Meta tags - what role do they play in SEO?

Service Business

Surely you've come across the term meta tags more than once. They are often referred to in the context of positioning. Experts' opinions about the role of some meta tags in SEO do not confirm their great influence on positioning. However, it is worth taking care of them, if only from a purely marketing point of view. A good meta description and title will undoubtedly translate into an increase in the number of clicks.

What are meta tags?

Meta tags are tags that appear in the head section () of an HTML or XHTML document. Their task is to describe the content of the document they refer to. There are many meta tags (also called meta tags), but the most important ones concern the description of the page, its title, keywords, coding, indexing or verification of the page in webmaster tools.

In its official documentation, Google has selected from a number of meta tags that are understandable by search engine robots. Among them, there are only six meta markers:

  • description - responsible for the page description,

  • robots - on which the indexing of the page depends,

  • title - page title,

  • content type - sets the encoding type on the page,

  • refresh - responsible for page redirection,

  • site verification - allows you to verify the site in webmaster tools.

However, not all of them are considered essential to the website and only a few are considered truly valuable. We will discuss some of these meta tags in this article.

Where to find meta tags?

When viewing a specific page in the browser (Mozilla Firefox in this particular case), right-click anywhere and select "show page source". At the beginning of the source text, after the tag, you will see lines that start with the tag. These are the meta tags just discussed.

Meta keyword tag

Take another look at the six meta tags that Google robots understand. Shouldn't one more be there and it shouldn't be a meta tag of additional keywords - keywords? Well, no - Google decided in 2009 that meta tag keywords does not matter for the website's position in the search engine. Google was followed by other search engines - Yahoo and Bing, which treat the matter of keywords marginally.

Does this mean that you shouldn't attach importance to this meta tag at all? It is not worth ignoring it completely. However, you should not focus too much attention on it. It is only worth making sure that the keywords in the meta tag are consistent with the topic of the page. Otherwise, search engines taking into account this meta tag may treat the page as spam.

Meta description tags

The meta tag responsible for the description of the page, which appears in the search results, does not directly affect the position in search engines. However, it does matter in a slightly different way. A well-crafted page description encourages the internet user to visit a sophisticated website and is an important traffic generator.

How to prepare an effective and appealing page description? First of all, remember about the limitation - the description cannot be longer than 155 characters, because only this is what the Google search engine can show. Any character above this limit will be removed from this description. What to write about in this mini-text? Bet on a brief presentation of what the page is about. By the way, make the Internet user interested in something, get their attention and encourage them to visit it. Use keywords relevant to the topic of the page in your description.

Meta title tag

The page title is probably the most important meta tag - it is taken into account both by search engine robots and by internet users searching the web. It affects your position in search results and it is important that it is unique. Keywords should be included in it, but they should not obscure the readability of the title. This time too, you need to pay attention to the character limit, unless you want dots to be included in your title. The title cannot be longer than 55-60 characters.

Meta tag robots

This meta tag is related to the indexing and sharing of the page. It does not have to be on the page - its absence in the source means that the page is automatically programmed for indexing and sharing (follow). When, for example, you do not want to index your page, you need to create a line in the source.

It turns out that only certain meta tags have a real impact on the positioning of our website in search results.Regardless, however, it is worth paying attention to the purely marketing aspect of certain meta tags - in particular description and title. Both of these tags appear in search results, so it should be important to you what information the internet user gets about your website. Perhaps an effective description and title will encourage him to visit your website.