A quick and easy guide to meta tags in SEO

Definition

Meta tags are used as elements in the HEAD area when creating HTML or XHTML web pages in order to more accurately describe the content of a page. These tags are synonymously called meta-elements. Meta tags provide additional information about a page, such as its author, a short description, or the language of the web page to browsers, search engines, or other web services. The following attributes are available for meta tags in HTML5: charset, name, content, and http-equiv. The attribute "scheme" is not supported by HTML5.

W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium, states that meta tags must be placed in the HEAD area of an HTML document. The structure of meta tags is always the same:

<meta name="name-of-element" content="content">

First, the name of the element is specified and subsequently, a value is assigned to it. Passing meta tags as name/value pairs is mandatory.

Meta tags that are relevant to search engines

Meta tags are usually invisible to visitors of a web page, however, they provide search engines with important information for indexing and help them categorize a website correctly.

In the early days of search engine optimization, meta tags were still an important ranking factor and therefore indispensable. Using meta tags made it relatively easy to influence a page's ranking in search results. Meanwhile, however, most meta tags have lost much of their importance for the ranking of a website. Nevertheless, several meta tags are still important and should not be neglected or forgotten when creating a website. These still relevant tags include:

Title

This meta tag sets the headline of a web page. Example:

<meta name="title" content="meta tags for search engines">

Thus, this meta tag performs the same function as the title tag and is often equated with it. While the importance of this meta tag for search engine optimization is controversial, the title tag is a ranking-relevant element that is also displayed in SERPs.

Description

The meta element description allows a detailed description of the website content. Example:

<meta name="description" content="Check your Website with our free SEO tools from Seobility. Get insights to improve your search engine optimization.">

The meta description is usually displayed in search results, and thus has a significant impact on whether a page is clicked. While search engines like Bing support this meta information, Google relies on it only if it can’t find a suitable text excerpt on the web page itself.

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