Guide for Adding Meta Tags to The Website
March 21. 2021
If you own a website, you are probably searching for different ways to help you improve your SEO efforts. Being an important part of optimization, it’s necessary to understand how adding meta tags to the website can help you. Besides the basic and most essential meta tags, required to define certain aspects of your website, there are those who can be helpful for your digital marketing. Some of them may partially influence your ranking, while also providing an improved user experience.
What are meta tags and how to add them to the website
No one can tell for a certainty how much meta tags influence SEO, besides the fact that they are important. But, every serious SEO expert will agree that adding proper meta tags is necessary, and is helping with SEO optimization. Their power lies in the ability to help search engines identify, classify, and measure your pages. While at the same time, some of them are providing important information to potential visitors. Overall, this helps you achieve higher ranking positions and increases the traffic of your website.
For most, meta tags are an essential part of optimization. To better understand why they are an unskippable step in every SEO process, let’s discuss them a bit.
What are meta tags?
When you look at the website page, you can hardly notice any meta tags. That’s why because they are nested in the head section of the HTML document within the code. But, this so-called “metadata” (data about the data) is visible to crawlers and search engines. For example, Google is using meta tags to better understand your pages. If everything is right, they will measure and rank your pages accordingly. In addition, they can display meta tags like meta descriptions in their result pages, for a better user experience.
Why do meta tags matter?
Meta tags primarily provide a set of details about your website to search engines. Not only about the website as a whole, but for each page of content they have. Which makes them an important part of on-page optimization. Secondarily, part of that information is visible to users in search engine result pages. Overall, meta tags are a sort of sum of the most essential information about your pages.
Search engines use this information to make the contextual value of your content. And once the user searches for a specific term, search engines use all the available information about the specific subject, and sort and display results. Meanwhile, allowing visitors to assume the information they will get from results before they click on them. The role of meta tags, in these cases, is to make the entire process easier, more relevant, and to provide a better user experience.
Types of meta tags
There are many different types of meta tags. Not all of them are essential and necessary. Even though the list of meta tags is vast, not all of them are valuable for SEO. To concise the information, we’ll talk about several fundamental meta tags:
- Meta title
- Meta description
- Image alt text
Before we do, it’s good to know how to add meta tags. There are two common ways of adding meta tags to the website:
- Adding meta tags manually in the code
- Using plugins to add meta tags to your WordPress website
If you have the option, using plugins like Yoast SEO will usually be the easier choice.
1. Meta title
The meta title is also known as title, title tag, page title, SEO title. Besides obvious, it is a page title that search engines are showing in their result pages.
- You can add it manually into the <head> section of your HTML code by entering:
<title>This is the title of the page on your website</title>
- PHP version in WordPress will look like this:
<title><?php bloginfo('name'); ?><?php wp_title(); ?></title>
Or, you can simply type it in the SEO title field if using plugins like Yoast SEO.
Don’t forget that for SEO purposes, good practice would be to implement your long-tail keyword in your title.
2. Meta description
More informative than meta title, the Meta description gives the context to your title. In SERPs, visitors can see a short and concise summary of the information they will find if they click on a particular result. It doesn’t have a direct influence on ranking, but it provides a good user experience.
First, you can add the piece of code into the <head> section of your page:
<meta name="description" content="Place the meta description text here.">
Or, you can write it easily with Yoast:
Again, you can, and should, include the right keywords in the meta description for your SEO purposes.
The viewport is basically the visible part of the page. By the same token, the Meta viewport tag sends instructions to different devices on how to display your page. To be more precise, it instructs the browsers how to behave with rendering particular pages. This is a particularly important tag considering that today people access websites with different devices. Especially with mobile phones. Since Google aims on providing an extraordinary user experience, mobile-friendly pages will rank higher.
You can add a meta viewport tag by simply typing the code in the <head> section:
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
The device-width and scaling value is commonly accepted today for the majority of web pages.
4. Image alt text
Another meta tag with great value for modern SEO is Image alt text. Simply put, if the image fails to load on a page, alt text is used to describe the content of the image. Otherwise, users will get an empty space or container without the content. Which, as a result, is bad for SEO and offers a bad user experience.
In code, the image alt tag looks like this:
<img src=“imagename.jpg” alt=“image description” title=“image tooltip”>
The easier version of implementing alt text in WordPress can be done within image properties.
For better image optimization, always make sure your images have an alt tag. And make sure at least one image on a page has a naturally implemented keyword. Besides UX, it helps with SEO by providing search engines with information about its context. And also increases the accessibility of your pages by giving image alternatives for screen readers.
You can use this guide for adding meta tags to the website to learn some of the most important meta tags. But, there are many other meta tags out there. Some may be vital while others may be completely obsolete. Learning them all goes beyond this article, and requires plenty of time. However, if you have time and means, it might be worthwhile. Learning how to add meta tags to your posts and pages can improve user experience, and help search engines classify your website better. Just don’t forget that first, you need to have quality content before you have something to optimize. And generally, focus on building your website one step at a time.