That is so meta (tag)

A meta tag is like the back cover summary of a book. They are used to give some additional information about a web page and try to encourage people to click your link in search engine result pages (SERPs). They are not used by Google to affect search rankings, but are still displayed in the search results. If a page has no meta tag, the search engine or social media platform will attempt to pull relevant text from your page.

Search engines generally pull text that appears before and after the keywords that were searched, whereas social media platforms may pull just the first few lines of the text.

You could write a really long meta description, but most services will truncate descriptions longer than 160 characters. Therefore, it is best to keep the descriptions between 150-160 characters. 

You should have meta descriptions for your pages that will most likely be shared on social media or appear in search engine listings. Since without a meta description, you have no control over what text is pulled from the page, you should provide one for every page you think could show up (or does!) in search engines or on social media.

The meta description should act as an advertisement copy, to get more clicks and visitors from search engines. In our meta tag, we define who we are, what we do, and we do it clearly. Another thing to remember is that Google and other search engines will often bold the keywords that were used for the search in your meta description, so try to include the keywords you are targeting in your meta description.

For smaller pages that won’t rank or are unlikely to be shared (such as Contact Us pages – not the same as an About Us page), don’t break your brain trying to come up with a good 155 character description. Focus on your home page, landing pages, and blog posts since these pages are the ones that you will most likely share and include keywords to rank for.  

How to Insert Meta Tags into your web page

These tags are included in the page’s html file’s head area. There are 3 useful meta tags: title, description, and keywords.

Here is how you add a title tag:

<title> This is the title of the webpage </title>

Here is how you add a description meta tag:

<meta name=”description” content=”this site is about the blah blah bluh”/>

Here is how you add keyword meta data

<meta name=”keywords” content=”blah, bluh, blah bluh”/>

Of course, make sure you add real information instead of blah, bluh, blah bluh! Most of the meta tags are easy to add, or even added automatically, if you are using a CMS like WordPress or HubSpot.

Still, there are a few things you shouldn’t do when adding meta tags:

  • Do not stuff your descriptions with your keywords
  • Try to avoid the same meta tag for multiple pages
  • Make sure you don’t have any irrelevant tags
  • Implement meta tags correctly
  • Use unique descriptions, do not copy them from other sites!

Doing these things may result in penalization from search engines, and may piss off your visitors who find your incorrect meta descriptions misleading. 

Meta tags might not be as important to use for SERPs as they were in the past, but when so many links and articles are shared on social media, it has yet again become important to add them to your pages.