Find out what to include in your meta tags and why it’s important to search engines and website visitors.
Is metadata a big deal for my website and SEO?
The short answer is YES!
The longer answer needs to preface that even if you never update your meta tags (title and description) Google will do it for you. Sometimes this is great, but many times the Google algorithm hasn’t quite grasped your business, your website, or what you are trying to talk about on a single web page.
What are the meta tags used for?
When someone does a search on Google and sees a list of results (aka Search Results) they are seeing the meta title and description along with the website URL/link. Sometimes you provided that title and description. Or you might have a plugin that automated a title and description. And other times regardless of what you or your plugin has for the title and description … Google re-writes it.
What should you have in your Title and Description?
A summary or highlight of the page utilizing a keyword/phrase. The title should be a maximum of 60 characters and the description should be about 160 characters. Anything longer will get truncated.
In addition to the essence of the page, a business should include the keywords of their products/services associated with the page. But don’t spam the search engines by adding a slew of keywords. The keywords should only be added to the metadata if they are used throughout the web page.
What if I have SEO plugins or an SEO hosting feature/service?
Double check! Don’t rely on an automated process to put your best foot forward. The title and description are sometimes the first things that someone sees about your business.
And if you don’t update your meta tags, what exactly will Google do?
Even if you update your meta tags, Google might re-write the tags for a particular “search term”. Why? They want the results to make sense for the search term. Here’s an interesting video by Google – someone calls in because they have metadata but Google is still rewriting their meta description.
This John Mueller of Google’s Webmaster Central video addresses this topic. The first question is from an SEO professional asking about why a meta description is displayed perfectly and why it is displayed differently for other search terms. John says that first of all the meta description should be there, but also it has to be relevant – so that Google doesn’t try to re-write. The description can vary based on the query. …very interesting and frustrating!
All of our SEO campaigns check, update, and re-check meta tags. Contact us to start an SEO campaign for your business.
First published Feb. 2021