On-page Optimization Factors: Meta Tags

Meta tags are HTML tags that aren't visible on the displayed portion of web pages, but are visible to search engine crawlers and when viewing the source code. They are placed in the head section of web pages, in between the <head> and </head> HTML tags.

It isn't absolutely necessary to include meta tags for seo purposes; sites can rank well enough without them, and often do. In fact, due to abuse and over-use over the years, meta tags began to be ignored by search engines, or simply not counted toward scoring pages.

For our purposes, we only use four meta tags, which are what we'll be looking at here are

  • Description Meta Tag
  • Keywords Meta Tag
  • Robots Meta Tag
  • Content Type Meta Tag

The is the structure of an HTML page, showing where the meta tags go:

<title>The page title isn't a meta tag, but should always be included.</title>
<meta name="description" content="Description goes here.">
<meta name="keywords" content="keywords go here">
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
All the text and images for the page go in between the <body>and </body> tags.

Regardless of whether or not meta tags are generally considered important, however, some search engine marketers, out of the many, still prefer to include them. Some search engines might still use them at times, with varying degrees of importance, so it certainly can't hurt to include them, if they're done right.