SEO has come a long way since the 90s. The earliest search engines had a hard time ranking results, so they had to rely on only the smallest bits of information to tell them (and the world) what a web page was all about.
In this article, we’re going to try and keep the language free of too much tech jargon. Meta tags and descriptions can be somewhat confusing, especially to those with no background in SEO or web development.
What Are Meta Tags?
Meta tags are a class of code snippets that are meant to give search engines information about a web page.
Meta tags include a lot of different tags but there are only a few that we’ll be covering in this article. These include the title, the description, and robots.
The title tag, expressed as <title>, is a meta tag that is used to tell Google what the web page is called. It’s the title that is shown in the search engine results page (SERP), and it is also the title that is shown in the browser tab.
Google uses it as a ranking factor, so make sure your focus keyword isin there. However, it’s also important for clickthrough rates, as it’s the first thing that most searchers will see when they come across your entry in the SERPs.
The meta description is a short summary of a page’s content. They’re not one of the important ranking factors, but it’s still important to let readers know what the page is about so they’ll be likely to click.
It’s notable because it often shows up as part of the search result, along with the title. Google and other search engines may not show this in the SERPs, instead preferring to show another snippet (possibly one that’s more relevant to the searcher’s query).
The robots tag is a very important one for one reason: it tells search engines what to do with your page.
There are four values available for the robots tag:
● Index: index the page
● Noindex: don’t index the page
● Follow: crawl the links. Also implies an endorsement, otherwise known as “passing link juice”.
● Nofollow: don’t crawl the links, and don’t pass link juice.
These tags can be combined to tell the search engines how they should crawl the page. If you have no value in the robots tag, the default is “index, follow”.
How To Create Meta Tags
Creating Meta Tags in WordPress
There are many different ways to create meta tags in WordPress, but we recommend using a plugin called Yoast SEO.
Install Yoast SEO by going to your WordPress dashboard and clicking Plugins. Then, go to Add New. Search for “Yoast SEO” and choose the one that’s published by Yoast. Install the plugin, then go back to Plugins and select Activate.
Once you do that, setting meta tags is easy. You can go to any page or post on your site and go down to the newly-created yoast SEO section. You will then have the ability to edit your meta tags, SEO title, and meta description.