Online Marketing Strategies

13 Meta Tags for SEO Keyword Ranking.

2022-01-06 | 780 Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF


 

13 SEO Meta Tags used for Keyword Ranking

 

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There are several ways of securing SEO Keyword Ranking on Google and the use of  META TAGS is likely one of them, this is why it has been listed as a major factor in search engine optimization basically focusing on-page optimization.

Even as a major factor in search engine optimization, we do have some Meta tags that are considered lesser weight in terms of ranking factors. 

Table of Content

1.)          Title Meta Tags

2.)          Description Meta Tag

3.)          Keyword Meta Tag

4.)          Robot Meta Tag

5.)          Heading Tags (H1-H6)

6.)          Image Alt Attributes 

7.)          Nofollow Dofollow Attributes

9.)          Schema Micro Data

10.)        Social Media Meta Tag

11.)        Emphasis HTML Tags

12.)        Viewport Meta Tag

13.)        HTML Declaration tag

 

What are Meta Tags?

Meta Tags are inline Html element codes, which are used to give a better insight into what your page is all about. The major purpose of Meta tags is to help search engine spiders understand the structure of your web page and deliberate on who sees them based on their search phrases and correlation with your optimized keywords.

Now having this basic understanding of what META TAGS are, without further ado let’s proceed with their list and functions with how to implement them in your SEO, majorly making reference to the keyword you want to rank for.

 

1.) Title Meta Tag:

 

This is one of the major factors in SEO because it simply points out what the page is, and it’s common sense to always place your major keywords in the first position when writing a title Meta tag. 

But in actual truth, the position of your major keyword should not be so distant from the first set of word sentences, as keyword position in title tags does not have much preference like they use too (writing from experience).

 

Title tag example: 

 

<title> Your Major Keyword goes here followed by related ones</title>

 

It is located in the head area of a web page.

 

Most title tags are pure sentences eg blog post titles, so to write a good title only means you place and ought to convey a decisive sentence or phrase (I like to call them Tags), that enables your web visitor to act (especially if what they are searching for is in correlation with your title Meta tag) they do not need to be an exact match keyword phrase or sentence.

Another aspect to always apply is the length of your Title Meta Tag, although is ideal to always keep it within 50 character word sentence long to avoid being truncated in search engine results, I will prefer to make it 60 (Including space) in check, this is because long titles are shortened to about 600-700px on the SERP.

 

Branching into characters, it is wise to stop using &, ®™, $ and other related (symbol included) characters including emoji in your title meta tags, they might look cool in email templates, but on the web, try to avoid such silly errors as search engine spiders cannot process their relevancy with the search phrase or keyword.

So instead of using & please use and if you must use them to get shorter title length characters then google their Html codes to implement them properly.

 

Key Points:

• Place your Major Keyword in Your Title First Characters

• Title Character Length should not exceed 60 (avoid truncation)

• Avoid the use of irrelevant characters in your Title

• Your Keyword Title should be related to your web page content

 

2.) Description Meta Tag:

This is where you have less than 200 words to describe what your web page is all about, and this tag is found in the head area of a web page.

 Very presumptuous if you ask me (Thank God no one is), it is kind of similar to you going for a job interview and you were asked to describe yourself in a few sentences. Seriously where does one begin with such description?

 

Breathe my friend…To simply put, you are expected to describe the best qualities and irresistible merits of yourself to your employer, ding! Now apply the same philosophy to your Meta tag description.

 

Description Tag example:

 

<meta   name=” description” content=” some sales pitch skill comes in here”/>

 

 

Funny as it may sound, the META Description tag is no longer a major factor in SEO keyword ranking, WHY? Because search engines no longer rely on this tag like before, they can now easily copy content directly from your web page< body> content, although there is a nifty trick you can use to make the search engine display your description tag more, this is done by another Meta tag examined in this article.

 

 But yet the Meta Description tag sets off the basis to your organic click-through rates and that is the cliché around the Meta description tag, apart from it having over 80% of the search snippet to itself (that’s a boomer)! So whether the SEO community likes it or not the description Meta tag is here to stay unlike its counterpart Meta tag which has been relegated to the phantom zone.

 

Key Points:

• No more than 160 characters (including space) should be utilized

• Keyword density plays a role in your description when using your major keyword

• Every page description should be unique (Duplicate description tag is frowned on)

• Your  description should be related to your web page content and it’s where you literally sell yourself/page

 

3.) Keyword Meta Tag:

Sometime in the years far forgotten by many, was the META TAG called Keyword tag, this is the tag that has been placed in the phantom zone for years now. Although many SEO experts have brought the argument that Google no longer supports this tag due to its manipulative means of keyword stuffing, and other grey and black hat SEO techniques not to be mentioned here. I for one think it is still advisable to keep it, as Bing search engine and others alike still utilize this Meta tag (I know they own have 10% of the market share, and that’s with a combination of Yahoo! Search since they power their searches too).

 

Keyword Tag example:

 

<meta   name=” keyword” content=” select two, three keyword phrases of high relevancy to your page and use no more than 8”/>

 

 

The fact is the keyword Meta tag is used to read the keywords on your webpage content and can be used to identify what the content is all about. So you may not rank for a search phrase on Google does not mean you can’t get the other 10% to have an eye for you…(smile). I personally still do find them relevant even though the SEO community has placed them in the archives.

 

Key Points:

• No more than 8 keywords to be used all separated by commas

• Keyword density plays a role in your keyword selections (sometimes use synonyms)

• Every page keyword should be unique (Keyword stuffing is a sure way to get penalized)

• Your keyword should be related to your web page content; only search engines can see this tag so make them understand your page content's relevancy to the user search phrase.

 

 

4.) Robot Meta Tag:

As simple as it is, this tag is actually of zero factors to your SEO keyword ranking, but just like the description tag, it plays a vital role. In other to understand its importance we need to remove the notion that search engine spiders will always find your web pages via indexing.

But the truth is there are some pages you will rather not have the search engines index or will like to make the search engine capture your description Meta tag and not contents from your web page body.

 

Meta robots tag controls spiders from crawling and indexing your webpage or post it does this via the robot.txt file.  The robot.txt file consists of a few nifty lines of codes that allow or disallow search engines from indexing 

 

Robot.txt file example:

User-agent: *

Allow: /

Disallow: /cgi-bin/

Allow: /

Sitemap: http://www.seowebanalyst.com/sitemap.xml

 

And we will dive in a bit on the types of Robot Meta tags, as we have a few types used for specific purposes. From the code sample above we can see that the robot.txt and site map XML does have some sort of partnership work (Why it’s also good to have a sitemap of your website on your server), this is the reason you have sitemap.xml being listed as one of the minor factors of SEO keyword ranking.

 

Default Robot Meta tag

By default, if you omit to place a robot Meta tag, you are simply giving the spider access to your entire website with no restrictions (they can index your login pages and policy pages to rank for your brand name). This albeit other reasons you are most encouraged to add the tag into your web page

 

Default Robot Meta tag example:

 

<meta name="robots" content="index, follow"" />

 

 

 


 
<meta name="robots" content="none">

 

 

Meta robots noindex

It disallows search engine spiders from indexing a page. It means if you specify the below Meta tag for a page then that page would not come up in search results. For example, you wouldn’t want your privacy pages to come up in search results so to prevent it you can use the below Meta robots tag in your privacy pages.

 

Robot Meta noindex  tag example:

 

 

<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

 

 

Meta robots nofollow

Similar to the noindex robots Meta tag, this unique Meta tag tells the search engine spider not to follow any URL link on the page. This might sound familiar to one other SEO factor called “NOFOLLOW”, yes exactly the same function, the only difference is that the entire URL on the page will not be crawled and indexed by search engine spider.

Meta robots nofollow example:

 

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />

 

 

Meta robots noarchive

Have you noticed on some search results when you visit the URL via Google and they are not accessible, Google tends to request or send you a cached version of that page, this might be due to your server downtime or any other reasons and also when you hover over them they will present to you a snippet or snapshot of the page by the right-hand side of your screen as seen in the image below?  That is what we call a cached copy of the webpage. To prevent a page from being cached we can specify the below tag.

Meta robots noarchive example:

 

<meta name="robots" content="noarchive" />

 

 

Meta robots noodp

This Meta tag is the nifty trick I wrote about in our description Meta tag section, it disallows Search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing) from displaying their own description taken from their directory or other section of your page body, instead of from your Meta description. Using the below tag would enforce the Search engine to display your Meta description below search results and it would be useful to improve your organic CTR.

Meta Robots noodp example:

 

<meta name="robots" content="noodp " />

 

 

 

Meta robots noydir

Similar to the NOODP tag, the only difference is that it is only applicable to Yahoo only.

Meta Robots noydir example:

 

<meta name="robots" content="noydir" />

 

 

Best Practice to use noodp and noydir:  You can use the below tag for all of your web pages-

 

 

<meta name="robots" content="noodp, noydir" />   

 

 

OR (above tag and below two tags- both are same)

 

 

<meta name="robots" content="noodp " />

 

 

 

<meta name="robots" content="noydir" />

 

Can a page have more than one robots Meta tag? 

Definitely, but they have to be no conflict of interest with their functions.

CASE 1: No conflict values in a robots meta tag.

 

 

<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

 

 

 

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow" />

 

 

Above two tags would be taken same as:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow" />

 

 

CASE 2: Conflicts value present in the robots meta tag.

 

First instance:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

 

 

Second instance:

<meta name="robots" content="index" />

 

 

In this case, both values are conflicting as one tells to noindex and the other is enforcing spider to index the page. For such cases, crawlers consider the first instance of conflicts.

 

So search engine bot would take it as

<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />

because noindex has been noticed before than index one.

 

How to use Robots Meta Tag to block search engine bot

Did you know you could actually block some specific search engine bots from crawling specific pages on your website? So instead of blocking all search engine bots with the “robots” noindex you could actually define the specific robot you do not want crawling your web pages.

Bot Name:

 

Google: GOOGLEBOT

 

Yahoo: SLURP

 

MSN: MSNBOT

 

ASK: TEOMA

 

So, if you want to make your page nofollow for Google bot only then you can use the below tag.

 

 

<meta name="Googlebot" content="nofollow" />

 

Note: In Meta name, I have given “Googlebot” instead of “robots” to make it applicable for Google search engine bot only.

5.) Heading Tags (H1-H6):

Heading Tags are very crucial elements in your web pages they are also considered as a major factor in SEO keyword ranking, though not all Heading tags are measured the same. 

There are six of them, and both H5 and H6 are basically the weakest when used it seems so closely related to another  Html tag element the bold tag <b> and strong tags <strong>, these tags are only second to H3 and H4 tags with H1 and H2 tags taking the first position in relevancy.

 

One of the major factors to consider when using the H1 or H2 Headings is to utilize your major keyword with it, consider the H1 as a Title headline and the H2 as a subheading to the main heading.

 

H1 Tag example

 

<h1>Your Headline Title</h1>

do the same for other Headline tags, lesser tags can be used in body contents.

 

 

Key Points:

• Include H1 tags with your major Keyword during Topic Headlines leading to the abstract or description of the content.

• Use H2 tags in the same respect as your H1 tags, but do not overuse this method, or else it becomes obvious.

 

6.) Image Alt Attributes:

The tag is literally a way to optimize your images on your website and also a means of sneaking in your major keywords, as once said search engines when they crawl your web page they do not see the images but only text. This is why the image on your web page does not load, the alternative (ALT) text is used as a description to replace the failed loaded object (image).

 

Like I said before when the search engine bot visit your web page all they see is text so it is wise to include your major keyword in the alt text and to help them better do specify the image height and width as well.

 

Image Alt Tag example

 

<img src=” Path to your image source" alt=" your keyword along with the image description" />

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Points:

• Include your keyword in the alt description do not overuse this technique.

• Optimize your images by size and also compress them for faster load time.

 

7.) Nofollow Dofollow Attributes:

Similar to the robots “nofollow”  meta tag the Nofollow Dofollow attribute do a similar function only inside the page do they get to direct the search engine bot, but first, we need to explain what external/outbound links are, they are links on your page pointing to other pages outside your web site.

This is different from links pointing to other pages from your site called internal links/inbound links, no adding either the nofollow or the dofollow to this type of links are beneficial to SEO as they tend to help search engine to understand the correlation between two pages or websites. 

This also points to why optimizing off-page optimization works with link building and the right amount combination of NOFOLLOW and DOFOLLOW links can help improve your page SEO keyword ranking by transferring the juicy from one page to the other (using dofollow in your link tag) or by using nofollow to tell the search engine bot to follow a link to its destination (URL).

Nofollow attributes are used specifically when the pages are correlated e.g. your navigation tabs having URL linking to other pages using Anchor links (another benevolent SEO factor that has been reduced to minor SEO factor) or used to lead visitors to another page outside your website but you can do this without passing any juice to that page eg Your website is about selling cars and you need to make a quick reference to an auto mechanic website, you can do this without telling the search engine to follow the URL to the page.

 

Key points:

• Use dofollow or nofollow attribute for URLs you want the search engine to crawl

• Use them wisely alongside anchor text (you can use your main keywords as text if the linking page is of relevance)

• Do not use many nofollow or dofollow links on your web page a standard of 50 inbound/outbound URLs should be enough for a Page

 

 

8.) Relative Canonical Tags:

This Meta tag function is also similar to a 301 redirect aka IP canonicalization another minor SEO factor for ranking keywords, the only difference with this Meta tag is that it does not do a permanent redirect instead it only makes the search engine understand to always point to a certain URL version of that page. The “rel” in the met is for relative

This can come nifty when you want to have a search engine stop indexing a certain page for another one, eg to redirect from an old page to a new version

Relative canonical tag example

 

<link rel=canonical href=”your old URL” />

 

 

Key points:

• Use the canonical tag to redirect from one URL to another

• Help prevent duplicate content issues as it tells the search engine that both contents on a page belong to a single URL

 

9.) Schema Micro Data:

This is a special kind of Meta tag as they help in the structuring and search engine abilities to understand how your web page contents are being structured. This is why they are fondly called structural mark up as well, and they carry weight in SEO ranking factors.

Well-structured markup tags can easily be set up for your website via the Google Structured Data Markup Helper, seriously you will need this tool, but it is only limited to the features it can provide, you have to actually use the call-up schema from their website schema.org to utilize this structural data you will need an item scope, followed by item type under which you have item property.

 Schema Markup structure data example:

 


 

<div class="section white">

<div class="wrap" style="padding: 10px 0 26px;">

<div class="ease_opacity" itemprop="Text" itemscope="" itemtype="https://schema.org/CreativeWork">

<div style="color: #fff; font-size: 21pt; font-weight: 500; text-align: left; display: inline-block;">

<img itemprop="image" src="www-img/web/homepage/2018/Trophy-Icon-PNG-02.png" style="max-width: 250px; float: left; margin: -40px 14px -18px 0;" />

 

<h2 class="ctitle exo" itemprop="headline">The Tool of Champions</h2> <br />

<div class="clear_div"></div>

</div>

</div>

<div class="clear_div"></div>

</div>

</div>

 

Key Points:

• Use them properly to structure your website content and information for search engines to easily capture relevant information to searchers that are on your web pages.

• A proper utilization of the right markup will provide success with your web page being crawled and indexed properly by search engines

 

10.) Social Media Meta Tag:

This is tag was first crafted by Twitter with the use of a Twitter card prior to the introduction of open graph tags by Facebook, this tag is also read by Linkedin. It is a way to share your web page snapshot image with title and description on social media whenever your URL is shared across the social media sites, and also makes it easy for search engines to syndicate your URLs from their platforms.

Just like your normal Html Meta tags with title, description, and keyword tags, they are all represented in the social media Meta tags.

Social Media Meta Tag example:

 

<meta property=og:title content="Your content with your keyword" />

 

 

 

<meta name="twitter:title" content="Your content with your keyword" />

 

Key Points:

• Include them in the <head> section of your page to make a better representation of your page on social media websites

• Similar to the normal HTML Meta tags, you do not need to overstuff your keywords either, just follow the same instructions as you would with your normal Html Meta Tags

 

 

11.) Emphasis HTML Tags:

These are like our headlines used to highlight topics or subtopic sentences on your web page, the emphasis HTML tags, as I would call them are HTML elements found in the body section of your page.

These tags are very useful in SEO ranking factor as well but not as potent as your Headline tags except for the H5/H6, just as their name implies you can only use them in a sentence headline or subheading, whereas the emphasis tags are used for that specific keyword to highlight the word, make it stand out from the rest.

Emphasis Html tag examples:


 

<b> bold

<strong> strong

<i> inclinded or italic

<cite> citation

<blockquote> Quotation

<ol> order listing (requires to be nested in a <ul>)

<li> number listing (requires to be nested in a <ul>)

<em> emphasis

<abbr> abbreviation

Out of all these listed tags, there are only a few with better SEO factor relevancy, which is the <b> bold tag followed by the <strong> strong tag and the <ul>’s tag, this one is actually special as you find them in rich snippets that are ranking for question-related phrases.

 

Key points:

• They are good for targeting your major keyword 

• They should be used alongside H1 tags (as the description content)

• Do not overuse them on your page or else they lose their value and purpose.

 

12.) Viewport Meta Tag:

Viewport Meta tag allows you to configure how a page would be scaled and displayed on any device. When measuring mobile responsiveness this tag is one of the factors considered first.

 

Commonly, the tag and the value would look as follows:

Viewport Meta tag example:

 

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1"/>

 

Where “width=device-width” will make the page match the screen’s width in device-independent pixels, and “initial scale=1” will establish a 1:1 relationship between CSS pixels and device-independent pixels, taking screen orientation into account.

 

This tag is a no-brainer to add, but one screenshot from Google is enough to show the difference it makes:

 

Key points:

• It is good for UX and since the mobile internet now rivals the PC, you can imagine how mobile search does compare and compete.

• It’s good for Mobile scaling and alerts the search engine that your site is a potential one for mobile ranking (yes the ranking position on mobile varies from the desktop just a bit since most websites are now mostly mobile responsive).

 

13.) HTML Declaration tag

By default most webpage comes with this declaration tag, so everyone does ignore them. For the same reason, you have the robot.txt to be in synch with your sitemap and how the search engine crawl and indexes your site, that is the same way the HTML declaration tag works.

A webpage that omits this simply makes it hard for the search engine bot to know what type of structure they are indexing, to tell you how important they are, it is the first meta tag you ought to have after the second line of code ie <!DOCTYPE html>, <html>

 

Html declaration tag sample:

 

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html;charset=UTF-8"  lang="en"/ >

 

With this tag we have simply define our web page structure and content type, you can add the language the webpage is being written with.

 

Key point:

• Always check for this Meta tag on your web page to ensure smooth crawling and indexing of your pages.

Conclusion

Following all the descriptions here can easily make a difference with your on-page optimization which can help you in ranking your keyword on search engines.

From the list here we can note that some tags are a must-have while others are complementary, either way, they are still useful in the long haul via your path to ranking your keyword on search engine.


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Author

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Olatunji Adetunji

I am a seo web analyst and have a love for anything online marketing. Have been able to perform researches using the built up internet marketing tool; seo web analyst as a case study and will be using the web marketing tool (platform).

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