What Are Meta Tags?
Meta tags are descriptive tags which search engines use to place web pages in their index. Meta tags only appear in the page's source code and not on the page itself.
Importance Of Meta Tags in SEO
Meta tags are important because they inform you on how your web page appears in SERPS. Your title tag and meta description convey your brand and relevancy to the searcher’s query. This in turn affects click through rate, traffic and engagement.
Other tags such as the robots meta tag and image alt tags, tell the crawler key information about your site and whether or not certain parts should be recognised and indexed.
Types of Meta Tags
There are a few different types of meta tags, some more important than others:
1. Title Tag
The title tag is the first thing presented to a searcher, which introduces a web page. This should be unique for each page on your website and around 55 characters.
2. Meta Description
A meta description is a block of text that appears below a title tag in SERPs. This text provides a brief insight into the content of a web page. These should ideally be around 150-165 characters.
3. Alt Text
Alt text serves two functions. Because crawlers can’t view images/videos, alt text serves to inform the crawler there are visual elements on the page.
It also informs users that there is an image on the page when it doesn’t load, by providing a textual description.
An additional benefit is that it helps users who are visually impaired read the image.
4. Robots Meta Tag
This tag serves to inform the crawlers which pages should be indexed, and which should not be indexed. It is used primarily to prevent the indexing of single pages.
5. Header Tag
Header tags are used to divide up content into sections and structure a web page. This aids readability and also helps crawlers understand and navigate the content on your page.
6. Viewport Tag
A viewport tag helps optimise a web page for mobile users and ensures a good UX.
It allows the web page creator to determine how their web page appears to a mobile user in terms of width and scale.
7. Canonical Tag
A canonical tag works by telling the search engines which pages should be put forward to SERPs when there is more than one identical page or an almost identical page.
This can prevent duplicate content.