How to Write Meta Description for Websites and Blog Posts

Let’s start from the start!

What does it mean when something is ‘Meta’?

How to Write Meta Description for Websites and Blog Posts

Although the term originally comes from the Greek prefix meta- meaning post, it is more commonly used to mean about (its own category).

For example, if you make a joke about jokes, it becomes a meta-joke.

So, by that logic, is #hashtag a meta hashtag? I guess so.

What are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are essentially little content descriptors that tell search engines what a web page is about. Meta tags provide information about the webpage in the HTML document. This information is known as metadata. While this information is not displayed on the page itself, it can be read by search engines and people who know where to look.

Several search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing use meta-data from these meta tags to gain auxiliary information about the webpage. They can use this information for ranking purposes, to display snippets in search results, and sometimes they can just ignore these tags.

Hold up! So tags and meta tags are different?

Well, yes and no.

What is the Difference Between a Tag and a Meta Tag?

You know the use of tags you see. But, it is the tags that you do not see that might perplex you.

First, their purpose is exactly the same.

There is only one difference, and that is the location. 

Meta tags only exist in the HTML file of a web page. They are added usually in the header of the HTML code. Ideally, these tags are read by the search engines only. However, if you are eager, you can also see these tags by right-clicking anywhere on the web page to open a menu. Select “view page source”. And, find your way to the head of the HTML document.

Do Meta Tags Actually Help SEO?

I know I am repeating myself, but yes and no.

Meta tags represent the beginning of most SEO training, for better or worse. 

One of the first things everyone mentions in any article is the misuse of meta tags, mainly because they are at the top of every page and hence, they are the first thing that is apparent.

However, every coin has two faces. 

Meta tags are one of the best tools in any search marketer’s quiver. And, I am here to prove it.

Types of Meta Tags 

There are four main types of meta tags worth talking about, and I am going to talk about them all here. Some of them are not as useful as they once were. Others should be used regularly to increase your web traffic by letting Google know who you are and what you offer to the users.

This is a brief of the four types I will discuss:

1- Meta Keywords Attribute – A series of keywords you think are relevant to the page in question.

2- Title Tag – This is the text you’ll see in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) and at the top of your browser. Search engines see this text as the “title” for the page you have used it in.

3- Meta Description Attribute – This is a nutshell description of the page.

4- Meta Robots Attribute –  This is an indication to search engine crawlers (robots or “bots”) telling what they need to do with your page.

Meta Keywords Attribute

A few years ago, the meta keyword tags might have been beneficial, but not anymore. 

To be honest, it is our own undoing.

When Digital Marketing became a trendsetting field, marketers grew a little (correction: a lot) desperate for views on their pages. They started inserting keywords into their code that were totally unrelated to their pages. This was done in an attempt to pirate traffic from the pages which were more popular. This practice is known as “keyword stuffing.” 

I mean, what if you searched for Lindsay Lohan and you somehow landed on this page? Or maybe that is how you got here.

Kidding! No one can outsmart Google. Certainly, not us. And, neither could those fishy marketers. 

In fact, Google decided to devalue this tool. Nowadays, Google doesn’t use meta keywords in its ranking algorithm at all.

Title Tag

Title tags-on the other hand are the most important of all the meta tags we have. While its name doesn’t start with ‘meta’, it is in the header and contains information that is very important to SEO. These tags have a real impact on search rankings and, perhaps just as importantly, are the only of tags mentioned here that are visible to the average user. 

You’ll find title tags in the search results pages and at the top of your browser.

This is particularly useful if you want to give your page one primary title for the user to clarify information for SEO purposes or help them shuffle multiple tabs on their desktops.

Meta Description Attribute 

The infamous meta description tag is used for one major purpose- to provide a description of your page to search engines and (sometimes) searchers themselves as they read through the SERPs. This tag does not actually influence the rankings of your page, but it is very important regardless.

It is the ad copy that will determine if users click on your result. Keep it within 160 characters, and write it to bait the user’s attention. Google has not implicitly said anything but actions speak louder than words. Although meta keywords don’t matter much, meta descriptions definitely do.

So, sell your page — get them to click on the result.

Meta Robots Attribute

With this attribute, you’re telling the search engines what to do with your pages:

1- index/noindex – This tells the engines whether to show your page in search results or not.

2- Follow/Nofollow – This tells the engines what to do with links on your pages. It tells whether they should trust and follow the links to your next pages.

 In terms of indexing and link following, if you don’t specify a meta robots tag, they read that as an index, follow.

Generally, these search engines are really good at this kind of thing on their own, but if you think you need it, feel free.

Before You Leave

It is important to note that meta tags matter, but not all of them are on your side. Anyone with any knowledge of SEO would agree when I say that if you want to rank high in searches, your meta tags need to accompany high-quality content that focuses on user satisfaction (such as this blog, hopefully).

Meanwhile, just stick to the core minimum. Refrain from adding meta tags you do not actually need — they just take up space and memory. The lesser code you keep, the better it is.

Just imagine that your page code is a set of step-by-step directions to get somewhere but for a browser. Now, the irrelevant meta tags are the annoying “Go straight for 500 meters” that interrupts the beat drop of your favorite EDM song.

Find out the good, the bad, and the indifferent meta tags by joining the Skillvertex Digital Marketing Upskilling Program.

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