The Ultimate Guide to Meta Tags

Meta Tag, Meta Title, Meta Description, Scottsdale SEO Agency, Avintiv Media

One of the most important aspects of your on-page SEO is meta tags. Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content to search engines and crawlers. 

Meta tags provide more relevance syncing between your content and a search query searching for similar content. You will get higher rankings if the relevance of your meta tag matches the user’s satisfaction.

These are common meta tags that should be on every page of your website. It’s a small list but they pack a lot of power for your basic SEO needs.

Canonical Tags

A canonical tag is a way of telling Google and other search engines that a specific URL on your site represents the master copy of a certain page. Using the canonical tag prevents issues caused by content appearing on multiple URLs.

If you have a page with multiple URLs or different pages with similar content, search engines might see those pages as duplicate versions of the same page.

Example: you might type in “www.google.com” or “https://google.com” and it’ll point to the same page. Google sees “www” and “https://” as duplicate versions of the same page so you need to make sure you identify which is the original source page.

For this exact reason, it’s important to include a canonical tag, which tells Google to disregard other content other than this page. This is especially important for your homepage.

Robots Meta Tags

The robots meta tag is an HTML tag that gives instructions to web crawlers to either index or no-index a web page. If you don’t specify a robot meta tag, search engines will choose the default index.

Here are a couple of common robot meta tags

  • Follow – The search engine crawler will follow all links on the web page
  • Index – The search engine crawler will index the whole web page
  • Nofollow – Stops Googlebot from following links on this page.
  • Noindex – Stops the page from being indexed.
  • Nosnippet – Stops a text snippet or video preview from being shown in the search results.

There are many reasons you could use robots meta tag. You could input the “nofollow” rule if your web page has a comments section. Due to how many spam comments can come in, you can eliminate search engines from following any links left in the comments section.

The most popular attribute used is the “noindex” tag. A lot of developers use the “noindex” tag when they are developing a brand new website on a development server and they want to make sure Google doesn’t index the site too early.

You can also use a “noindex” tag if you have gated content that you don’t want users to be able to find through search engines.

Title Tags

The most important meta tag we’ll be discussing is your title tags. These tags have a drastic impact on your search rankings and are visible to the average user searching Google. The words will appear at the top of each tab in your browser for both organic results and paid ads.

The title tag explains what the page is about. Google and other search engines look at the title tag and compare that to the rest of the content on the page.

Meta tag, Meta Tags, meta title, On-page SEO, avintiv media, scottsdale SEO agency

If you’re working inside of WordPress, we highly recommend the Yoast SEO plugin. The SEO plugin allows you to create a custom title tag within each page very easily. Make sure to keep your title tags descriptive and short.

Think of this as you standing outside next to your competitors with billboards in your hands. What would yours’ say about your webpage versus your competition? Make sure to add in your relevant keywords and location if you’re a local business.

Meta Descriptions

Search engines determine the page’s topic and the audience that will find value through your meta description. More importantly, the meta descriptions explain what users will find on the page.

When writing meta descriptions, keep in mind quality is still king (or queen). A very well written meta description can generate higher rankings in the search results, which will create a higher click-through rate for the user.

We recommend keeping your description between 165 and 175 characters long.

Meta tag, Meta Tags, meta description, On-page SEO, avintiv media, scottsdale SEO agency

Add in your brand’s name, a keyword or two and what users will find on the page. This could be the first interaction visitorsTitle will have with your brand. Make it a great experience.

Heading Tags

Heading tags are a necessity for any success with on-page SEO. Your landing pages and blog pages should include multiple heading tags, ranging from the H1 to the H6. The most important heading tag is H1.

The H1 heading is usually the page title or name of the page or post. On a category page, your H1 would be the name of that category. On a product page, your H1 would be the name of that product.

Meta tag, Meta Tags, h headings, On-page SEO, avintiv media, scottsdale SEO agency

As you write your content, you can also use the H2 and H3 headings to introduce different sections of your page or content. An H2 heading is like a chapter in a book. The section you’re reading now is an H3 heading since it’s a sub-section of a chapter (H2).

It’s extremely rare for most content to get ‘deep’ enough to need the use of H4 tags and beyond unless you’re writing extremely long or really technical content.

If you’d like assessing how your meta descriptions are, use our FREE SEO Audit.

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