Someone asked me about meta tags recently – everybody who says they know a bit about seo usually starts with meta keywords speak which tells you a lot right off the bat, generally speaking about the title, keywords and description “tags”. Optimising the metatags Google looks at is still important, but not complicated.
How To Use Meta Tags Properly For Humans
Your title tag provides the caption and your meta description tag completes the call to action – together, they form the ultra-important ‘hook’ of your advertising in the search engines. They are the only meta tags you really need at this time because most search engines at least look at them. For most, those are the only meta tags you will need – these 2, and one of them isn’t even a metatag.
How To Use Meta Tags Properly For Google
- Title Element - 1-12 words max (with page keyword) – Google displays 70 characters in SERPS – I like to keep titles to within this and ensure my important keywords are within the first 55 characters. MOST IMPORTANT – Your page title is a key element when it comes to ranking in Google! I tested what you can do with the title tag some time ago.
- Meta Description – 5-24 words max (with page keyword to activate in SERPS) – Google displays 160 characters on most searches. Descriptions can be larger on long-tail searches. IMPORTANT! If you analyze the Meta description in snippets you can see a little more of how Google works, where it breaks, where it looks for another useful snippet. However, you do not need a meta description.
What about the Meta Keywords Tag? Again, not needed, and I have generally ignored this for a long time. I’ve split tested a lot and see no benefit at all in Google. It’s very hard to determine if Google is using the description when ranking – it might a little for relevance – but it clearly won’t return unique phrases found only in this region. I will write down why I think this is the case shortly.
The only other useful meta for the Google SERPS is the Robots Meta Tag (again which you do not need and shouldn’t use if you have never heard of it and have no need for it), and only to tell it wether or not to keep a page content out of Google.
For Google most other meta tags (for content purposes) are useless. You cannot control crawl frequency with any meta tag that’s for sure, and if even this is new to you, just concentrate on optimising your page titles and making them unique to every page on your website.
Note: Page Titles (or Title Elements) and Meta Descriptions should be unique to every page on your site. Don’t duplicate them or your site will suffer. If you haven’t got the time to optimise each description, I’d take it out (if you are optimising for Google of course).