What Are Meta Tags? The SEO Term Explained

Written by: Jason Bayless | January 02, 2015

While many may not understand exactly what a meta tag is, it is a crucial part of any webpage. That is because a meta tag is the line of HTML coding which holds all of the metadata relating to a website. Now, as far as what is in the meta tag, that won’t make a difference on how the webpage uploads and the design of it. In fact, a meta tag is not even seen by those visiting the website containing it. Well, that is unless they are looking at the source code set forth.

There are two different types of meta tags that are commonly used. Those are both meta description tags and meta keywords tags. For those that do not know, the meta description is typically a sentence or two long, and it allows readers to know exactly what the page they are looking at is dealing with. In other words, meta descriptions summarize the webpage. On the other hand, meta keywords tags pertain to other words that the reader might be interested in. They are usually keywords that are similar to the search engine optimization term originally sought out. Each of these terms are located right in the heading section of the website’s HTML code. It can also be found right below the title.

What do these meta tags really mean, though? What is their true purpose? Well, they are created to inform the inter-webs what the website is about. These meta tags are known for drawing traffic to webpages. In fact, meta tags were used well before search engines were even created. However, today meta tags mainly serve as a search engine optimization tactic. That is because meta tags allow for webpages to index in search engines much easier. Of course, not all web crawlers take note of these meta tags. For the ones that do, though, the meta tag has to be perfect because this will improve and increase the overall visibility of the website on certain search engines. That means when an individual goes to look up one of the meta keyword tags on a search engine page, the specific website would place higher up on the results. This will help businesses and companies tremendously, as internet users are now much more likely to click on their page.

As mentioned, some robots completely disregard meta description tags. In those cases, the web crawler will replace the meta description tag with one of their very own. This tends to happen with some of the larger search engine companies such as Google. Then, with smaller search engines, they tend to use the meta description tag set forward as the whole page description. That is why it is so important that the meta tag drafted up is the kind that best represents the webpage.

Another similar issue that some websites will encounter is that content meta tags are left completely unused. This tends to be the case for those webpages that list words that are not actually in the content. The best way to avoid this type of situation altogether is by using each and every content tag word at least one time on the webpage. This way the search results are truly optimized. However, as any expert in search engine optimization can explain, meta tags are not the only source that makes a difference here. Inserting main keywords numerous times into the content is also very important.

It is obvious that simply putting keywords and meta tags into a webpage is not enough to bring in repeat viewers. Instead, the content has to be something that is engaging and informative. However, once that is achieved these meta tags will definitely seal the deal. They have the ability to rake in viewers who would have never checked out the webpage otherwise. With the right meta tags in place, websites are only setting themselves up for real success.