Remember the last time you searched for something on Google, or any other search engine for that matter?
You typed your search query, pressed the “search” button, and got a list of headings with links (meta titles) and some text beneath them (meta descriptions).
Now, why did you click on one heading and not the other? Why did one website get your visit while another one didn’t?
Was it because it was the first link or because you thought the page might have what you were looking for?
That’s the power of correctly optimized meta tags in action. They help you show people that you have exactly what they need and get more clicks, increasing your revenue.
But how do you optimize your meta tags?
Types of meta Tags
First of all, let’s define what types of meta tags there are.
They are pretty easy to remember because there are only 6 important meta tags:
#1 Meta Title Tags
The meta title is a heading that appears as a page title in search results. They’re technically not “meta tags” because they’re written differently, but the idea is the same.
They’re supposed to summarize the page in 160 characters or less and are one of the two meta tags that are actually visible to all users.
You can also find them in your browser tab on every page you visit:
They have a real impact on rankings and should have a keyword you’re targeting on a page in them.
Keep in mind, though, that Google can rewrite it, but more on this later.
#2 Meta Description Tag
A meta description is text that is placed below the meta titles on the search engine results page (SERP).
Its purpose is to give users and Google a bit more context about the page just in case the title wasn’t clear enough or couldn’t include all relevant information.
Using keywords here will probably not affect your rankings. However, it’s still worth writing yourself because, otherwise, Google can pick any phrase on your page for it. Which definitely won’t help you get more clicks.
#3 Keywords Meta Tag
Meta keywords are the actual keywords you want your page to rank for.
In the early days of Google, adding the right meta keywords was all you had to do to make your page rank for them.
Of course, right now, it’s not like that anymore because everyone abused them way too much.
So “meta keyword” is the only meta tag you don’t have to worry about at all because it has no impact on rankings.
#4 Meta Robots Attribute
The “robots” attribute tells search engines two things:
Whether you want this page to show up in search results or not.
“Index” means that you want it, and “noindex” means that you don’t.
By default, all web pages you create on any CMS are set to “index.”
“Noindex” can be helpful if you have duplicate content or want to create a separate landing page for a Google Ads campaign.
Whether you want Google to trust and follow links on your page.
“Follow” means that you want it, and “nofollow” means that you don’t.
By default, all pages you create on any CMS are set to “follow.”
#5 Viewport Meta Tag
“Viewport” may sound technical and confusing, but it’s just the term that means the visible area on the page.
Meta viewport tag is important for all mobile-friendly websites because it tells elements on a page to change their shape and size in order to adapt to the user’s device. And if you want your pages to rank, being mobile-friendly has been a must since 2015.
Viewport tag is usually configured by default on all CMSs, but if you’re using pure HTML or it’s not configured on your website for some reason, grab the code above and paste it on all of your pages.
#6 Meta Language Tag
This tag tells the search engine which language a page is written in.
It’s usually configured by default on all CMSs, and you only need to worry about it if you have a multi-language site.
In this case, you need to add it inside the opening <HTML> tag on all relevant pages.
How Do You Optimize Your Meta Tags?
Overall, your main goal when writing a meta title and meta description should be to match the search intent and highlight that you have exactly what a person is looking for.
Optimizing Title Tag
This is the most important part, so let’s start with it.
Here are 7 simple rules:
- Keep it accurate: don’t promise people things they won’t see on a page. For one, it will increase your bounce rate. Also, your title will very likely be rewritten by Google to whatever they think is right with no CTR optimization in mind.
- Keep it short: your meta title shouldn’t be more than 60 characters. Otherwise, it will likely be truncated at the end.
- Use keywords: include the main keyword you’re trying to rank this page for, but do it organically, meaning, don’t stuff it into the title. Your title tag should be written in proper English.
- Include a number: numbers always attract attention, especially if your competitors don’t use them. For example, “10 Things You Have to Know About …”
- Include location: this rule applies mostly to local businesses. It’s very important that your title has a city, for example, “Best Plumber Toronto” and not just “Best Plumber.” Otherwise, you’ll have a much harder time ranking. It also applies to your h1 heading on a page.
- Appeal to emotions: there are many emotions to choose from, but fear usually works the best. The only thing here is to not overdo it to the point when it’s ridiculous “Make This Blueberry Pie Today, Or You’ll Die Tomorrow”.
- Test often: you never know what will work with titles until you try it. Check your best-performing titles in GSC, and experiment on your worst-performing ones to make sure you don’t lose much traffic in case you’re wrong.
Optimizing Meta Description
While meta descriptions aren’t as important, they can still help you get an extra click or two when done right.
Here are 5 rules for writing meta descriptions:
- Address user intent: you have more space, and you can briefly explain your heading and what people can expect on a page.
- Keep it short: just like with meta titles, meta descriptions have a character limit. Try to stay between 150-160 characters. Most plugins have these limits and will show you when it’s too short or too long.
- Include keywords: when you add keywords, Google highlights them in search engine results pages (SERPs), which usually leads to a higher CTR.
- Add CTA: always end your meta description with a single and strong call-to-action that invokes curiosity or urgency: “Get a free quote!”, “Contact us today!”, “Limited Time Offer,” and so on.
- Test and optimize: just like with meta titles, you need to check the performance of your meta description at least once a month and track pages with a low CTR.
Using ChatGPT For Meta Titles and Descriptions
Since the introduction of ChatGPT, I’ve tested multiple ways to use it for SEO, and I believe that meta attributes are one of the best uses because it’s really hard for AI to mess this up, and you can get a lot of new ideas.
The process here is pretty simple:
- Ask ChatGPT “How to write a high CTR meta title.”
- Then ask, “Using the rules above, write 3 meta titles for this page: [your URL].”
Always ask for at least 3 options because it will make it explore different angles.
Also, make sure that the outputs don’t exceed the character limit.
If they do, ask ChatGPT: “Keep the same idea, but make each title between 150 and 160 characters’.
How To Add Meta Tags to Your Web Page?
Just like the schema code for rich snippets, meta tags need to be added separately for every page.
Pure HTML Website
If your website is built on pure HTML or PHP, you’ll have to add all these meta tags with code into your page’s HTML code.
These meta tags should go inside the <head> tag on every page.
Here is an example for one of my previous posts :
Meta Tags For SEO - Easy Way To Increase Your Traffic Today!
If you’re a proud WordPress user and are not afraid to admit it to your friends, congratulations.
You just saved yourself quite some time!
There are tons of plugins for WordPress that can make your life so much easier. Here is an example of adding meta tags with Yoast:
And it’s not just the graphical interface but also the bulk import of meta tags. Which is a life-saver for online store owners.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend a specific plugin for that because WordPress constantly updates, and I’m not sure which plugin will work best for bulk import by the time you read this.
Hopefully, today you’ve learned that meta tags can help get your page indexed by search engine crawlers and bring your more traffic by increasing your CTR, so you can get more clicks from the keywords you already rank for.
If you’re trying to do SEO yourself and find it extremely confusing, contact us for help! We will provide you with a free SEO audit and assessment of your current strategy, as well as give you tips on how to improve it so you can grow your search traffic, appear higher in search results and get free leads.
An example of a meta tag keyword is “locksmith service.” It can be any keyword you’re trying to rank your page for. However, there isn’t much benefit in adding a keyword meta tag because it’s no longer considered a ranking factor by Google.
You can write meta tags manually or using a plugin. In both cases, you will need to write the meta title, meta description, meta index, follow and keyword tags. All of these tags need to be added in the <head> tag on every page.
All meta tags except for the keyword tag are still important for SEO. They can help you increase your click-through rate and make it easier for Google to understand what your page is about.