When it comes to search engine optimisation (SEO) marketers have to pay attention to multiple moving pieces to score a good position in the search engine results pages. There’s the quality of your content, how fast your web page loads, the structure of your websites, and the overall user experience that can make or break your SEO strategy. One factor that is often overlooked is the meta tags.
And, understandably so. In the past, marketers abused meta tags by stuffing them with keywords, so Google took a stance and altered the way it managed and reviewed them.
However, ignoring meta tags completely is a mistake that can affect your ranking.
So, let’s take a look at what meta tags are, their impact on SEO, and how to optimise them for the Google search result page.
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What Are Meta Tags and How Do They Help SEO?
Meta tags are snippets of code that give search engines important information about your web page, such as what your content is about or how it should be displayed on the results page.
Unlike the tags available on a blog post or video, the meta data is only visible to search engines or the people who know how to look for the inside the HTML code.
Meta tags don’t have a direct influence on your ranking, but they can affect user experience, which ultimately can translate into a better position in the search engine results page.
As we explained earlier, meta tags offer search engines more details about your page than a simple search term or your page’s content. That way, Google can ensure that the users who land on your web page will have a satisfactory experience and actually find an answer to their query. And, as we all know, Google places a great value on user experience.
More than that, you can also optimise your meta data in a way that will make your website more noticeable to the search engines.
How to Optimise Your Meta Data for Google
The main types of metadata are: meta title tags, meta descriptions, and meta robots. Let’s talk about each and understand their role and how you can make the most out of them to advance your SEO strategy.
Meta Title Tags
The title tag is one of the most important SEO elements of a web page. It’s the page title that Google shows in its search results and it can have an enormous impact on your click-through rates. Title tags are essential in telling users what your page is about and if your content can offer an answer to their query.
How to Optimise Title Tags
- Write your title tags with search intent in mind. This is not a place to get too creative or elusive. The title tag should tell people instantly if you have a solution to their problem;
- Keep your title tags short and to the point. Avoid vague or generic descriptions;
- Use keywords strategically. Include your focus keyword in the title tag but only if it makes sense. Don’t try to force it as it will make the title tag sound unnatural;
- Write unique title tags for each web page;
- Write actionable title tags, but try to stay away from click baits;
- Keep in mind that your title tag should be less than 60 characters.
The meta description tag offers a brief summary of your page’s content. It appears below the title tag and it’s an essential SEO element of a web page. Although the meta name description content won’t affect your ranking, it serves like a pitch that can help you convince prospects to click on your link. A good meta description can boost your click-through rate if you manage to persuade users that your page is exactly what they are looking for.
How to Optimise Meta Descriptions
- Keep the character count in mind but don’t obsess over it. In fact, a study conducted by SEMRush found that meta descriptions that exceeded the 160 character count got a 36% higher click-through rate. People aren’t robots, and a good meta description will weigh more than one that stays within the character count limit;
- Use an active voice to tell users what to expect when clicking on your linking but without boring them with unnecessary details. Make your meta description specific and concise and make sure it matches the content on your web page;
- You are very careful about your keywords and make sure to include them in your content, landing pages, image description, and product description. Why would you neglect to include your focus keyword in your meta description content, the element on your page that is among the first to tell Google what your page is all about? Introduce the keyword naturally in a way that educates users about the page’s content.
- Include a call to action to invite readers to click on your page.
The robots meta tag tells the search engines how they should crawl your web page. By reading the meta name robots content, search engines know what commands to take. Here are some examples:
index or noindex: Tell the search engines if your web page should be shown in search results or no;
follow/nofollow: Tells the search engines if they should follow or no the links on your page;
noarchived: Tells the search engines not to show a cached link to a page in search results;
notranslate: Tells the search engines not to provide a translation of a web page in search results.
How to Optimise Meta Robots Tags
Only use meta robot tags when you want to restrict the way Google crawls your web pages. Using the wrong attributes can have a negative effect on your website’s presence in search results. For example, labelling an important page as noindex by mistake can affect your organic traffic, click-through rate, and ultimately your conversions;
Write the attributes in lowercase as it can improve the readability of your code.
Do You Need Help with SEO?
On their own, meta tags won’t do much to advance your SEO strategy, but when you combine them with other practices, you can start seeing impressive results.
Not only will meta tags help you improve user experience, but it can also make your site more visible to search engines and boost your click through rate.
If most of the things in this article sound foreign to you, that’s ok. SEO is a language that not too many people speak. But, we here at Australian Internet Advertising are proficient in all things search engine optimisation.
Contact us today and have a chat with one of our Search Engine Optimization experts about your SEO needs and expectations and see what we can do for you.