Meta tag optimization is one of the primary processes involved in search engine optimization of your website. This article will help you understand what are meta tags and how they can be optimized to improve the ranking of your website in search results.
What are meta tags?
meta tags are a part of the HTML coding of your page. They contain some information about your webpage helping the search engine to understand your webpage. In your HTML web page coding the 2 important HTML tags are title tag and description tag. Title tag as the name suggests, contains the title of your web page. Similarly, the description tag contains a short description of the content on your web page. The viewer can of course only see the title of your web page in their browsers. From search engine optimization point of view the most valuable feature they offer to you as a web site owner is the ability to showcase the correct description of your webpage to search engines and thereby its users.
There are other types of meta tags than the description tag also, but from search engine optimization point of view you need to read more only about the description meta tag and the title tag as mentioned earlier. Other meta tags are primarily meant for private communication with the browsers and search engines. Other meta tags, for example, can tell a browser what “character set” to use or whether a web page has self-rated itself in terms of adult content. For e.g. Robots meta tag is used to prevent your web page from being indexed at all. Now lets know the title and description meta tags a little more to understand their impact and how they can be of help for SEO of your website.
The Title Tag
The HTML title tag is not a meta tag, but it’s worth discussing it with the description meta tag since it is more crucial for search engine optimization of your website. Whatever text you place in the title tag is crucial for search engines. This text determines how a search engine may decide to rank your page. All major crawlers use this text in your title tag as title of your page in your listings. So it is important that you embed the right keywords in your title keeping it crisp and clear at the same time. For e.g. if you are in the business of selling cars the title tag of the page on which one can see all the details a particular model should not just have the model name but should also have the right keyword(s) related to car sales.
The Meta Description Tag
The meta description tag is a tool you can use to influence the description of your page in the crawlers that support the tag. While writing the description one needs to be careful to include all the right primary and secondary keywords and also be cautious about not repeating the keywords else you may end up getting your page ignored by crawlers as spam. The description generally 200 to 250 characters long, may be indexed by search engines, but only a smaller portion of this may be displayed. Not all search engines use the description provided in the description tag. For e.g. Google ignores the meta description tag and instead automatically generates its own description for your web page. Still it is important for other reasons like; this is what the web directories display as your page description in their search results. Since this is what will be displayed to the viewer, ensure that it makes sense as a reader. Do not simply list keywords here. Also another point to be noted is that the keywords mentioned in your description should be present in the content on that page else having the keyword in the description tag does not help you in your SEO exercise.
All in all one can conclude saying that both the title tag as well as the description tag need to be well written keeping in mind the right primary and secondary keywords.