Ah, meta tags. Just the thought of them can make you want to scratch your head. You likely hear about them when people talk about SEO, but do you really know what they are? I myself had to do some research to fully understand the question of what are meta tags.
What Are Meta Tags?
Do you know what HTML code is? It’s the code that makes your blog appear the way it does. Everything you see on your blog has been created by HTML. Well, meta tags are a special type of HTML tag. Instead of saying what things should look like though it’s their job to tell the search engines what a blog post is about. They also supply such information as who created the page and how often it’s updated.
There are actually several types of meta tags, but there are only a few that bloggers focus on. Those are the keywords meta tag, the description meta tag, and the robot meta tag. Using meta tags is part of good SEO, but they alone won’t help you rank well.
Meta Keyword Tags
It used to be standard practice for bloggers to use meta tags to tell search engines exactly what the keywords for their posts were. The search engines decided they weren’t a fan of that practice, so now they actually ignore this meta tag. Instead, the search engine bots crawl all over the page to decide on its own what the keywords are.
This is why it’s so important to practice good SEO. We recommend using the Yoast SEO plugin. It will help you make sure that you’ve done your SEO correctly, so the search engines will recognize the keywords that you want.
Robot Meta Tags
The name for this one will probably throw you, and honestly I don’t know why they call it that. This is actually a very important meta tag though. This is the meta tag that tells the search engines when we want them to NoIndex or NoFollow a post. You can easily choose to NoIndex a post with the Yoast SEO plugin. You can easily NoFollow a post with the “NoFollow Link” plugin.
Description of Meta Tags
Now the description meta tag is the one that you will use the most, and probably the most important one you’ll use. The description meta tag is what your readers will read before they click the link to your post. If your post comes up in a search, then the description meta tag is what they’ll read to decide if your post is what they’re looking for. This description will also show up with your link in other places like Facebook. You aren’t required to add a description meta tag, but a description still needs to show up, so if you don’t add one the first few sentences of your post will show up. The description meta tag is one of the areas that the Yoast SEO plugin will want you to fill out to optimize your SEO.
Clear? Yeah, I know…but they can definitely help…so give it a try!