There have been many changes through the years in reference to SEO Meta Tag and what is required for your website to rank well in the search engines.
Once upon a time, all people could just put the keyword all over their site and the search engines would rank them for that keyword. Google got smart to that and things started changing.
From their people just started stuffing these keywords in the site Meta Data to get ranked and Google got smart to that as well.
In this article, we are going to look at the good, the bad and the ugly of SEO Meta Tags. We will also discuss what these mysterious tags actually are and how to find them.
What are SEO META Tags?
Well at first glance it takes me back to the Super Heroes. You know the Meta’s in DC Comics. So you would think that SEO Meta Tags in SEO would be similar to Super SEO Meta Tags. That is pretty far from the truth. Meta tags in SEO are helpful, but they are far from being super.
Meta tags in SEO are snippets of text that give the search engines an idea of the page’s content. These SEO Meta tags do not appear on the page. They are embedded in the HTML usually between the <head> </head> code. Which like stated above, it’s not shown on the page’s content. Now if you really wanted to find the SEO Meta Tags you can. When you are using Chrome just hit control+shift+I. Internet Explorer, I believe you can press F12 and find it in there. This will show a screen of the HTML code for the website. You then will want to look between the <head></head>
Do We Still Use SEO Meta Tags For SEO?
This has become a huge debate among some on if they help you rank or if they don’t. Are they useful, are they not? The answer to that is really super simple in my opinion. Just like in any comic (No I am not a comic guru, it just fits) you have the good guy and the bad guy. So you have Superman Meta Tags in SEO, and you have the Lex Luthor Meta Tags for SEO.
Ultimately the basis of any good on-page optimization begins with good SEO Meta Tags.
How when they are never seen!
We are going to break it down and set a scene.
You have gone to school, done all your studies and now you are ready to get your hustle on. You have focused your whole life around building the skill for this hustle (aka job). So you sit down and do some research on some companies that you want to go after to start your new beginning off right. This step would be in the keyword research phase. We will discuss this step further in another post. We can’t overlook this step it is crucial.
The Title of the page
Now you have the companies picked out it’s time to get out there. So you have to go pick out your outfit for this day of hitting the streets. Now depending on your profession and the type of people you are going to be talking to would determine what clothes you pick out. If you chose to be a lawyer or doctor showing up for the interviews you would not want to be in jeans and a pair of work boots. Also if you were going to be in construction you would not want to show up in a $5,000 suit. This would represent the “Title”. It is the very first of the first impression.
The title gets overlooked a lot with people who are new to SEO Management. Even if you are a business owner and are getting a new website set up. You need to make sure that the company that is offering you the website package does not throw just anything into the title segment. This is one of the very first impressions you are making on your reader. So make sure that your title speaks to the audience that you are wanting to speak to.
Although the title is seen on your screen it is also viewed as a Meta Tag for SEO. The perfect length for your title is 60 Characters. We will go into detail on crafting a good title in another post….see that is how important the title is. It deserves a whole post to itself just on crafting the best title for your page. So again don’t be all “awe just throw something in there”. Take your time and put together the best first of the first impression.
The title of your page is usually the first thing anyone sees. This is what normally shows up in the Search Engine Results (SERP)
SEO Meta Tag for Description.
Okay so now you have picked out the best outfit for the first impression now we have to get them to hire you. In an interview, you normally get to present most of your content. What we don’t realize though normally the first 30 seconds define how much you are actually heard. So we don’t want to go into the interview see that the employer has a picture of their favorite sports team and then talk bad about them. We want that first 30 seconds to engage the boss. The goal in that open statement is to get them on the edge of their seat ready to hear everything you have to say.
This is the same job your SEO Meta tag for description has. It is your first per se soft call to action. You want the description tag to entice your reader to click and follow-through to read your post. The optimum length for a Description SEO Meta tag is 155 to 160 characters. That is not a whole lot to get the person to click so you really need to focus on this. There are companies that their sole business is around writing the best description tags. So spend some time on this step and put your best foot forward. The whole goal is to get the person to feel that you have the best content for what they are looking for.
The Description Meta Tag is usually the second thing anyone ever sees of you.
These are the top two SEO Meta Tag for the beginner level of SEO Optimization. EMG feels they are a couple of the main parts of your online presence. Without these two, well you could have some amazing content for the world to see, but they will never read it because you did not engage the audience with these two basic level SEO tools.
You don’t want your SEO Meta Tags to leave this type of impression!
So How do they affect SEO?
Now although these are two of the major SEO Meta Tags for SEO for the beginner. These two can directly affect your SEO efforts with very little effort. By optimizing these two you will improve the click-through rate of your post. So if you can’t get the click then all the other optimization you do would be essentially pointless. So like we have said already make sure these are properly in place. So that you can get the best chance to get that reader to your site.
Meta Tags for SEO that you can overlook.
There are more SEO Meta Tags that are utilized on your site. Some you won’t really have to deal with because most site-building tools will auto-generate them. Some you won’t want to use at all. Let’s discuss some of the don’t use.
- Meta Keywords Attribute
- (Googlebot) Specific Bots
- Site Verification
The Meta Keywords Attribute
This one is an old school Meta Tag for SEO. This used to be used a lot and was extremely beneficial to your site. Then people took advantage of it.
Remember when your parents would give you that speech about being on your gaming console all the time, and if you didn’t start doing your school work they were going to take it away, and you didn’t listen cause you were about to save the princess and they reached behind the television and unplugged the console. Well, that is what Google did. They unplugged the Meta Keywords Attribute tool.
Back when all this SEO Optimization got going, and SEO Meta Tag for SEO was just getting ramped up. Marketers would use this tag and put big traffic keywords into it. They wouldn’t care if it related to the topic or not they would just stuff keywords in there. This is known as…you guessed it “Keyword stuffing” You can still do some keyword stuffing in your content and it is frowned upon, but you no longer can use the Meta Keyword attribute due to the fact that these days Googles algorithm doesn’t even look at it.
(Googlebot) Specific bots
This tag is used to give specific bots instructions. Every search engine has a bot that crawls your site. These bot specific tags will give each one of them a different set of instructions. Most of the time you can get by with just using the robots tag which we will discuss later.
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Very simply put these tags are only looked at by Bing and not Google. This tag does exactly what the name says it does. The tag will help identify the physical location of your business. Some SEO Meta Tag folks will say that you need them, but you can target to a location inside Google’s Search Console. So I would not spend a whole lot of time focusing on this.
This is just a cheap way of creating a redirect and you should never use it. Whenever you need to create a redirect always us a server-side 301 redirect. Google really does not like this tag. So make the effort and do it right!
This code is actually one of the most wasteful. We understand that sometimes you can’t get the other forms of site verification loaded, but still don’t do it with this Meta Tag. You should always verify your site with Google and Bing in the formats that they like. Google has a few options you can see here. Bing only allows doing it with an XML file or meta tag, but you should use the XML file.
Meta Tags for SEO that you don’t want to use.
These are the Lex Luthor of Meta Tags for SEO. Now they are not as bad for your SEO as Lex Luthor is for Superman. According to MOZ, they are just a waste of valuable space. See when you go to a website everything that is on the HTML side has to be read by the browser. If you put these Meta Tags in you will see long load times. We are not going to go into deep detail about each one, but we do want to point them out.
- Web Author
- Revisit After
- Resource Type
Copyright- This is just kind of redundant. Most websites have the copyright already listed in the footer of the site.
Distribution- This is used to control who can access the post or site. Well honestly who would want to restrict who can see their site. Even if you did those pages you would not want to index and you would want to password protect them.
Cache-Control- We really do not utilize a cache-control in our website packages. If you feel you need them though the best way is to handle them through HTTP. Google discusses cache control in more detail here.
Web Author- This SEO Meta tag pretty well defines itself. These Meta Tags for SEO define who the author of the page, or post is. If you were running a page where maybe you have a ton of different authors this may be useful. Otherwise don’t use it.
Expiration- Seriously? When do you plan for your site to expire or a post? If the page or post is supposed to expire then just take it down. As long as you are keeping your XML sitemap up to date then this code is never needed.
Revisit after- This is an SEO Meta tag that is used to tell the bots when to come back to your page. Most of the search engines won’t even pay attention to it.
Abstract- This tag is mainly used for educational sites. It allows the writer to put an abstract of the main content into it.
Generator- This is utilized to tell which platform you are utilizing to build your website.
Resource Type- This is already being done through DTD so no need for redundancy.
Rating- This is utilized to give the rating of the content on your site. Kind of like how television ranks a show PG, or PG13 and so on. If you publish adult content then using this SEO Meta tag would be necessary.
Here are some of the values
- Safe for Kids
- 14 Years
Understand if you utilize this SEO Meta Tag and mark it safe for kids and it is not you will get banned for LIFE!
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Robot SEO Meta Tags
We have discussed all the do not use SEO Meta Tags and there are more, we just highlighted them. Now I would like to discuss one more SEO Meta Tags. These are the Robot SEO Meta Tags. This is one that you will want to use and it can get pretty advanced if you want it to. This SEO Meta Tag tells the search engines what they can and can not do on your page. They can also be used throughout your page.
Most of the time you will want all of your pages indexed. But every once in a while you will have a page that you do not want to be indexed by the search engines. For example, we do not index our pages for capturing more lead information. Mainly because we do not want the Search Engines showing that page in the SERP. It really would make no sense for someone to go straight to that page. So, therefore, we have a code in the header that looks like this.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex">
This will tell the bots to stay off the page.
The other way to use the SEO Meta Tag is with a “nofollow”. Here is an infographic on how to utilize these tags
As you can see these tags can be used in many different ways!
There are more SEO Meta Tags out there and we will discuss them in more detail in other posts. In the future, we will go into detail about the open graph SEO Meta Tags. If you would like to read ahead then Facebook has a great post on them.
The SEO Meta Tags for SEO that were discussed in this article, will get you well on your way for getting your website on the right track for SEO Optimization. Elysium Marketing Guru’s hopes that you found this article helpful and that you will be on your way to finding your #trueelysium in marketing.
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