When you’re creating a website, meta tags might feel like an afterthought, but they’re extremely important in terms of attracting traffic. These tags have a direct impact on whether or not your site gets picked up by search engines, and they also influence how likely people are to click through to your site. What exactly are meta tags? Well, they include the title, description, and keywords for your page.
Your title should be a short, snappy, and compelling description of your page. It should give potential site visitors an accurate overview of what they’re going to get if they click on your page. For instance, an effective title for a plumber’s main website page might be "Plumbing Services in Ontario", while a clickable title for a law blog might be "Largest Settlements for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Vancouver". In both cases, the titles tell readers (and search engines) what they’re going to find on the page. Beyond that, these titles both contain keywords, such as "plumbing" and "medical malpractice", that readers are likely to use when searching for these topics.
In addition to your titles, search engines also look at your meta tags to see which keywords are covered on your page. To get help choosing your keywords, consider using tools such as Google Analytics. This free service shows you which keywords your prospective clients are searching so you know which terms to include in your metas. Analytic tools also help you come up with related words that you may not have thought of on your own.
Finally, you need to draft a meta description. This is a short description of your web page that displays on the search engine results page just below the title of your web page. Search engines don’t take this description into account when deciding whether or not to display your page within the search results. However, they do consider click-through rates, and if readers click through to your site thanks to a compelling meta description with relevant keywords, that has a positive effect on your overall search engine rankings.
Arguably, you should spend as much time working on your meta tags, titles, and descriptions as you do your main content. Although small, these details are extremely important. Consider using analytical tools and devoting extra time to make your metas shine.