Website Meta tags are HTML tags that are generally put on the header while coding. Meta tags for websites include all the Meta elements of a webpage and describe most part of the content. It encloses the entire composite of snippets.
Information provided in the Meta tags is used by search engines to index the web pages. These Meta tags are positioned on the top of the page during HTML coding as part of the heading.
Website Meta tags are composed of several elements. While most of the Meta tags have become automated, there are some rather critical ones that still remain to be coded manually. The Meta tags include Title Tag, Meta Keyword Tag, Meta Description Tag and Meta Robot Tag.
Also Read: Importance Of Schema Markup In Your Web Page
Website Meta tags do not directly affect the ranking of your page. It however gives out information about your site and its content to the user as well to the search engine. Meta tags simplify contents to make the search engines understand them easily. Below is an example of a Meta tag written in HTML code.
<head> <title>Not a Meta Tag, but required anyway </title> <meta name=”description” content=”Importance of Meta Tags “> <meta http-equiv=”content-type” content=”text/html;charset=UTF-8″> </head>
Website Meta tags are composed of include title, keyword, description, content-type, refresh and robot are also called the Meta data. These are information that makes the webpage appear in the search page when searched with relevant keywords.
Title Tag – The group of words that appear on the top of the browser is called the title tag. This is one of the most important elements in Meta tags. According to the W3C, this is a mandatory element of a web page.
However, Title Tag has been a topic of controversy as an element of Meta Tag. Website Meta tags are optional codes that may or may not be added in the header. But Title tags are a must for search engines to find a web page. There are some important elements that are necessary to be put in Title tags.
1. Page-title should concisely describe the content
2. Steer clear of putting in keyword
3. Brand your tag
Meta Keyword Tag – This is a past form to draw in traffic. In the 90s, Keyword tag gained much popularity. Webmasters could put in keyword tags in the page and that page would pop up in the search page. However, search engines could not differentiate between an original and fake keyword tag. Hence keywords unrelated to the content were wrongly used to draw in web traffic. Keyword Tag was hence dropped by the search engines to prevent fake websites to appear in the SERP.
However in 2012, Google again considered the use of Meta keyword tag but restricted it to just words that are related to news or carry the keyword news in it.
Meta Description Tag – This is the element of the website Meta tags that gives a quick overview of what the webpage contains. It is a gist of what the site contains and what it is all about. For search engines, Meta description tag is one of the elements based on which, they perform the search and present them in the result page.
W3C has not put down any hard and fast limit on the characters in a Meta description. However, various search engines have varying limits on the number of characters that you can put up as a Meta description.
1. Google- Minimum 156 characters (including Space), Maximum 320 characters (for mature description)
2. Bing- Minimum 150 characters, Maximum 180 characters
3. Yahoo- Maximum 161 characters
Content-Type Tag – One of the website Meta tags, it determines the character set and lets authors encode specific characters. This allows web pages to open quickly. This Meta tag also permits your pages to be displayed in different browsers with ease. This tag plays no direct role in boosting your webpage rank. However, for your website to appear higher on the SERP, this is very crucial.
It is suggested that you use content-type tag on all of your web pages to get more indexing from Google. Adding content-type tags may be quite lengthy a procedure as compared to other website Meta tags. However, it provides your site with better visibility. Example of Content-Type Tag: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html”>
Refresh Tag – Moving of viewers from one web page to another web page is possible with this element of Meta tag. The refresh tag redirects web pages to change the current URL and shift to another web page. Refresh tag can be used to redirect or reload a page.
However, there is a mistake that commonly occurs while coding Refresh tag. Inserting an extra inverted comma often occurs that shows error while redirecting. Example: content=”2;url=”http://newpage.com”.
In the above example, an additional inverted comma as been inserted in the middle. This is one of the reasons why an error report might be displayed.
Robot Tag – Another one among website Meta tags. This element specifies search engine spiders which pages to index. Though all pages are indexed by HTML codes, this code tells the search engine which pages it should display on the search result. Understanding this is important as accidentally de-indexing a page may be fatal.
1. <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”INDEX, NOFOLLOW”>
2. <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>
These are examples of Meta Robot Tags. In the first one, the Meta tag says to index the web page but not to follow links to other pages
In the second example, the Robot tags specifies neither to index nor to follow the page. This tag is generally used in the beta stage of a website development.
Website Meta tags do not directly affect the ranking of your page at any time. However, relevant Meta tags help in pushing up the rank of your site as the web pages would contain relevant content and real time searches. The descriptions and title tags if found relevant by users, is sure to make an impact on the users ultimately boosting your rank and raising your position in the SERP.