Meta tags are still important. True, they may not be as important as they once were, but they are still important. So, while keyword stuffing has long been dead, intelligent use of meta tags to help humans and search bots is still alive.
Today, we’ll look at how meta tags work in 2018, the meta tags that you should ignore, and the ones that you should focus on.
But first, what is a meta tag?
A meta tag provides data about your page, usually for search engines, web browsers and social media platforms. This can be data on a range of factors like what the page is about, who wrote the page and what the page should be ranking for.
In most cases, the tags are added to the start of the page in the head tag. This means that they can’t be seen by humans but are one of the first things that a search bot will see.
Meta tags and SEO
Let’s get one thing clear, meta tags aren’t as useful for SEO as they used to be. That’s because search bots have got so much better at identifing what a page is about and its level of quality. They just don’t need to be told by meta tags. But meta tags are still useful. That’s because they can still influence how your site looks on Google, Bing and social networks. And how your site looks can have a big impact on how many people actually click on your link.
So what meta tags can you forget about?
There is one meta tag that you can completely forget about. That is the keyword tag. Google simply doesn’t use it anymore to be guided as to what a page should rank for. In fact, using the keyword tag and stuffing it with keywords can actually hurt your rankings. Our advice: don’t use it at all.
What meta tags should you care about?
So if you can forget about meta tags, what tags should you focus on. There are three trypes of tags that we recommend every site owner take care of.
There is actually one meta tag that still has some actual SEO relevance. That is the page title. Putting your focus keyword in your page title still gives you a ranking boost, so make sure you do it. But also think about how your page title looks to humans. This will be the first thing they see in Google so you want to lure them in and encourage them to click on your site.
The meta description backs up your page title. Google doesn’t use this anymore to find out what your site is about, but it does still display in under the page title in Google. That means you should make it enticing to people.
Social media tags
Finally, there are two social media tags that you can use to improve the way in which your site appears on both Facebook and Twitter. One is Open Graph, Facebooks meta tag, and the other is Twitter Cards. Like page titles and meta descriptions do for search engines, these tags edit the way your site appears when someone links to it on Facebook and Twitter. As such, you can use these tags to make your links look better and increase click through rates.