What are Meta Tags?

October 18, 2022

The word Meta and building blocks spelling the word tags


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Meta tags are HTML elements that provide information about a web page for search engines and website visitors.  But how does it fit into your SEO strategy?  This article provides a basic understanding of the different meta tags as well as some good and bad examples.

It is important to know what these HTML elements are and how it should be placed on your web page i.e. as tags in the <head> section of a HTML document.

These elements are:

– Title tag (most important meta tag on your website)

– Meta description

In WordPress, you can add a title tag in General settings in Tagline.

Tagline in WordPress Website

Why are Title Tags important?

This is the most obvious element in a search result.

‘Title links are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information people use to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality title text on your web pages.’

Title tags show up as the big blue links in search engine results:

Title tag in WordPress

6 Tips for Title Tags

Consider the following guidelines when defining and writing meta tags:

  • Keyword placement: Important keywords at the beginning as Google indexes the first 65 characters including spaces.
  • Avoid keyword stuffing where the same words or phrases appear multiple times, it will look spammy to Google and to users.
  • Write specific, descriptive and concise text for title elements, avoid vague descriptors like Home, or Welcome, or Profile.
  • Make sure title tags and meta descriptions are unique for each page so that users can distinguish between two pages.
  • Content in Context: Make it clear which text is the main title for the page, and that it accurately describe the content of the page. Remember that the first paragraph on the web page relates to the page title and H1 heading and therefore should provide more context to the related keywords.  Always write for the user, and then SEO.
  • Page title and H1 header tag as well as the Page URL should have keywords that correspond. That does not mean that page title should be exactly the same as Heading 1, but rather that there should be keywords that correspond.

Good Example of how to structure Meta tags for SEO

Page title: Young Café Menu | Restaurant in Cape Town
H1 heading for the Menu Page: Dine at Cape Town’s top restaurant
Meta description for the Menu page:
Young Café is a top new restaurant in Cape Town. Find us in Mouille Point, and enjoy lunch and dinner as a luxury dining experience. We pride ourselves serving the freshest ingredients of the season and with excellency. Contact us for bookings and promotions, we look forward to welcoming you with the best possible food, views and service.

Explore the source here for more in-depth information.

What is a good Meta Description?

A well-formulated meta description specifies the who, what, where, when and why of a business for example:

‘In-store shopping and pickup at Ben’s Cycles for professional bikes like sport, trek bikes, speed bicycles, mountain bikes and cycling accessories. Open Monday to Friday 8-5pm, located in Essex, London’

A good Page description meta tag provides a informative paragraph with keywords that summarizes the page and provides a call to action. Use between 70 and 160 characters (spaces included) and keep it short and punchy.  You can use Mangools Google SERP Simulator to see how it will look like on a Google Search Engine Result Page

Meta description is Specific and Detailed

‘Sub-1400g Mountain Bike wheelset with DT Swiss 350 hubs and Nextie Premium rims. Brass nipples for durability.’

What is a Bad Meta Description?

List of keywords with no context:

‘Mountain bikes, cycling gear, alloy wheels, gloves, shoes, water bottles’

Doesn’t summarize the page, and no specifics:

‘Alloy trail bike wheels don’t get better than this! Gorgeous, fast and tough’

Too short:

Mountain Bikes

To read more in depth, explore the Source used for this post:

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