If you own a website that you want to rank in the search engines, meta tags are something that you are going to have to become familiar with.

But what exactly is meta data? This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about what it is and how you can use it to improve the ranking of your web pages.

Meta Tags: An Overview

Meta tags are also known as HTML meta tags. These are data tags, and they are HTML code used in web pages.  They essentially provide information to web browsers and search algorithms to explain more about the contents of the page.

For a long time, meta tags have been used in SEO. But they will not automatically get you higher rankings. Instead, think of them as an essential ingredient of good SEO, as something that the search engine algorithms require.

For SEO companies like https://poet.co/poet-media/, these tags are one of the first steps to be taken to improve a website’s chance of ranking. Without them, you are missing out on a simple way to improve your SEO.

There are many types of meta tags, but there are three that are especially important.

1. Title Tag

The title tag is the most important tag of all. If you use no other tags, you will want to use this one. It’s actually not really a meta tag. Instead, it is a required element of the page, compared to a meta tag that is optional. But it’s still an essential tag.

The title tag is one that you will be familiar with even if you don’t know what it is. That’s because it is the tag that shows up in the search engines as a link whenever you make a query.

If you do not write a title tag specifically, the link that displays in the search results will be taken from the information on the page. It does not hurt to add a keyword to your title tag, but only if you can do so naturally. And don’t expect this to have an effect on your ranking.

When people search for a keyword, however, and they see that same keyword in your title tag, they may be more likely to click on the link to your page.

The sentence you use for the tag is like a headline, so make it compelling so that it is the sort of thing that will encourage people to click. One thing you should aim to do is keep it to the right length to avoid it being cut off in the results. The cutoff point is about 55 characters, so try and keep it to this.

2. Keywords Tag

The keywords meta tag is one of the most misunderstood and abused. There once was a time when people would stuff as many keywords as they could into this, and that’s because for the early search engines it was important.

Google does not even look at the keywords anymore because its algorithms have advanced. In fact, a site with lots of keywords added to the meta tag is likely to be a negative rather than a positive.

So your best option is to leave it alone. However, if you have added one or two keywords for your pages, you don’t need to delete them all.

3. Description Tag

The description tag is another important tag to use. This is because, like the title tag, it is actually visible in the search engines.

The description tag essentially tells the search engine what the site is about. If you don’t include one, the algorithm will make its own one from the contents of the page. As you can imagine, this is hardly likely to be compelling.

Create a good description with the aim of encouraging people to click. This can improve the click-through rate and help you to get more clicks from your target audience.

The general understanding is that it will not help with your rankings, however. And whatever you do, don’t stuff it with keywords because this just looks like spam.

Make Use of Meta Tags to Improve Your Site’s Visibility

Meta tags are not something that you can start using and see a sudden boost in your search results, but they are important. They provide the search algorithms with more information about your website, and this can help to give you more visibility.

They can also help to generate more clicks by making them compelling rather than just using a string of words. So if you haven’t already, go over your pages and make sure your meta tags are working for you.