5 Basic Meta Tag Rules: Meta Description and Meta Keywords
Meta tags are HTML codes that are inserted to the header of the web page. Meta tags are not visible to users, but instead used for providing information about your web page to the Search Engine spiders when they crawl your pages.
When people refer to Meta tags, they are usually referring to Meta descriptions and Meta keywords. Google announced in 2009 that Meta tags are no longer a factor that Google will use to rank web pages. Although Meta keywords and Meta descriptions may no longer be a factor to Google but it still plays a role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Here are 5 rules to Meta tags that you should follow.
Related Article: Anchor Text Rules for SEO
Meta description is the short blurb that shows up under the blue hyperlinked title in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP). The Meta description is used in two ways. One, it is used as snippets to tell the searchers what a particular website, page or section is about. It is usually used as ad copies to attract people to click on the link. Two, it is used for Search Engine spiders; it tells the spider what the page is about. Meta descriptions are no longer a factor in SEO.
(Comment: I had around 150 characters in the Meta description and Google still cut off a few words)
5 Meta description rules you should follow:
- Meta description should be around 25 words or 150 characters. Google will only display roughly around 150 characters in the SERP. I would keep it under 150 to be on the safe side
- Write description in completely sentences. Capitalize first letter of each sentence and proper grammar
- Write an attractive description about website or page with “Call to Action” in the description. Call to Actions gives the user a reason to click on the page
- Include relevant keywords as it will be bolded
in the SERP if it is a keyword being searched
- DO NOT have the same description for all pages!
Edit: Search Engines don’t use Meta Descriptions as a factor to rank your pages but it plays a role in SEO by providing snippets of what your page is about and thus increase your Click Through Rate if you followed the 5 rules and attract searchers.
Related Article: 6 Basic Title Tag Rules You Should Follow
Meta keywords are a list of keywords in HTML code that are related to the website or page. It is also used to tell Search Engine spiders what the page or website is about. Although Google and Bing no longer uses Meta keywords as a factor to rank pages; however, some smaller engines might still be using it as a factor. Therefore, it might be wise to optimize it for the smaller engine in case your visitors are coming from there.
5 Meta keyword rules you should follow:
- List keywords in order of relevance and importance
- Separate each keyword or keyword phrases with a comma
- Limit to 10-20 keywords (there are really no limits, up to you to decide what is right)
- Include misspellings and different variation of the spelling in case searchers misspell words (for example, Optimization and Optimisation)
- Include action words such as “buy,” “shop,” “find,” “purchase,” or words related to your industry