in, it represents your website and business and is the first thing people will see when searching Google so make sure it looks professional. Your title meta tag is displayed at the top of browsers too so it’s important to get this right.
Don’t use all capital letters and don’t over do it with keywords. Try keep the title tag to what the page is about, so if your page sells green teddies then your title tag could be about buying green teddies online with free delivery etc. Put your important keywords at the start of the title tag too so it’s at the beginning of the sentence. Try not to create spam text and always remember to create well written descriptions and paragraphs.
Make sure your title tag and description tag work well together and compliment each other. Try not to repeat in the first sentence of your description tag the same information you have in your title tag as this will appear underneath each other in the results.