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Shajith Ali
Shajith Ali

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Meta tags: Definition and how to optimize them in SEO?

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Meta tags provide information about the web page within the HTML of the document. This information is called "metadata" and although it is not displayed on the page itself, it can be read by search engines and crawlers.

Google uses meta tag metadata to understand additional information.

Meta tags are sometimes overlooked elements that play an essential role in SEO to help index your site.

In terms of natural referencing, using this tool correctly plays a role in your positioning, click-through rates and can help you stand out from competitors.

SEO-optimized web writing must include the optimization of some of these tags that structure content and serve to optimize Google's SEO criteria.

What is a meta tag in SEO?

Meta is part of the HTML tags that describe the content. They do not appear on the website itself, but user agents such as browsers or web crawlers can read Meta.

They highlight the most important parts to make it stand out in the results and structure the reading.

Some of them also improve the way visitors see your content in the engines.

Metadata is used by browsers (how to display content or reload the page), engines (keywords) and other web services.

The purposes of meta tags are:

  • To improve the user experience by offering structured content.
  • To give advice and instructions to search engines.
  • Make snippets in results more engaging and informative.

How to check meta tags on a website?

If you want to view the Metas, just right-click in the browser and click "View Source".
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You will then see the code for the whole page and you will find the main meta in the head section.

You can also analyze META using SEO tools like Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Ahrefs…

What are the most important SEO meta tags?

Meta Title or Title Tag

<title>Titre</title>

Title tags are used to determine the topic of a page and display it in results . They are also displayed on browser tabs.

It is advisable to create a name with less than 70 characters, otherwise it will be cut off. It is important to optimize it for the target keywords targeted by the page. Try to introduce one or two keywords to create a descriptive and unique message.

In the results (serps), a good hook influences the click-through rate. Its optimization allows you to increase online traffic with equal rankings and to set you apart from competitors.

All pages of the site must be optimized with suitable titles. The SEO optimization of the reception is not the only operation to be carried out as we see wrongly on many sites.

Meta Tag Description

<meta name=" description" content=" Content description">

The meta description tag is a short paragraph of text within the HTML section . It is usually displayed in serps after the website name and URL.

This is an important element that helps users understand if the page matches their search. Although meta descriptions and their optimization is not an online ranking factor, it is an online visibility tool and influences click-through rate and traffic.

Google uses the specified description most of the time, but it can also take certain parts of the content. The size of the description can be up to 300 characters , beyond that it will be cut off.

The meta description can be seen in two places of the highest visibility:

  • In Google results: the meta description occupies the largest part of the results in size.
  • On social networks: the meta description usually appears when sharing on social networks.

Meta Robots Tags

<meta name=" robots" content=" index, follow">

A robots meta tag is an element of HTML code that tells spiders which pages on your site should be indexed and which should not. If you don't add this tag to your HTML code, they will crawl and index all your pages by default.

To allow a web crawler to index an HTML site, use the following META tag:

<meta name=" robots" content=" follow"/>

If you want an HTML page not to appear in the engine index, you must explicitly define it:

<meta name=" robots" content="noindex Β»/>

Web crawlers follow internal links by default. If desired, it can be expressed by the following robot metadata:

<meta name=" robots" content=" follow"/>

The following meta tag can be used to prevent bots from following links:

<meta name=" robots" content=" nofollow"/>

Meta index/noindex and follow/nofollow can be combined or used alone:

<meta name=" robots" content=" index, nofollow"/>

<meta name=" robots" content=" index, follow"/>

<meta name=" robots" content=" noindex, nofollow"/>

If you have private information that you want to keep public, opt for a more secure approach, such as password protection.

The hreflang tag

link rel="alternate" href="http://example.com" hreflang="en-us" />

Introduced by Google in December 2011, the hreflang attribute makes it possible to show the relationship between web pages in other languages.

It is useful when you have created content specific to a local audience.

The hreflang attribute signals that a user searching in language β€œx” will want this result rather than a page with similar content in language β€œy”.

The Canonical tag

<link rel=" canonical" href="
https://www.sitename.ext/page/”/>

When you have multiple web pages with identical content, you can use a canonical tag to indicate which should be considered.

Thanks to this tag you avoid the problems of duplicate content. This is one of the common errors in E-commerce SEO, with the use of the same titles and descriptions on all pages.

Open Graph tags

<meta name="og:title" property="og:title" content="The name of your article">

Social media meta tags are not necessary for a website, but they can improve the appearance of your links on social platforms. They help these social networks to obtain more information and to better structure the form and the elements during the sharing of publications.

Header tags

<h1> General topic</h1>

<h2> Subtopic </h2>

<h3> Subsubtopic</h3>

Heading tags help read your content more effectively . The order of your hn header tags (h1 to h6) indicates the level of importance of each paragraph and structures the contents. This presentation in the form of a summary also helps Internet users to understand the subject dealt with in each part.

Prioritizing your headings will make your content more understandable.

It is customary to use an h1 tag and divide the parts logically into sections with h2. If needed, you can further segment the h2 sections with h3, h4…

Alt attribute

<img src="url" alt="Image Description">

The fact alt attribute is an image tag that provides a description to images . Alt text plays a major role in image optimization and helps it rank on Google Images.

Useful images to optimize are product images, your logo, infographics, charts, etc.

Try to keep descriptions fairly short, around 125 characters. The use of these tags is important to optimize the SEO of product sheets in E-commerce and improve their visibility in Google image results.

Character encoding

<meta charset=" utf-8"/>

If the font is not already defined in the HTTP header , this information must be provided in the HTML code. This will allow all special characters to display correctly.

Author and copyright

<meta name=" author" content=" Author Name"/>

<meta name=" copyright" content=" Rights holder"/>

The META β€œAuthor” and β€œCopyright” are found in the source code of an HTML page. They are used to record information about the site editor and copyright.

The author tag is automatically inserted in some content management systems (CMS). This type of meta is optional.

There are many other METAs out there , but they don't have any particular SEO utility. Although most metas are not direct ranking factors, using them properly can significantly improve user experience, affect rankings on Google, and increase click-through rates based on their proper optimizations.

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