In SEO, we occasionally have a tendency to place a greater emphasis on some optimization efforts than others. Very frequently, link development is hailed as the “single most important thing to optimize”.
In actuality, there is no one most crucial factor and no secret to conjure up cosmically high results. Instead, we must put our attention on a thorough SEO plan. Using HTML meta tags, a critical element for SEO success, is a part of that plan. In light of this, let’s discuss which meta tags are essential for SEO and how to effectively employ them.
Your biggest and most significant anchor is the title tag. The purpose of title tags, which are located in the head> section of your website, is to give readers a clear and thorough understanding of the content of the page.
In SERPs, a searcher still scans the page’s title before determining whether it will likely satisfy their query. A well-written one might enhance clicks and traffic, which affect rankings to some extent.
The cover of a book still counts, especially when it comes to interacting with searchers, since search engines are looking at the big picture and tend to assess a page’s content as a whole.
Meta Description Tags
A page’s meta description, which is likewise located in the head> section, is frequently (but not always) shown in a SERP snippet along with the page’s title and URL.
There is no practical method to include every term you want to rank for in the meta description, and there is no real need to do so. Instead, compose a few well-organized phrases that discuss the main points of your page while include certain keywords.
Doing some competition research is an excellent approach to determine what to mention in your meta description and what is currently most effective for your specific topic.
To acquire a sense of the ideal use cases for each specific situation, research how your top competitors fill out their own descriptions.
Heading tags are HTML tags that separate headings and subheadings from other forms of text in your article (e.g., paragraph text).
The proper use of the H1 tag has been underlined in numerous industry studies, despite the fact that search engines do not place as much importance on the H2-H6 tags.
At the same time, Mueller maintains insisting that headings aren’t at all ranking elements and certainly not in the sense of “hierarchy” — the H1 tag isn’t more important than the H2 tag, which isn’t more important than the H3 tag, and so on.
Instead, we should consider how important headers are for the organizing of text and information, and how seriously we should take this. Using header tags enhances the content’s architecture without a doubt.
Image Alt Text
To explain the contents of a picture, the image alt property is added to the image tag. When it comes to on-page optimization, alt attributes are crucial because they are displayed to users in the event that a specific picture cannot be loaded (or if the images are disabled) and because they provide context because search engines cannot “see” images.
But keep in mind the significance of relevance: the image itself should be placed in its right relevant context in addition to the alt text, titles, and captions, all of which must be pertinent to the image.
Links on your website that go to other websites are known as external or outbound links. Clearly, these are used to cite credible sources, direct readers to more helpful sources, or draw attention to a pertinent website for some other reason.
These links are crucial for SEO since they may either make your content appear like a carefully prepared complete article supported by reputable sources, or like a link dump with little else of value. By default, every link is followed, and when you add a link to a page on your website, you are essentially “voting your confidence” in that page.
When a link has the nofollow attribute, it tells search engine bots not to follow it (and not to pass any link equity). Maintaining a healthy mix between followed and nofollowed links on your sites would help you keep your SEO tidy.
If you do not want search engines to index a specific page, you can use the robots meta tag with the content=”noindex” attribute. By adding the nofollow attribute to a link, you tell search engines to ignore it.
Although these tags have no direct bearing on search engine rankings, they can affect how search engines perceive your site in general. Example: Google despises content that is thin on details. It may be unintentional, but some pages on your site may have low user value but be essential to keep around for technical or legal reasons. It may also be necessary to publish “draft” or placeholder pages before they are fully developed or optimized.
Such content would likely bring down the overall quality rating for your site, so you wouldn’t want it included. On the other hand, you may want specific pages to be hidden from search engine results pages (SERPs) if they contain sensitive information or offer a limited-time promotion that should only be accessed through a unique link (e.g., from a newsletter).
Last but not least, Google advises turning off custom results pages if your site offers a site-wide search option, as these pages can be crawled indefinitely and offer no new content to the bot. Since they allow you to influence how search engines crawl and index your site, noindex and nofollow tags are extremely useful in the aforementioned scenarios.
Using the rel=”canonical” link tag, you can specify which version of a page should be used for indexing and search results.
It’s a common technique when several websites cover essentially the same ground but use slightly different URLs. In most cases, there is no malicious intent behind the reuse of content within an organization, so this type of duplicate content is not subject to the same strict penalties as copied content.
However, this could lead to confusion for search engines, as they may not know which URL you prefer to rank with. The preferred URL will be crawled more frequently than the alternatives.
Even though there is hardly any chance of incurring a penalty, the current situation is clearly suboptimal. In addition to improving readability, canonicalizing a page simplifies the process of monitoring content performance metrics.
Schema markup is a specialized strategy of organizing the data on each of your web pages in a way that’s recognized by the search engines. It’s a fantastic feature to implement because it truly benefits everyone.
A “semantic web” is a “meaningful web” where linkages between concepts rather than just keyword instances and backlinks are the main focus. Search engines can read information and grasp the context of individual words thanks to structured data markup. Because of how much the SERPs have changed, you might not even need to navigate through the results to find the solution to your question.
When you apply schema tags to certain page elements, your SERP snippet is filled with useful and enticing information for users. Back to square one, search engines’ decision to rank your website depends in part on user behavior factors like CTR and bounce rate.
Social Media Tags
Facebook first offered Open Graph to provide users choice over how a page would appear when shared on social media. LinkedIn now acknowledges it as well. Similar improvements are provided by Twitter cards, which are exclusive to Twitter.
It’s not a significant adjustment, and it has no effect on how you rank in the search engines. But, you may significantly improve your CTR and UX metrics by customizing how the links to your sites look.
Viewport Meta Tag
The Viewport meta tag is more concerned with the user experience than it is with rankings. With the wide range of devices in use today and the obvious move to mobile surfing, it is especially crucial.
Taking care of the viewport meta tag will be something your users appreciate, just like with many of the other tags and adjustments we’ve covered in this post. Your CTR and bounce rates could decrease if you ignore this.
Don’t overlook the minor adjustments that add up to the larger image if you want to make the most of your on-page strategy. Certain meta tags are still necessary since they contribute to the taxonomy of your page.
Even though some tags may not be necessary, they can put you one rich snippet ahead of rivals who didn’t bother. Both parties will welcome small adjustments that enhance user experience and aid search engines in understanding your website, and they will undoubtedly pay off in the long run.