Continuing on our series on SEO for beginners, we will discuss Meta tags. Hypertext Markup Language or HTML lets author of a webpage specify more details about the document rather than the document content itself using Meta data.
The information that is in the Meta data is used by search engines like Google to update their database. Search Engines figure out that a webpage is related to some keywords and when someone searches for a particular keyword, s/he will be able to find this page in SERPs. The Meta tags are generally located near the top of the HTML document inside the Header tag.
According to W3C, “Each META element specifies a property/value pair. The name attribute identifies the property and the content attribute specifies the property’s value.”
There are many types of Meta tags. But the two most crucial Meta tag for search engine indexing are the keywords and the description Meta tags. The Meta tag – “keywords” lists the keywords or key phrases that best describe the contents of the webpage in question.
In context of Google the dominant search engine, “Description” Meta tag is even more important and relevant. A webpage’s “description” Meta tag provides Google and other search engines a summary of what the webpage is all about. Unlike a page’s title which should ideally consist of few words, a description Meta tag can be a sentence or even short paragraph. The reason the Description Meta tag is important is because Google may decide to use it as a snippet for your pages when showing your site’s listing on search results. In case, Google search engine notices that your page text content is more relevant to the user’s query then Google may show that snippet from the webpage’s text content. So it’s advisable that webmasters and SEO consultants make the best use of this tag. A well written Meta tag can also make a difference to page rankings.
Also, when a user searches for a keyword in Google search engine, the results show description tag with keywords in bold. This immediately gives searcher clues if the result has the matching keywords and if it is relevant. A proper Meta tag may also results in higher click through and hence more traffic.
Few points should be kept I mind while creating meta tag description. Describe the page accurately in the description tag. Description Meta tag helps both search engines and user alike so it should match your site’s content and title. Avoid generic or default description provided by WYSIWYG editors. Never add unrelated description, this is spamming and Search Engines may not take it lightly. Also, always create unique description Meta tags for all pages of the website.
To check if your description Meta tags conform to Google’s guidelines, Google provides Webmaster Tools provides a content analysis section that analyses and points out if any description Meta tags is too short, long, or duplicated too many times across the website.
Author: Aniruddha Badola