95% of people use the internet now to find a business. If people cannot see your site, then you are not going to be making any sales. One of the cheapest forms of traffic is search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of optimizing your website to rank for specific keywords within one of the search engines such as Google. One of the first things you need to understand when you start learning SEO is the role of meta tags.
Meta tags are simply lines of html code that are put into a web page to communicate certain things to the search engines. These control things such as how you want your website to display in the search engines as well as what keywords that you believe you should be ranking for.
The first, and least important, meta tag to discuss are the keywords meta tags. These were originally meant to aid search engine indexing by telling web browsers what keywords that you think your page should best be seen under. However, the problem is that many web masters started to stuff these with all sorts of keywords they wanted to rank for. If everyone wants to rank for “make money online” everyone will have it in the keyword meta tag which does not do search engines much good. As a result, these are not very useful anymore and are likely ignored entirely, with the exception of sites such as press releases.
The Meta Title Tag tells the search engine how you want your web page to be seen in the search results. This is arguably the most important tag for SEO. You want the main keyword you are trying to rank for to always appear somewhere in your meta title tag. Additionally, given it is the most prominent thing that comes up when someone searches, you want it to catch people’s eyes and induce them to click on it.
The last important meta tag is the Description Meta Tag. This is what appears directly under the title tag in the search results, which is a more elaborate summary of what your site is about. It only appears if words in the description are typed in the search, so you want to again make sure any key words you are targeting appear in the description. You also want it to be compelling copy to make people want to click it.
Setting meta tags these days is pretty easy if you are using WordPress. You can use a SEO plugin such as All In One SEO or Yoast SEO to set these individually for each page before you publish it. The most important is to set meta tags for the home page, which can usually be done in the plugin settings section.
Having the proper meta tags setup is a prerequisite for strong rankings. By understanding meta tags you have taken your first step towards SEO domination, meaning that Google will list your website higher than others.
Table of Contents
I. META TAGS: YOUR WAY TO COMMUNICATE WITH SEARCH ENGINES 1
II. A NEWBIE GUIDE TO SEO (SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION) 2
A. ONSITE AND OFFSITE SEO 2
B. IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH SEO? 3
III. A NEWBIE GUIDE TO KEYWORDS 3
A. HOW TO RANK FOR KEYWORDS IN SEARCHES 4
B. HOW DO YOU SELECT KEY WORDS? 4
IV. YOUR WEBSITE TITLE TAG 4
A. DEFINITIONS 4
B. WHAT IS YOUR WEBSITE TITLE TAG 5
C. HOW TO SEE ANY WEBSITE TITLE TAG 5
D. HOW TO SEE ANY WEB PAGE TITLE HTML CODE 6
E. WHY IS YOUR WEBSITE TITLE TAG IMPORTANT? 7
1. The Title helps People Find You in a Web Search 7
2. Google Cares a Lot About the Title Tag 9
F. WHAT IS THE BEST TITLE TAG TEXT? 9
1. The Words 10
2. Word Order 10
3. Number of Words 10
4. Number of Characters 10
G. USING KEYWORD ANALYSIS FOR A BETTER TITLE TAG 11
H. HOW DO PEOPLE FIND YOU? 13
1. What Do They Type In? 13
2. How Google Matches What They Type to Your Website 13
I. HOW TO EDIT THE TITLE TAG 14
J. ABOUT THE TITLE TAG IN OTHER WEB PAGES 15
V. WHAT ABOUT THE DESCRIPTION, KEYWORDS AND ROBOTS? 15
A. DESCRIPTION META TAG 15
1. Recommended Length 15
2. Code Sample 16
3. Write Compelling Ad Copy 16
4. Avoid Duplicate Meta Description Tags 17
5. Not a Google Ranking Factor 17
6. Quotes Cut Off Descriptions 18
7. Sometimes it is Okay to Not Write Meta Descriptions 18
B. KEYWORDS META TAG 19
C. ROBOTS 19
D. RESOURCE 19
VI. WHAT ARE THE NEXT STEPS? 20