What are meta tags for SEO?
Meta tags are invisible tags including snippets of code that tell search engines important information about your pages, such as how they should display it in search results. They also tell web browsers how to show it to visitors.
Every web page has meta tags that are only visible in HTML code. Because they make it easier for search engines to determine what your content is about, meta tags are vital for SEO.
Why do meta tags matter?
As mentioned above, meta tags are critical to giving users a quick glance into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It appears as the primary piece of information and that used to decide which results to click on. Therefore, it’s important to use and optimize high-quality titles on your web pages.
SEO meta tags should be optimized to highlight the most important elements of your content. You also make sure the relevant information searchers need to know is displayed upfront in a concise and useful fashion by optimizing meta tags.
Best practices to craft perfect meta tags that improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your site
The title tag is the page title that is one of the first things that web searchers notice in the SERPs. It offers a preview of what your content is about. This means your title tag avoids generic and vague. Instead, it should be clear, descriptive, and usually under 50 characters.
Your title tag is not just for your visitors, but also for the search engines that learn your content on your site. Thus, you have to write a unique title tag for each page, put your target keyword where it makes sense, and more importantly, match search intent - click-worthy title, not clickbait.
The meta description is often used as a snippet displayed underneath the title tag. It is a short, relevant summary of what your particular page is about.
The meta description is like a pitch that convinces the user that the page is exactly what they’re looking for. Thus, it should generally inform and interest search users with an accurate description of the content of your page. As a title tag, the meta description should concise, not generic but match search intent. It’s useful for SEO to include your target keywords and keep under 160 characters.
Robots meta tag
The meta robots tag tells search engines which pages on your site should be indexed. This meta robot serves a similar purpose as robots.txt, the difference is that it is generally used to prevent a search engine from indexing individual pages. You use it to instruct the search engine crawlers not to index a page, or follow any links on it.
Understanding the robot meta tags help you use it more effective for SEO:
index: tell bots to index the page
noindex: tells bots no to index the page
follow: tells bots to crawl links on the page, and that you also vouch for them
nofollow: tell bots not to crawl links on the page, and that no endorsement is implied
A robots meta tag that instructs how search engines index or follow, would be written and combined like this:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" />
<meta name="robots" content="index, follow" />
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow" />
<meta name="robots" content="index, nofollow" />
If your site doesn't add a robots meta tag, the default for crawlers is to index and follow your page. So why would you need to use this meta tag? In case you might have some pages on your site which are thin content-wise so you don't want to be indexed in search. But they’re still important to the site, you use a noindex tag to prevent them from appearing in the SERPs. Remember do not block pages with meta robot tags in robots.txt.
Alt text optimization offers an additional opportunity to rank in the search results. It has become a very important element of modern SEO. The truth is that search engines are unable to know what are images so your images should be accessible to both search engines and people. Alt text can ensure both of these things: it provides a text alternative to images which is displayed if the image doesn’t load; it also tells search engines what that image is meant to represent.
Header tag (h1, h2, h3, etc.)
Header tags are part of your page, there are the headings that structure your page. You use header tags to improve the user experience. Your visitors can easily read the content and search engines also understand what your content is about.
The order of your header tags (from h1 to h6) arrange the importance of each section. An h1 tag typical is considered the page as the page title or article headline, while h2 and below serve as subheadings to break up your content.
The best practice is that help search engines understand your main topic on each page. Use them wisely and find a balance between the reading experience and the SEO value.
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