Meta Tags have a dual purpose – They tell search engines what is on a specific web page, and they solicit visits from people browsing the internet, to that web page. Meta tags need to be effectively crafted, in order to serve these two purposes adequately.
What Are Meta Tags?
There are 3 main types of Meta Tags: the Title tag; the Description tag; the Keyword tag.
To understand what meta tags are, search any keyword phrase on a search engine like Google. What the search engine does is produce a comprehensive list of “organic” search results for you. These, essentially, represent web pages that are the most relevant to your search, and the higher a page ranks, the more relevant it is meant to be. Each of the web pages in the running for your search phrase, is presented on the search results pages in the form of a title and short description. This, in essence, is the ‘Title Tag’ and ‘Description Tag’ of the corresponding web-page you will land on if you click. Search engines look for these tags in the source coding. Click on ‘View Source’ and you will see the ‘Title’, ‘Description’ and ‘Keyword’
tags. That’s exactly where you are meant to put in these tags.
While search engines do not ever display the ‘keyword tag’ to readers, this tag serves the important function for conveying to engines the entire broad spectrum of keywords that are relevant to your website’s service offerings.
Writing Title Tags
Although Title tags are ideally meant to be fewer than 80 characters (including spaces), most search engines index a considerably higher number of characters, and so, many people like to push this figure. Title tags need to be specifically targeted to a keyword phrase or a couple of relevant phrases. People browsing the internet are quite aware that Title tags are there for search engines, and usually pay more attention to the description tag as a deciding factor on whether to visit that particular web page.
Writing Description Tags
Description tags are ideally meant to be fewer than 175 characters (including spaces). The description tag plays an important role in attracting readers to click. Very often, including some sort of unique call-to-action is beneficial. Giving accurate information about what value there is for the reader on the web page, and doing so creatively, is the best strategy for attracting visitors who are relevant to your business, and this will lead to more conversions and sales. Some amount of attention to relevant keywords in this tag too, is not a bad idea!
Including a well-written description tag for each of your web pages, is quite essential, otherwise search engines pick up random sentences from the page (parts that contain the keywords searched). It is also worthy to note that when your description tag is too long, most times, search engines will only pick up and display parts of the tag that contain the searched keywords.
Writing Keyword Tags
The ‘keyword tag’ is your chance to tell search engines like Google exactly what is on your web page, and what business your entire website is marketing. Including common misspellings here, is acceptable. After all, when half the world seems to say they want to “loose weight” instead of “lose weight”, why should you lose out on business because you know how to spell! Besides misspelling, the keyword tag is probably the only place you will get away with “stuffing” keywords. There is no real limit. However, it is worthy to remember that you only want relevant traffic, and irrelevant keywords will dilute keywords that actually add value.
Some DOs and DON’Ts of writing Meta Tags:
Do write separate meta tags for each page on your website.
Do remember to match meta tags with content on your web page. Your content should also have the same keywords and phrases. Do thorough keyword analyses before you start writing your content and meta tags.
Do target only a small group of related keywords per page. Target too many different keywords, and you will lose out on rankings for all of them.
Do remember to include all common spelling variations in your keyword tags.
Don’t use your Title tag to sell to the reader – only use specific keywords.
Remember to include long-tail keywords in your keyword tags – these can only be determined with keyword research.
Mastering the art of writing meta tags may seem like a daunting process for a writer, but follow these guidelines, and you will be at the top of the writing-for-Search-Engine-Optimization game!
– by Binifer Paymaster