Your online presence impacts everything from your brand image to lead generation and your bottom line. Your business cannot afford to fall behind the pack, so you must take full advantage of every opportunity to improve online visibility.
The concept of meta tags is certainly not new to business owners, marketers and bloggers. But did you know that there are eight important meta tags?
These each play a role in your website’s ability to drive targeted traffic to your website. Failing to maximize the full benefits of any of these tags may be detrimental to your website’s search engine rankings, visibility and overall effective needs.
Understanding Meta Tags
Google has been uniquely successful as a search engine because its algorithms are based around the user experience. Its detailed algorithms take into account more than 200 different factors to determine which websites are most relevant and meaningful to the user. When Google determines that a website is trying to manipulate the rankings, it automatically drops that website down in rankings.
Because of this, you must play by the rules.
So, what is a meta tag, and why does it matter?
When search engine bots crawl across the internet, you want to make sure that they notice your website. More than that, you want the bots to notice the right things so that your website is ranked as high as possible. Each of the eight types of meta tags is embedded in HTML code. Most (but not all) of them are not visible to your website’s visitors.
Whether you work with a web developer or you have designed your own website, these are the eight types of meta tags that you need to ensure are optimized properly.
Most people associate header tags in text with formatting. The <h1> tag is commonly the primary header on static website content, a blog or other content. The headers become progressively smaller as you step from <h2> down to <h6> tags.
When headers are properly marked with HTML, search engines recognize the content in them. More importantly, the bots prioritize the text in the larger headers over the smaller headers. Because the headers tell search engines what the page is about, it is important to place appropriate keywords in them.
As is the case with all of your website’s content, keyword stuffing should always be avoided.
Header tags and title tags are the only two types of meta tags that are visible on your website. The title tag is also known as the page title. It is placed on the top banner of the window or browser. Because this is used for search engine rankings and is visible to users, it should be useful or relevant, and it should include a long-tail keyword. In addition, title tags should be 60 characters long or less.
This may be the form of meta data that you are most familiar with. It is usually 158 characters or less, and it is visible to the user on search engine results. Specifically, it is listed below the business name or website title as a description on the results page. While it should be written with your target audience in mind, it should have one or two keywords in it.
This type of tag is only found in the website’s HTML and is not visible to the user. The search engine bots use these tags to determine how to rank the pages on your website. If your website has multiple pages, which is most likely the case, these tags tell the bots which pages to crawl over and to rank.
Robots Meta Tags
Robots meta tags are essential for link building purposes. They use the tags INDEX, FOLLOW, NOINDEX and NOFOLLOW in the HTML code. These tags specifically provide instructions to search engine bots for handling the links that are built into the page.
Alt Text Tag
Search engine bots cannot physically view an image, so they rely on alt text tags to determine what the image is about. For optimization purposes, each image on your website should have descriptive alt text. You only have space for 16 words or 55 characters, so you may not always be able to include a keyword here.
Open Graph Meta Tags
Integrating your website with Google and social media platforms is vital for most businesses. Open graph meta tags are used to integrate the website with LinkedIn and Facebook. Different integration tools are necessary for Twitter. These are known as Twitter cards.
Responsive Design Meta Tags
Responsive design meta tags are essential for scaling a website to fit the screens of smaller mobile devices properly. Because Google wants to deliver a great search experience to all users, it is increasingly catering to the mobile user experience. To determine how well-designed your website is from the perspective of the mobile user, use Google’s free tool.
These meta tags are only some of the dozens of factors that Google takes into account, and they are completely under your control. Because of this, reviewing your website’s meta tags is essential in order to maximize visibility.