“Meta tags are a great way for webmasters to provide search engines with information about their sites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest.”- Google
Meta Tags and SEO
Search engines use meta tags to get more detail and context of your web pages. Search engines rely on analyzing sites for relevance based on searcher's intent.
Meta tags can be optimized to showcase the most important elements of your content and make your website stand out in the SERPs.
Meta Tag Checklist
- Ensure all pages have title tags and meta descriptions
- Use Alt text meta tags for images
- Use Canonical meta tags for duplicate pages
- Use meta tags consistently in the creation of new/updated content
Meta Tags For Site Optimization
1. Title Tag
SERPs display the title tag at the top and is usually the first thing users see after entering a search query. The title tag should never extend more than 55 characters long and should be clear and descriptive. Having a title tag is important for your content to be picked up by search engines.
2. Meta Description
The meta description is located just under the title tag in a SERP, but Meta description is of equal importance for SEO as the title tag. The Meta description needs a concise description of the content of your page. The best length for Meta descriptions is 150-165 characters, this the element that mostly drives organic traffic to your site from a SERP as it gives insight to users viewing search engine results regarding your content.
3. Canonical Tag
If you have identical pages you will want to set priority to search engine crawlers, or you may content that was also published somewhere else online, you can do both of these things by in using the canonical tag.
4. Robots Meta Tag
Use of Robots meta tags tell search engines which pages should be indexed on an individual basis, Essentially Robots meta tag instructs the crawler whether or not to follow and index or visa versa.
5. Alt Text
Using Alt text meta tags to optimize image SEO gives an opportunity to rank in SERPs for your visual content. This tag also ensures to provide a text alternative to images which will be displayed if the image doesn't load.