What are Meta Tags and Title Tags? Why are They Important?
Are meta tags and title tags a factor in Google page rank? Is it important? What effect does it have on your website’s SEO?
They are important elements of your site’s content. The title tag and the meta description content should include keywords relevant to the content of the web page they describe. This helps Search Engines understand what the page is about and index your web pages accordingly for relevant keywords or keyword phrases.
What are Meta Tags?
Meta Tags are snippets of text that provide information about a web page; it doesn’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s code. These are HTML elements, placed as tags in the <head> section of the page, for search engines.
In order for you to find out whether a given page is using meta tags, just right-click anywhere on the page and select “View Page Source.” Then a new tab will open in Google Chrome. The part at the head of the page is where the meta tags are. If you’re using Firefox, then it will be a pop-up instead of a new tab.
It is important to write a meta description as Google will use the summary in search results snippets (located below the URL) if the Search Engine believes it is an accurate synopsis of the page. Accurate meta descriptions can help improve your click-through rates along with relevant title tags.
There are four major types of meta tags:
- Meta Keywords Attribute – A series of keywords you deem relevant to the page in question. But Google does not use the keywords meta tag in web ranking anymore.
- Title Tag – This is the text you’ll see at the top of your browser. It’s generally used as the title of your listing in search engine results pages. It is the most important of all of the meta tags.
- Meta Description Tag – A brief description of the page. It won’t help your page rank, but it is very crucial to help viewers be enticed to click your web page.
- Meta Robots Attribute – Also called Robots Meta tag, is used to provide search engines with instructions on how web pages should be crawled, indexed, and presented in search results.
What are Title Tags?
Title tags are used to tell search engines and visitors what any given page on your site is about. It is the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing. It is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content.
When writing an article, the section where you write a headline will automatically form the title tag. The headline (also known as the <h1> tag) is another opportunity to tell Google about the content of your page using a slightly different keyword string, so you may as well take advantage of this.
The title tag is the boldest, most obvious element in a search result and therefore a major part in the decision-making process of whether a searcher will click on your result or not.
Optimize title tags using this checklist by Kristine Schachinger:
- Length: Title tags should be a maximum of 50-60 characters long, including spaces.
- Keyword Placement: Your most important words (keywords) need to be first in your title tag, with your least important words being last in the title tag (most to least).
- Keyword Separation: Use pipes | to separate important (keyword) phrases (no commas, underscores, dashes or any other punctuation unless the keyword is written that way).
- Wording: Keep your important phrases short and simple. Leave out words that would make it read like a sentence. (e.g., and, if, but, then, etc.)
- Company Name: If your company name is not part of the important (keyword) phrases, put it at the end of the title tag; if it is part of your important words, put it as the first words in the title tag. Some SEOs will tell you to leave it out. You can leave it in for branding purposes – so people will see the brand and click. This isn’t valid for all sites.
- DON’T DUPLICATE Title Tags: They must be written differently for every page. Don’tmass replicate your title tags.
- Make It Relevant: Title tags must be written to be descriptive of the content on the page.
While title tags and meta tags are critical for user engagement and getting users to click through to your website. Don’t ignore them as they’re the only elements standing between a search result and a visitor.