Meta tags are the part of the HTML tags that give search engines important information about your web page, like how they should display it in their search results. They also inform the web browser how to display the content to visitors.
Every web page has meta tags in the form of HTML code. It tells the search engines what the page is about, and leaves the first impression about your business. Different platforms use different solutions for adding Meta tags like – WordPress use free plugins.
1. Do Meta Tags matter for SEO in 2020?
Well, like every year Google has made some changes in 2020. And all the meta tags are not going to help you in the current year. Impressing Google and ranking high in 2020 has become even more difficult. If you want to rank high, then you have to focus on high-quality content and user-satisfaction.
When used properly, Meta tags can be quite effective in 2020 and can offer an improved click-through rate from the SERP.
2. So, what are the most important Meta tags in 2020?
We have already discussed that all types of Meta tags are not going to be effective this year. However, the below-discussed meta tags can have a great result –
- Description (optional, can sometimes be used by Google)
- Robots (optional, can be used by Google)
- Keywords (optional, ignored by Google)
The role of Meta tags in SEO:
Meta tags can help in describing any page in a machine-readable format, and make it more convenient for the search engines. However, they tend to get spammed easily. That means when it comes to ranking documents on the web, the effectiveness of meta tags somehow becomes limited.
If it gets spammed, Google would look for abuse in such tags and penalize your site instead of praising it.
Google sometimes uses metadata to display information, classify pages.
3. How can a beginner start with the Metadata?
If you are a beginner and want to implement metadata in your site, you need to learn more about it and other terms that are associated with it. To gather extensive knowledge about SEO, you need to have sound knowledge about the following term –
a) Title Tag:
This is the page title that the search engines show in the search results.
The importance of title tag in SEO:
Title tags play a crucial role in SEO and give the users a quick insight into the content, and make sure it is relevant to their query. These titles often determine which result to click on. So, maintaining the highest quality of the title tags on your site is highly important.
How to maintain the highest quality of the title:
- Create a unique title tag for every page
- Make it brief but descriptive
- Use in title case or sentence case
- Make the title click-worthy, not clickbait
- Match search intent
- Keep it under 60 characters
- Avoid generic and vague titles
How to find common title tag mistakes:
There are basically four common issues with title tags –
- Google has already declared to avoid unnecessarily long or repetitive titles while keeping them descriptive and concise
- Google declares that each page must give title tags to achieve a higher ranking.
- Multiple tags on one page can decrease your page rank. Search engines can display an undesirable title tag if there are multiple tags on a single page.
- Duplicate titles in multiple pages. According to Google, it is highly important to have a distinct and descriptive title for every page on your site.
b) Meta Description:
The meta description summarises the page’s content. Search engines often use it for the snippet in the search results.
The importance of meta description for SEO:
A meta description tag helps the user to learn about a particular page with its short and relevant summary. They act as a pitch that can easily convince the users to learn what the page is all about.
Though meta description does not directly take part in the ranking factor, it can easily influence the search engine to display your site in the search results.
How to create the best meta description:
- Summarise content precisely
- Create a unique description for every page
- Don’t write a generic description
- Write in sentence case
- Don’t write for clickbait, instead make it click-worthy
- Use target keywords naturally
- Keep it under 160 characters
- Match search intent
How to find common meta description mistakes:
The common issues with meta descriptions are –
- Google says there is no limit on writing the meta descriptions. But making it too long or too short can confuse the search engines. So, make it short and precise.
- Multiple meta descriptions on one page can also confuse the search engines.
- Duplicate meta descriptions in multiple pages can decrease your authenticity in the algorithms of the search engines. Google states that every description must be different on different pages.
c) Meta Robots:
The meta robots indicate how the search engine should crawl your web pages.
The importance of Meta robots for SEO:
Using the wrong attributes in the meta robots can have a catastrophic impact on your site’s presence in the search results. Understanding this tag and using it effectively is highly important to experience better SEO.
The values you can use in this tag are –
- Index: Informs bots to index the page
- Nofollow: Inform bots not to crawl links on the page
- Follow: Informs robots to crawl links on the page
How to create meta robots in the best way:
- Use meta robots tags only when you need to restrict the way Google crawls a page
- Don’t block pages with meta robots tags in robots.txt
ow to identify common meta robots mistakes:
- Noindexed pages blocked by robots.txt. can be counted as a mistake. This prevents Google from identifying the noindex robots tag. Therefore, it may still index the URL.
- Rogue meta nofollow prevents the search engines from crawling the links on the page. This might also prevent the discovery and indexing of important content and the flow of the PageRank to those pages.
- Rogue meta noindex also prevents search engines from indexing the page. That means it will get no organic traffic.
d) Meta Viewport:
The next term is the Meta Viewport that you need to know to learn about the meta tags. This tag sets the visible area of a web page. It is highly popular for instructing the browser how to render the page on different screen sizes.
Importance of meta viewport for SEO:
Google declares that the presence of meta viewport tags tells search engines that the page is mobile-friendly. This is highly effective to rank your website higher since it differentiates a mobile-friendly website from a non-mobile-friendly one. Google automatically ranks a mobile-friendly website higher on the search engine.
The best way to use meta viewport:
- Use this tag on all the web pages
- Use the standard tag unless you know what you are doing.
How to diagnose common mistakes:
Since most CMS and themes automatically set the viewport, there is less chance of any tag related issue. However, one can use the Mobile Usability report in Google Search Console to check for issues. If there is any issue, it will show the “Viewport not set” error.
This issue can be fixed by adding the right meta viewport tag to any affected pages.
e) Meta Charset:
The meta charset tag sets the character encoded for the web page. It can also be said that it indicates the browser how the text on your web page should be displayed.
Among the hundreds of different character sets, the two most common meta charset tags are –
- UTF-8 – character encoding for Unicode
- ISO-8859-1 – Character encoding for the Latin alphabet.
The importance of Meta charset for SEO:
- Wrong character encoding can drastically affect your site since it will display the characters incorrectly in the browser.
- When it comes to user experience, character formatting issues can be bad and it can cause your pages to look quite broken.
This might associate a few SEO problems like –
- High bounce rate, low dwell time and low time on page
- People not wanting to link your page
- Search engines not understanding your content
The real fact:
- Unless your page is severely broken as a result of charset ssues, the impact can be quite minimal.
- oogle recommends using Unicode/UTF-8 wherever possible
The best way to use meta charset:
- Use UTF-8 where possible
- Use the meta charset tag on all webpages
- Use the correct syntax for your HTML version
Hope, this content would help you learn everything about Meta Tags and the way you can use them in 2020. Have something different in mind? Share with us in the comment section.