Meta Tags For Dummies

What ARE meta tags?

Close your eyes and imagine you’re browsing through your favorite clothing store. You pick up a nice-looking shirt, and peek at the tag. If you scan the barcode on that tag, the shirt will pop up in the store’s system! Let’s complete the analogy:

Clothing tag = meta tag

Scanner = search engine crawler (used by Google, Bing, etc). 

When the crawler “scans” a meta tag, it tells a search engine allll about a web page and helps it get sorted properly in the results page. 

Congratulations, you are now enlightened. And you know what? You don’t need coding expertise to create good meta tags. Clap for yourself!

Meta tags are underdogs; not many people pay attention to them. But just because a visitor or customer likely won’t see your meta tags doesn’t mean you can forget about them! They are a crucial factor in how visible and credible your web page is to a search engine.

I will discuss this in a brief essay.

(Page 1 of 3882723)

…Kidding, kidding, don’t run away! I’ll just take the next 100 words or so.

Why are meta tags so important?

Meta tags are little pieces of HTML code that basically act as a hotline of information for search engines. They communicate directly with crawlers, telling them what’s on the web page, how to sort it—or if it should even be sorted. So, when your meta tags and your page’s content are in harmony, a search engine will look at that and deem it more credible than a page with unrelated meta tags. That’ll bump your page higher in the search results, leading to greater visibility, increased web traffic, new leads, new conversions…all good things, really!

What are some different types of meta tags and where have I seen them before?

There are many, many types of meta tags. At ease, friends! Unless you’re the SEO mastermind of your company, you likely don’t need to know about all of them. 

These four types are probably the most important to be familiar with:

  • Title tags
  • Meta description tags
  • Robots tags
  • Viewport tags

Title tag:

Don’t confuse a title tag with a blog title—even though they’ll match more often than not. The title tag is an ideal place to put your target keyword! Keep it short, unique, and clear. 

Meta description:

The meta description tag is the ONLY meta tag that is visible to incoming website traffic. That means people can see it, so it has to be amazing. You’ll have less than 150 characters to convince people to click on your page. Often times, the meta description is what gives people that final push to visit a web page. 

Meta robots tag:

Ooh, this one is powerful. Unlike title tags and meta descriptions, which are descriptive tags, a robots tag actually tells a search engine how to treat a web page. We love an assertive, empowered meta tag! In the image above, the robots tag has issued the commands: index, follow. This tag is saying, “YES, I want to appear in the search results, and this page is really useful and relevant so please use this link!”

Viewport tags:

Most web pages have a desktop, tablet, and mobile view, right? (If your page doesn’t, come talk to us here and we can fix that for you!) That’s what a viewport tag does. It tells a search engine how to display the web page across different devices. So accommodating!

How do you even write these tags? Help!

So…all this meta tag business seems like a lot of work…

Yes, meta tags, when done correctly, can add up to a lot of work. It’s necessary work, however, but you don’t have to do it alone! Make Your Mark can lend a helping hand to those of you who want some assistance with meta tags. Contact us today to schedule an SEO consultation!

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