For a while now, we have been debating if Meta Tags are relevant any more for SEO & SERP Ranking. But what are Meta Tags? Why do we use them? How to include them on your webpage? What is an efficient way to use them? Would it help with the high ranking of your webpage in SERPs?

Meta tags are indeed one of the key elements of SEO if not only. It has been used for ages now to identify the content of the webpage. They are those hidden codes which you may not actually see on your webpage but they are present in the source code of your webpage.

It is the legal way of hiding words in your web pages for search engines

Danny Sullivan – Technologist & Journalist

Meta tags are the HTML elements which help identify and summarize the content in the webpage for the Web Crawlers. It is a summary of the webpage in a machine-readable format which is more convenient for the search engines.

Which Are The Common Meta tags?

  1. Title Tag
  2. Meta Charset
  3. Meta Viewport
  4. Meta Keywords
  5. Meta Description

Title Tag

A title tag is the first impression of the webpage for the web crawlers. This is what is displayed on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP) as the headline of the webpage.

Meta Tags- SEO and SERP Ranking - Title tag

HTML code for Title tag  

<title>Simi Joseph - Everything Starts With An Idea</title>

Significant Points For An Effective Title Tag –

1.) Make sure there is only one title tag for every webpage. One title tag will help web crawlers find the uniqueness and value of the webpage. Multiple Title tags may also affect the CTR of the webpage.

2.) The title tag should be limited to 60 characters in order to ensure the complete visibility of the title on SERPs

3.) The title tag needs to be short and descriptive based on the content in the webpage

4.) Try to include accurate keyword into the title tag but also make sure you do not end up stuffing the keywords

5.) If you are promoting a brand, try to include the brand name in the title tag

6.) In case you are also promoting the page on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram.. etc, make sure you set the Alt title precisely as search engines may sometimes change the title of the webpage based on the linked Alt Tags.

Although title tags are not included explicitly as a part of meta tags its functionality definitely is similar to that of one.

Meta Charset

Meta Charset is used to define the character encoding scheme of the webpage.

The HTML code for Meta Charset tag

<title>How to add Meta Description in your HTML code</title>
<meta charset="utf-8">

Significant Points For An Effective Meta Charset

1.) The most commonly used character sets are UTF-8 and ISO-8859-1

2.) There are many more character sets available but not all of them are recognized or readable by all search engines so it is always better to use the most common ones

Meta Viewport

Meta Viewport is a responsive meta tag which is used to control the dimensions of the webpage for the devices it is being viewed on.

The HTML code for Meta Viewport tag

<title>How to add Meta Description in your HTML code</title>
<meta charset="utf-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">

Significant Points For An Effective Meta Viewport –

1.) Make sure you are not using a very large fixed width element.

2.) It is always better to include a viewport tag in the website so that the page may implement a responsive page design irrespective of the device being used.

Source –

Meta Keywords

Meta keywords tag is where you can mention all the keywords of your webpage. You will only find this code mentioned in the HTML source code and not on the SERPs. This is exclusively for the web crawlers to understand and verify the content of the webpage.

The HTML code for Meta Keywords tag  

<title>How to add Meta Description in your HTML code</title>
<meta name = "keywords" content = "HTML, Meta Tags, Metadata, Meta description, SEO"/>

Significant Points For An Effective Meta Keyword –

1.) Keywords should match the content of the webpage

2.) Spam and Keywords stuffing should be avoided as it may lead to penalization of the page for manipulation of data in the webpage.

It is best to ignore meta keywords as if not included properly, it may cause more harm than good.

Meta Description

The meta description is where you summarize your whole webpage for the web crawlers. This information is used in the snippet text on SERP. It helps web users to know the content of the webpage just by reading it on the SERP.

Meta Tags- SEO and SERP Ranking - Meta Description

HTML code for Meta Description tag  

<title>How to add Meta Description in your HTMLcode</title>      
<meta name = "description" content = "Add your description here."/></head>

Significant Points For An Effective Meta Description –

1.) Although Google is currently experimenting with the count of characters to be included in the meta description, too long meta description will cause search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo..etc to shorten the description on it own. Too short meta description will force you to avoid important keywords and diminish the space value offered by the search engines. Preferred character limit would be 155 which is standard for all the search engines.

2.) The content of the meta description should be precise and accurate to the content available on the webpage. Try to include the following

  • You can add related Keywords and bold them so that they stand out from the rest of the words
  • Include Call To Action wherever required
  • In the case of products, specify the product features or specifications

3.) Try to include HTML tables where ever possible as search engines like Google prefer websites which would directly provide an answer to the search query.

4.) Make sure you do not duplicate the meta description. Even though there is no significant harm in doing so, using multiple descriptions may cause Google to pick up any random description as the snippet for the query being search and this may confuse the web user.

5.) Try to write it in an active voice so that the sentence is clear, direct and concise.

6.) Make sure the meta description is the summary of the data mentioned on the webpage. Mis-match of the same may not cause any difference in the search results but it may eventually affect the click-through rates of the webpage.

7.) The description should be unique and it should be written specifically for the customer. It should be impressive, readable and should answer the query that is being asked. It should let the web user know why they need to click the link and what they might find once they do.

How Important Are Meta Tags – 2018?

There was a time when Meta Description was one of the factors that affect the ranking of the page but recently due to misuse of the feature provided by many website owners, search engines do not solely depend on the data mentioned in the meta description. Having said that, the Meta description still carries quite a few advantages when it comes to SEO.

Search engines increase the ranking of a webpage if the Click Through Rate (CTR) for the page is high. CTR is highly dependent on the data displayed in the meta description. If your meta description answers the query being asked by the web user then chances are they are going to click on the link to know more about it. This will also help drive more focussed audience and improve the conversions.

Even though Google and Bing have excluded meta description and meta keywords as the main factor for ranking the page, Yahoo still seem to use them for ranking in the SERPs. An optimized Meta Tag still provides web crawlers validation on the content and quality of the webpage.

Social Media platform like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter still make good use of Open Graph Meta Tags & Twitter Cards to share the ad or for the promotion on their platform.

With the proper form of meta tags, you can only increase your chances of better ranking in the SERPs and make your business more prominent in the search results. Know your strengths & effectively implement them and you will work your way up in the Search Engine Result Pages.

Great Execution is the Ultimate Differentiator.

Margaret Molloy

To know more about the complete available list of HTML Meta Tags and Open Graph Meta Tags – Click here