Meta tags are the HTML tags which provide metadata about the web page. Metadata means “data about data”. Metadata is some data which describes other data. On a web page, there might be a lot of data. When search engines crawl the web page, it is very important to inform them about what the web page contains, whether the page is to be indexed or not and what is the purpose of the page. Metadata is not displayed on the page. This information which is required by the search engines is provided by Meta tags and thus meta tags play a key role in the SEO of a website. Let us understand what are the various meta tags and how to use them.
How To Write Meta Tags? (Syntax of Meta Tags)
Meta tags are written in the <head> section of the HTML document. Search engines first see the head section of a web page. Head must contain all the information which we want to reveal to the search engines. It is like the name plate of a person’s house. The name plate of the house is not inside the house, but a part of the house and positioned in a way that even a stranger comes to know that the house belongs to the particular person. Also, if a person is doctor, then a sign outside his house helps us understand that he is a doctor. Similarly, the head section can be treated as the exterior of the house and the meta tags are the various elements describing the person who resides in the house.
<meta name=”” content=””>
Here, the name attribute will contain the type of meta tag and the content will store the information about it.
<meta name=”description” content=”Description of the page”>
Do not worry if you don’t know to write HTML code. There are many WordPress Plugins which do this for you. Most of the WordPress Plugins for SEO have the graphical interface using which you can enter the meta tags.
Various Meta Tag Attributes
One of the key On-Page SEO factors which help in leveraging SEO are Meta Tags. There are a lot of meta tag attributes and it is important to understand the use of the most commonly used meta tag attributes and how they impact the SEO.
Meta Charset describes the character set of the page. It provides the browser information related to the encoding used to author the page. It is also called as character encoding declaration. Different forms of encoding are available for various languages and alphabets. The most commonly used character set is UTF-8.
The title tag is not a meta tag. But, it is considered equally important as it plays a key role in the On-Page SEO of the page.
<title> Title of the page goes here </title>
Know more about title tag at “What is a title tag?”
Meta Description appears beneath the title in the SERPs. The description is a small paragraph which helps users and search engines understand what the page is all about.
Mete Viewport tag helps the browsers understand the dimensions of the web page. Users now access web pages on a variety of devices whose screen sizes vary a lot. It tells the browser to adjust the page as per the dimensions of the screen.
Meta Robots tags provides the search engines instructions about what to follow, what not to follow, what to index and what not to index.
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex, nofollow”>
This content parameters “noindex, nofollow” specifies that the search engines should not index and follow the page contents. There can be various combinations of the parameters. The various parameters for robots tag are follow, index, nofollow, noindex, noimageindex, nocache, etc.
The default parameters are follow and index. You need to use this tag explicitly only when you have to inform the search engines to not follow the default parameters.
As per Moz,
“In most cases, using a meta robots tag with parameters “noindex, follow” should be employed as a way to to restrict crawling or indexation instead of using robots.txt file disallows”