Meta tags are little pieces of code added to the <head> section of HTML code. They serve as a means of communication between the search engine and your webpage.
Most web pages are not indexed on Google or don’t rank well on SERP (search engine result page) due to negligence of meta-tags and their diverse application.
Why We Need Meta-Tags
1. Google Index
Google index is a database for all landing pages, websites, blog posts, and all online content. It serves as a list that contains all web pages that have been added to it.
Whenever the search engine is being used, Google refers to this list and provides the result to those queries based on what it finds on its database.
Meta tags help your web page to be indexed into that database and also make it possible for your web page to be part of top results on SERP.
2. Web Crawlers
Meta-tags are a means of communication between a website and search engine robots (crawlers) or in this case, Google bots; they are responsible for crawling the content of the pages to be indexed.
If your page or content meets the predetermined requirements like user-friendliness, quality, or relevance to the user then your website or pages gets indexed and ranked on Google.
A lot of people make the common mistake of using meta-tags as a channel of communication between your website and Google bots alone but they also help to communicate with your audience.
They let them know what your post is all about; which allows them to make a decision on which website to choose on Google’s SERP.
Some Examples of Meta-Tags
This tag is useful to Google bots and also the users. It lets people know the title of your web page or content.
This is the title that shows up on Google’s SERP after a query/search. It is very important for the title to describe the content of your page as well as containing the appropriate amount of keywords necessary for both the search engine robots and also for the user.
The title should also be catchy, clear, and understandable. This will go a long way in becoming a deciding factor on why users choose your page over the rest.
Meta-description helps in describing your page content. It appears directly under the title on Google’s SERP.
Meta-description can be automated, chosen from a paragraph from the content of your page or you could write a separate description (which converts more than the automated ones).
Make sure to avoid keyword stuffing, it might work well for the algorithm but not so much for the users.
Users will click a page based on those few lines of description so it is advisable to write a very persuasive description.
This describes how the webpage will interface with devices other than the desktop. It communicates with the search engine how to display your page on the desktop, tablet, or phone.
Keywords are essential for any page to rank on Google SERP. This tag helps communicate with the search engine crawler (Google bots), that your content contains the keyword entered into the query/search.
Meta-keyword helps you to optimize your content for SEO without necessarily stuffing your content with keywords.
Ranking on Google can be more effective when you utilize keywords.
This meta-tag is used to indicate the author of the web page or writer of the article or blog post.
Other Examples of Meta-tags;
2. Twitter cards meta tags and Open Graph meta tags.
3. Nofollow, sponsored and user-generated content meta tags.
4. Language meta-tags.
5. Notranslate meta-tags.
6. No-site-links-search-box Meta-tag.
7. Meta charset tag.
8. Date meta-tags.
There are several CMS tools (content management system tools). They are pieces of software designed to help users to create, edit, publish, manage, and store digital content. They are the interfaces used to manage all the meta-tags.
You don’t need any background knowledge of HTML to use these tools. Some examples of CMS tools are WordPress, Wix, Joomla, Blogger, etc.
Meta-tags’ usefulness cannot be overemphasized and learning how to use them to interact with Google’s algorithm will help boost your website SEO.