The use of META tags in SEO

A web page is essentially made up of two parts, the head and the body. The body of the web page contains the code which makes up the page that we see when we look at a website in a browser i.e. all the pictures / graphics and text.

The majority of the head part of a web page however only contains information that’s of use to non-human visitors e.g. search engines, or to browsers which need to know how to display certain elements of a page.

Another element of the head of a web design page is called the page title which is not only visible to human visitors when a web page is displayed in a browser but also plays a very important role in establishing the relevance of the page as far as the search engines are concerned.

Any of the elements of the head of a web page which displays in the search engine results alongside the domain name i.e. the Page Title and Meta Description are likely to have some degree of influence on the click through rate to the website, and therefore by proxy, the conversion rate of the website. Contact us for more information.

The popular significance of meta tags

Over the last 10 years the term Meta Tags has been associated with search engine optimisation, and it was a popular practice for web masters to concentrate their efforts on filling the popular Meta Tags i.e. the Meta Description and particularly the Meta Keywords tag with large numbers of the same key phrase, and / or with every other keyword or key phrase which it would be beneficial for the web page to rank for, regardless of whether these keywords and key phrases appeared in the actual visible body text of the web page.

The reality in more recent years is that search engines have found greater success in protecting the integrity and quality of their search engine results by not basing the rankings of the web page on the contents of the Meta Description or the Meta Keywords tag.

The current role of the meta description and meta keywords tags

Google has been very clear in its recent communication as regards the Meta Keywords tag. As far as Google is concerned this is not one of the 200 or so signals which is taken into account when a web page is ranked.

Where the Meta Description is concerned, if you give you web page a reasonable Meta Description, and if you take the time to give each page an individual Meta Description based on the content of that particular page, then there is a strong likelihood that Google will display the Meta Description in that same form in the search engine results. See more information.

If this is not the case, Google is likely to display its own form of Meta Description for your page which it calls a snippet. This snippet may be derived from your web page body text and perhaps other directory sources which Google uses for reference.

The best meta tag tips on the web

  • Avoid the duplication of Meta Tags or having more than one on one type Meta tag in any web page.
  • As far as Google’s concerned, only spend time on the Document Title and the Meta Description.
  • If you do include a Meta Keywords tag, only include keywords and key phrases which actually appear in the body text of the page in that tag.
  • Based on the last point, the Meta Tags of each page in the website should therefore be different