You keep hearing how meta tags are so important, but what are they? And why are they so important?

When it comes to SEO, you may commonly here the term “meta tag” used, but do you really know what meta tags are? Do you have any idea why they are so important for SEO? If not, keep reading to learn more about mega tags and their importance.

You keep hearing how meta tags are so important, but what are they? And why are they so important?

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“The <meta> tag provides metadata about the HTML document. Metadata will not be displayed on the page, but will be machine parsable.”

-w3schools.com

 

So what does all this mean?

Simply put, meta tags are bits of text that describe the content on a page. They are hidden in the code of the page (HTML), and not something that visitors would actually see. It is, however, visible to search engines.

Breaking down the actual term: “meta” is short for “metadata” which shares information on the type of data presented by the tags. It literally is just telling you what the tag is about or what it is doing.

Sample of what meta tags would like.
Sample of what meta tags would look like. Image Source

Do meta tags really matter for SEO?

Yes, meta tags matter when it comes to SEO! However, they are seldom used correctly. Below are 6 of the most commonly used meta tags:

  • Title tags
    • First thing that people notice when a search result pops up. It is the title of your page; it tells user what your content is going to be about.
  • Robots
    • Tells search engines which pages on your site to index (have show up in search results). It also tells search engines whether to “follow” the links on your page or not.
  • Header tag
    • Headings that outline the structure of your page (h1, h2, h3. . .) The heading number essentially denotes the level of importance of each bit of content. For example, the h1 tag is typically used for the title of the page, h2 tags are for your subheadings.
HOW TO USE HEADER TAGS
  • Meta Description
    • This is the description that shows up underneath the title in a search result.
  • Alt text
    • Optimizing your images for search engines. The alt text is what will show if an image does not load. It also tell search engines what that image symbolizes as it relates to the text. This is VERY important for SEO!
  • Canonical tag
    • Helps to avoid a penalty for duplicate content. Tell search engines which piece of content to actually consider in instances where you have content that is very similar or may have been republished.
Example of a canonical tag provided by MOZ.
Example of a canonical tag provided by MOZ.

 

Hopefully, after reading this post, you have a better understanding of meta tags and how to use them to your advantage. Proper use of meta tags can skyrocket your SEO success, and do wonders for your traffic.

 

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