Meta tags play a very important role in search engine optimization. There is a lot of misinformation online regarding the effect of meta tags in the search engine results. In 2007, Google clarified for the first time that it does not take into account Meta tags for calculating the ranking of web pages. In 2009, it was further explained that Meta tags are not taken into account as a ranking factor.
However, it is important to mention here that while these tags are not necessary directly for rankings but these do affect the click through rate, and therefore, it is important for you to ensure the Meta tags are written correctly so that search engines interpret the data correctly and give your website high rankings in the search engine result pages.
While there are many different types of Meta tags, three types of Meta tags are of particular importance regarding search engine optimization. One of the most important Meta tags is the title tag. It is not only important for SEO purposes and link building but also for click through rates. Search engines also give importance to the title tag do as this text is shown in the results.
It is important to limit the title tag to around ten words, and less than 100 characters should be used for this tag. It is also important that the title tag is clear and descriptive. Ideally, it should succinctly describe the content of the web page in the search results. You should include the targeted key phrases or keywords in the title tag to generate higher click through rate.
It is important to keep in mind that merely mentioning the keyword in random order in the title tag is not enough. Therefore, ensure that the title tag is descriptive enough to tell the users as well as search engines the purpose of your website. As mentioned in the beginning, the importance of this tag has diminished in terms of SEO but it does affect the click through rate which in turn affects the search engine results.
In case the Meta description is not mentioned, a search engine such as Google pick up any snippet of text from the web page to describe the search results. Therefore, it is important to have a concise meta description describing the content of that page in less than 155 characters. Do not forget to include the most important keywords in the description. Meta description is the best place to use action words to generate interest and grab the attention of the user.
Another important Meta tag is the keyword meta tag as it allows you to mention important keywords regarding a particular web page. There was a time when Webmasters used to have stuff this meta tag with hundreds of keywords to achieve high rankings, but these days, it is seen as a sign of spam. Therefore, you should limit this meta tag to 5 to 10 keywords only.
Due to the misinformation regarding meta tags, a lot of Webmasters make some common mistake while implementing meta tags for their websites. Here is a list of some of the common mistakes you should avoid while writing the meta tags.
First and foremost, it is important for you to make sure that the meta tags are correctly read by the search engines. Therefore, the meta tags should always be placed in the head section of web page. There are a number of tools available online that can help you check the Meta tags. Also, ensure there is no keyword stuffing as it does not affect search engine rankings but if you keyword stuff meta tags, it may be seen as a sign of spam by the search engines.
One of the most common misconceptions when it comes to keyword inclusion in a web page is that keyword stuffing is good for search engine optimization. However, keyword stuffing is seen as a sign of spam and therefore, you should avoid it as much as possible. Try to make descriptive and useful meta description for every page in order to generate user interest.
One of the biggest mistakes made by many Webmasters is that they tend to use same meta tags for all the pages of a website. However, this does more harm than good. Therefore, it is recommended to use unique meta tags for each web page of your website. You can write a simple script to generate unique meta tags for each web page of your website. In case you use WordPress, there are plugins to generate unique meta tags for each post or page.
You should never use irrelevant meta tags to deceive the search engines or the visitors. It will not only affect your click through rate, but it will also be in bad taste when it comes to user experience. Keep in mind that user experience plays an increasingly important role in rankings and therefore, you should do your best to improve the user experience.
Overall, it is important for you to use the right meta tags in the right quantity to generate interest and get high click through rate. These tags may not directly affect the rankings, but these do affect search rankings indirectly in the form of high click through rate.