One of the main elements of on page SEO is creating and editing the web page meta tags.
The Meta tags are located in the header section of a web page and are invisible to the web page visitor.
Because they are invisible to the average site visitor they are often overlooked by new website owners
Not only that but most web page editors or site builders don’t make it easy to edit them.
On WordPress pages and posts they aren’t visible unless you install a meta tag plugin.
The screen shot below shows the outline structure of a basic web page.
There are three main meta tags that are search rated, and they are:
- The Title tag
- The description tag
- The keywords tag
Although not strictly speaking a meta tag, the title tag is the most powerful tag for search engine optimisation.
Text you place in the title tag appears in the top bar of the Web browser, and is usually the first line displayed by search engines on the search results page.
It tells both users and search engines what the page is about, You can compare it to the title of a book.
Because of its importance to search engines the title tag should contain your keywords, and should reflect accurately what the page is about.
The recommended maximum length is around 70 characters. Try to limit yours to 5-8 words.
Important– Each Page should have a different title so don’t forget to edit it.
The page description should accurately describe your Web page and is usually displayed by the search engines along with the title as part of the search results.
The description should be less than 200 characters and ideally less than 140 characters.
It should contain one or two of you keyword/keyword phrases with the most important one appearing near the beginning.
This tag was previously used by search engines to determine page relevancy it is no longer used by the major engines.
The tag is a list of keywords and phrases. Each Keyword or keyword phrase is separated by a comma.
Try to limit the length to about 10 words, less is usually better.
Don’t be tempted to enter 100′s of keywords just because you are allowed. Don’t repeat your keyword more than 3 times as some search engines and indexes will penalize you for spamming.
Note: Can be omitted
Editing Meta Tags
Most web page editors will have a facility for editing the meta tags it is usually not always obvious how to do it.
Because most editors don’t actually force you to edit the tags they are often overlooked.
If you are using WordPress then you should install the All in One SEO plugin.
Then when you edit a page or post in the WordPress online editor just scroll down the page and you will see the All in one SEO settings where you can enter the page title, description and keywords.
Here is a video on how to edit meta tags using a web page editor and also WordPress.
Common Questions and Answers
Q- I’ve had my meta tags professionally created but my Pages still don’t rank well. Why is that?
A- Meta tags are a critical part of on page SEO but are only a part of the picture. You need to be aware that incoming links are important and that the strength of the competition is also important. You may also find that it is just a question of time and you need to be patient.
Q- Are there any tools for checking meta tags?
Q- What is the Robots Tag?
The Robots Tag is used to block access to a page/post and stop search engines including a page in the index. See this Yoast article for more details
- How Search Engines Work- Beginners Guide
- Getting Your Site Listed in the Search Engines
- Moz- Beginners Guide to SEO
- Google webmaster guidelines
- Bing Webmaster Guidelines