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How to Optimize Meta Tags for SEO
To become a master of SEO, you need to conquer both on-page and off-page (or technical) SEO. While on-page SEO boils down to keyword research, content, and internal linking – and is easier to understand – technical SEO covers a myriad of techniques that those less technologically knowledgeable will most likely be afraid to implement themselves. While you may not attempt to do some of them yourself, if you’re going to employ a Las Vegas SEO agency to do it for you, you should at least understand the work they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
In this article, we will discuss meta tags, how they impact SEO, and how to implement them. Even in this small sector of technical SEO, you’ll find that some elements are easier to process and implement while others are a little more technically advanced. So, let’s get into it and find out all there is to know about meta tag optimization in SEO.
What are Meta Tags?
Found in the backend of your website, meta tags are added to HTML code to help bots and crawlers navigate your site efficiently to achieve high-performing SEO rankings. Some tags even entice users to choose your site over others via an organic search.
The tags we’re going to discuss in this article are:
- Meta Title or Title Tags
- Meta Description
- Robot Meta Tags
- Viewport Meta Tags
Meta Title or Title Tags
A title tag is a headline for the individual pages of your site that show up when the pages appear in search engine results. While a title tag helps Google understand rank and classify a page, it also has a big impact on users and helps them decide whether to click through to your site or not.
Title tags are the first impression search engine users have of your business and website, making meta title optimization a crucial step in any SEO strategy. If you write basic content, your click-through rate will likely be poor. Additionally, if you don’t populate title tags, search engines will automatically take content from your website and code, leaving you with titles that are not user-friendly or optimized.
Top tips for meta tag title optimization:
- Don’t use short and basic titles, such as home, about, and contact – be descriptive
- Use title case; capitalizing meta titles makes them stand out and read like a headline
- Insert relevant keywords, preferably a keyword you want your page to rank for
- Stay within a 60 character limit or users won’t see your entire title
- Follow a uniform structure across all title tags on your website to create brand consistency
- Be honest, don’t oversell, and don’t use clickbait
The partner of your title tags – meta descriptions also appear in search engines – and you guessed it, they’re the paragraph that appears below the title. Again, they don’t directly impact rankings – their core purpose is to inform users what to expect on the page they could be visiting. While they’re not as important as a title tag, knowing how to optimize meta descriptions will definitely help you attract more traffic to your website. In addition, if you don’t populate meta descriptions, the search engine will choose either a snippet of content or code to put in its place – most likely something that doesn’t make much sense to a reader.
Top tips for meta description optimization:
- Include keywords relevant to the page you’re describing
- Be creative, build intrigue, and make the user want to click
- Use sentence case – it’s easier to read and grammatically correct
- Create unique meta descriptions for each page – never use duplicates
- Stay under the recommended 160 character maximum
Where to Add Meta Title & Description
If you’re using a content management system (CMS), title tags and meta descriptions are highlighted for you to edit and update on each page. Alternatively, if you’re updating them directly in the HTML code, you can find them by searching for <title> and <meta>.
Robots Meta Tags
As the name suggests, robots meta tags are used to help bots and crawlers navigate your website, ensuring they index thoroughly and follow a desirable user journey. There is a wide array of tags to choose from, but these are the most commonly used:
NoFollow or Follow: These tags tell crawl bots when to follow or not follow a link. NoFollow is mainly used for external links. If you’re linking to another website that you believe will negatively impact your rankings or it has a low domain authority, a NoFollow will ensure a bot remains on your site and doesn’t penalize you.
Follow is the opposite of NoFollow – this tells crawlers to follow the link to a new page. If you don’t add another tag, crawlers will default to this tag.
Index or NoIndex: This is the most important robots tag for your search rankings. These two tags tell bots whether to index a page or not. If a page isn’t indexed, it will not appear in search engine results. If you don’t add a NoIndex tag, Index will be used as default.
NoArchive: A NoArchive tag tells search engines not to cache any of the content on a page and to not show it in search results.
Viewport Meta Tag
Used to make your website mobile-friendly, the viewport tag is one of the most crucial elements in SEO meta tags. Nowadays, over 50% of searches are on mobile, meaning businesses need to use the viewport meta tag to let crawlers know the site is mobile-friendly. If you only have a desktop version of your website, it will be incredibly difficult to use on mobile, so users will likely bounce and not return. In addition, Google now ranks based on your mobile website experience, not desktop, so without this tag, your rankings will drop dramatically.
In addition, the viewport tag is used to define the aspect ratio of all the devices your website is compatible with. Our suggestion would be to research the most popular screen sizes to ensure you’re catering to the widest possible audience.
Meta tags play a crucial role in user experience, click-through rates, and the overall ranking of your website. You must provide both users and bots with the information they need to navigate your site successfully, enabling you to skyrocket your rankings and boost traffic. While meta titles and descriptions are easy to implement, you may want to seek the assistance of an expert for viewport and robots meta tags. If you get in touch with our Las Vegas SEO agency, we’d be happy to help.