The Importance of meta tags
So what are Meta Tags ? Should you use Meta Tags? Where are Meta tags placed? How do you insert Meta Tags in your page? Do Meta Tags help with Google ranking? Are Meta Tags good for anything else? Keep reading and you will find the answer to these questions and many more you may have.
If you have read my How to Rank Better in Google Search post then you know the basics of what are meta tags . Now it’s time to learn more so get your shovel and lets dig a little deeper. Meta Tags are found in the head of your page source. To view any page source just add “view-source:” to the beginning of any URL. It will look like this view-source:http://buildthebestblog.com/what-are-meta-tags. This is also a good way to find out why Facebook or Twitter doesn’t share right. Meta Tags tell search engines like Google and social media platforms like Facebook, and Twitter what to show. When bots from search engines and social media platforms crawl your site they first look for Meta Tags. If there isn’t any Meta data then the bots will use your first image and first few lines of the page for your snippet. There are a variety of tags that bots and spiders look for some are:
- This meta tag is important for search engines. It lets them know what your keyword/s are for your page or post. They will use these keywords to search the content and find all phrases matching this set. The more matches Search engines find the more related your content is for that search term which will make you rank higher.
- This tag tells social media and search engines the author of the post or page. If your profile says admin for username you will want to change that to your name. Otherwise when google or social media shows the author they will say Admin.
- The og:image tag is where your featured image is specified. If your are using you are able to set individual pictures for Facebook and Twitter. This is helpful when you are using the summary with large image for Twitter.
- Search engines and social media use this tag to know what to call your page or post. You can also set this to a different title than your blog post title for better Google ranking.
- This is one of the most important tags. The description tag tells the bots and spiders what to use for your snippet. If you do not set this Meta tag they will use the first 2 or 3 sentences of your content, and let’s get real that’s not what we want our potential readers to see first.
- These tags are rarely used and some will say they aren’t important, but in the search world every little keyword helps so why not use them.
Meta Tags are placed in the between the head tags of your CSS. If your meta tags are anywhere else in the CSS such as the body then social media and Google will not read them correctly. This is only important if you are manually writing your header file for your site however there are plugins that will automatically place them in the correct spot. We will go over this in the next topic.
There are several ways to insert Meta Tags. You can insert them manually if you know how to code or you can use a plugin to do it for you. Even if you know how to code sometimes it’s just less time consuming to use a plugin. I prefer Yoast Seo Premium as well as SEO by Squirrly. Lets go over how to use them for meta tags.
Using SEO by Squirrly
- If you are using Squirrly then just at the bottom of your post or page editor you will see a box that says Squirrly Snippet in the upper right hand corner.
- To change your meta tags simply click customize meta.
- It will expand the box with more details and now you can change the title and description as well as set an Open Graph image.
- Once you finish changing your meta info click save changes and your done.
Using Yoast Premium
- Yoast has a little more input than Squirrly but for Meta tags You will need to be on the stop light tab.
- Next if not already there you will need to click on the keyword tab at the top.
- Now you will see a snippet preview and a focus keyword area. Go ahead and write your keyword or phrase here.
- Once you are finished with your keyword click on edit snippet. This will open more options.
- Use this area to edit your Title and Description. Yoast uses a red, yellow, and green light rather than numbers so you will want to stay in the green.
- After you have finished with the title and description click close editor and then save the post or page to update your meta details.
When Google or any other search engine crawls your website they are looking for repeated words to use as your keyword for searches. They also look at your Meta Tags. If the keyword you chose is not in your title or description tag, then you will rank lower than another page that does. Google also looks at your meta keywords or tags. The more relevant your post is to your own Meta data, the more relevant Google will rank you to the search phrase.
Meta tags aren’t just for spiders and bots. If you are confused about what spiders and bots are check out They also give you a way to provide proper details to your potential readers in their search result as well as in social media tweets and post. A well written Meta Title and Meta Description can mean the difference between 1 click to 100+ clicks. For instance without a meta description this post would show “So what are Meta Tags ? Should you use Meta Tags? Where are Meta tags placed?” That’s not a very detailed description and probably will not get many clicks. However, “Learn what are meta tags are, and how to use them for better Google ranking. As well as how to write your meta title and description to get more clicks.” will pull in more readers. Here is how to structure your Meta:
- Some people will only 1 to 2 words for their keywords, but for a site with under 50k views I would try to use phrases that would be a common search. Doing this will get your key word ranking higher in search. Before you select a keyword or phrase to use do some research. If you have the Squirrly Premium Plugin they do the work for you. It says how popular your search term is as well as give you some quotes and images to use for it. Google search is your best friend though. Search your term and see how many results are there as well as look at the first couple of pages to see if they are relevant to the search. If you are just starting out, or are trying to grow your traffic and under 50K views a month, I would suggest staying under 10 million results.
- You’re title should be no more than 75 characters and include your keyword or phrase in the beginning. Keep in mind that this is the first things your potential readers will see. If you have a poorly written title then 90% of your potential readers will skip over your description. The title should be precise and catchy. Google also looks in your title to see if it is relevant to your content, so do not make it something totally different to try and get more clicks because that will hurt your rankings.
- The description needs to be well descriptive and to the point about what your page or post is. This tells your readers more details on your post and what they will read. Google will only show 160 characters in your snippet however if you use a longer description they will pull the most relevant data and put a … between the space.
So should you use Meta Tags? The short answer would be yes you should. If you are not using Meta Tags then you are loosing out on potential readers and great Google rankings. Remember Your title and description are the first things your potential readers will see so make it catchy and detailed. Better is always possible with the right mindset and the right knowledge.