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The 10 Most Important Meta Tags and HTML Elements You Should Know for SEO 

The 10 Most Important Meta Tags and HTML Elements You Should Know for SEO 

Improve your online identity and the visibility of your website with the help of meta tags and HTML elements. In this article, we will discuss how to make our search snippets more alluring to our target audiences.

Since the origin of search engines, HTML meta tags have been a crucial part of SEO. They are still relevant in 2024.

Considering that you have excellent and engaging content on your website, the layout of your webpages is aesthetic, and you have robust backlinks to the website,. Still, you need HTML meta tags to reach your target audience.

Also, the meta tags are of no use if the webpages don’t have good content, layout, and backlinks.

What do industry experts say about HTML meta tags?

“Meta tags are important because they impact how your site appears in the SERPs [Search Engine Results Pages] and how many people will be inclined to click through to your website. They will therefore impact your traffic and engagement rates, which can impact your SEO and rankings. Meta tags are an important part of a solid SEO strategy.” BrightEdge

“Good writing and configuration of meta tags can help robots to have a better understanding of the content of each page of your website, so that you are more likely to rank higher in the SERPs… Additionally, meta tags can offer additional and quality information to the users in order to achieve more clicks and a higher CTR [Click Through Rate] in the searches, as well as to offer them a better experience within the website.” HubSpot

“Meta tags are a great way for webmasters to provide search engines with information about their sites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest.” Rand Fishkin, Co-founder of Moz, Moz Blog

“Meta tags are important because they impact how your site appears in the SERPs [search engine results pages].”

Neil Patel, Co-founder of Neil Patel Digital Neil Patel Blog

“Google uses the meta description to understand more about the content of your page.”

John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google Google Search Central Blog

“Your meta description is the first thing that people see when your page appears in Google’s search results.”

Brian Dean, Founder of Backlinko Backlinko Blog

“By crafting effective meta tags, you can influence the click-through rate (CTR) of your search listings.”

Aleyda Solis, International SEO Consultant Aleyda Solis Blog

These quotes underscore the importance of meta tags in SEO and how they can positively impact a website’s search engine ranking and visibility by providing essential information to search engines about the content and context of the pages, thereby improving the chances of appearing in relevant search results.

Understanding the role of meta tags in SEO, let’s dive into the types of meta tags.

Title Tags

Title tags are short snippets of text you see in your search results as clickable links. The html element <title> is used to craft the title tag.

For example, if the title of your article is “The Best SEO Practices in 2024,” then the title tag will be as follows:

<title>The Best SEO Practices in 2024</title>

The title tags are placed in the head section of your webpage’s html code. They appear at various places, like

SERP (Search Engine Result Pages): Use as a clickable headline on your webpage in search results.

Browser Tabs: This is the title displayed on the browser tab for your website.

Social media sharing: In case you haven’t specified any social media tags, the title tag is used as the title when the link to your webpage is shared.

The Importance of Title Tags for SEO

Relevance: Your title tags tell about the theme and topic of your webpage. The use of relevant keywords helps the search engine cater to your webpage for a targeted audience.

Click Through Rate: If your title tag is clear and compelling, it increases the rate of clicks by your target audience, even if it is not ranking on search engines.

How do you create effective SEO title tags?

Target the right keyword: Research user intent and include relevant keywords in the title tag. Avoid keyword stuffing and focus on inserting keywords in a natural way.

Keep it concise: The Google search engine truncates longer titles, so try to keep the title around 60–70 characters.

Focus on clarity: Give the user absolute clarity about what your webpage is about.

Focus on the value proposition: Make your webpage as valuable for the user as possible.Brand recognition: Include your brand name at the end of the title tag.

Meta Description Tag

Like the title tag, the meta description is also placed in the head section of the webpage html code. Most of the time, it is visible just below the title tag in SERPs.

An example of a meta description is as follows:

<meta name=”description” content= “The html tags are indirectly responsible for the ranking of your webpages in SERP. In this article, we will discuss the most important meta tags in SEO.”/>

So how do the meta descriptions work? The meta description gives a glimpse of the content of your webpage. They help persuade the audience to click on the link to your webpage and increase the CTR.

Why are meta descriptions important for SEO?

Increased Click-Through Rates (CTR): If your meta description is engaging and informative, it can work like an advertisement for your webpage. It can grab the user’s attention, convince the audience to take a look at your webpage, and make them click on your links over those of other competitors.

You can increase the click-through rate (CTR) by effectively conveying the value of opening your webpages through the meta description.

Improved Relevancy: Search engines detect and highlight keywords from users search queries in the meta description. This supports the relevancy of your page to the targeted audience and their specific needs.

Enhanced Brand Awareness: The meta description gives you the chance to highlight your brand. This gives you the opportunity to convey your unique selling proposition to the user and increase your brand awareness among the target audience.

How do you create an effective meta description?

Focus on User Intent: Your complete focus must be to understand what the user actually wants from his search query. Are they looking for comparisons between products, do they want to buy something, or are they just looking for information?

Target Relevant Keywords: Research the user intent and accordingly include keywords in your meta description. Include the keywords naturally, and avoid keyword stuffing in the description.

Keep it Concise and Clear: Write the meta description within the limit of 155 characters because longer descriptions are truncated by the search engine. It should convey the value of your content in a precise and simple form.

Write a Compelling Call to Action: Along with conveying the value of your content, also urge the user to take action, like clicking on the link, etc. You can effectively use call-to-actions like, learn more, order now, read now, click to read more, etc.Maintain Accuracy: Make sure that your meta description is a reflection of the webpage content. Any incongruency can lead to misleading the user and negatively impact the ranking of your webpage by increasing bounce rates.

Heading Tags (H1-H6)

Heading tags, also known as header tags, are the basic unit of your webpage structure. They differentiate one section of the webpage from another.

They work as headings on the webpage, which further helps in improving the readability of your content. It bundles the content into chunks of information, making the reading experience smooth and fluid.

It also improves your SEO efforts by giving a clear picture of the content hierarchy and key themes of your webpage to your audience.

Let’s break down the use of heading tags.

H1 Tags: This is the most important heading tag on your webpage. It is about the topic of the webpage, and it should be simple, clear, and concise to avoid any confusion.

H2 Tags: This header tag helps to divide your content into subtopics and the key areas you want to highlight.

H3 Tags: This header tag gives further depth to your content. It is used to highlight specific key points in the subtopics mentioned in the H2 tags.

H4-H6 Tags: These tags are exceptionally used to add extra layers to your content. You must avoid using them generally because they overwhelm the reader with too many nested headers.

Benefits of Header Tags

Improved Scannability: The headings allow the reader to scan your content swiftly and understand the key points.

Enhanced User Experience: It improves the user experience by saving their time to understand the gist of your content and giving them absolute clarity. 

Increased Engagement: The added simplicity, clarity, and fluidity in content provided by header tags make it engaging for the reader. It not only enhances the user experience but also makes the content more enjoyable for the reader.

How to write effective heading tags?

H1 Tags: There should be only one H1 tag on the webpage. Include relevant keywords in the H1 tag.

Clear Hierarchy: There should be a logical flow in your heading tags. H3 must logically follow H2, and H2 must flow out of H1.

Keyword Integration: Though it is not mandatory, including your targeting keyword in heading tags can improve your SEO.

Focus on Readability: Each heading must reflect the content below it. It must be simple, clear, and concise. Also, avoid keyword stuffing.

Natural Language: Use natural language in the heading for better comprehension.

Mobile-Friendly: Make sure your content structure is easily readable on all sizes of screens.

Image Alt Tag

The image alt tag is used to add a description to your images on the webpage. Images play a vital role in making your content more engaging and enjoyable for users.

Benefits of Using an Image Alt Tag:

Improved image indexing: Search engines cannot see pictures like humans do; they identify a picture by the contextual alt text that describes the image. It improves the ranking chances of the image.

Improved Ranking Potential: It is not confirmed yet, but including the targeted keywords in alt text can improve your SEO. Make sure the alt text is relevant to the image and you are not stuffing keywords.

Better User Experience: In case the image fails to upload, with the help of alt text, the user understands the relevance of the image, which is convenient for the user.

Assistive Technologies: A visually impaired audience cannot see the content and hence depends on the audio description of your webpage. Alt text makes it easier for them to understand your images.

Cognitive Differences: Users with cognitive disabilities rely on the alt text to understand the meaning of your image. 

How to Write Effective Alt Text

Be precise and descriptive: The image description must be clear and vivid.

Use Relevant Keywords: Keyword stuffing is bad, but a relevant description for your targeted keywords can improve your SEO.

Keep it Short: Screen readers have limitations, so keep it under 20 words to convey your complete message.

Start with the Main Subject: Begin the description with the most important information about the image.Avoid Phrases Like “Image Of”: The screen reader will read the “image of” phrase twice if you include it in the description. To avoid redundancy, skip the phrase in the alt text.

Robot Meta Tags

The moment our website is live, there is a possibility that search engines will crawl and index all our webpages. And there are webpages, like backend pages, that we don’t want to be indexed by search engines. 

To prevent the search engine from indexing such pages, we used robot meta tags.

There are two ways to prevent search engines from indexing the webpages.

1. Robots.txt: This is a file on your website that gives instructions to the crawling bots regarding the indexing of the webpages.

2. Meta Robot tags: This is an HTML code that gives detailed information to the search engine regarding how a webpage must be handled by it.

Benefits of Robot Meta Tags:

Prevent the indexing of low-value pages: You don’t want every page of your website to be highlighted in search results. For example, thank-you pages, thin content, login portals, duplicate pages, etc. It saves the crawling resources of the search engine and keeps your website focused.

Control content display in SERPs: With the help of meta tags, you can influence how snippets of your content are displayed in search results. You can also prevent the display of a particular page’s meta, even if the page is indexed.

Improve crawling efficiency: By using instructions like no follow, you can save time and resources for crawlers by preventing them from indexing undesirable pages.

What are the instructions used in Robot Meta Tags?

Index: Allow crawlers to index webpages and show them in SERPs.

No Index: Prevent crawlers from indexing webpages and hide them in SERPs.

Follow: Instruct the search engine to follow links found on the page.No Follow: Instruct search engines not to follow links found on the page.

Canonical Tags

The canonical tags, also known as “rel=canonical,” are a snippet of html code used in the head section of the webpage.

The canonical tags are used to tell the search engine which page you consider original and which one is a duplicate or has similar content. So, the search engine will index the original one and show it to the users.

The tag is used when multiple pages with different urls are using similar content. 

Benefits of Canonical Tags for SEO:

Canonical tags prevent duplication of content because they cause the following harm:

Confused search engines: Search engines can find it hard to decide which content is more relevant, which may reduce the possibility of ranking both webpages.

Diluted link equity: Also known as PageRank is the website’s value passed through backlinks. With duplication, the link value weakens, further reducing the SEO power of each page.Poor user experience: Users may visit the undesirable version of your content, which may be less impactful and hence cause a poor user experience.

Schema Markup

Schema Markup is a standard code that you add to your webpages to give search engines clear information about your content.

It helps the search engine understand your content better and showcase it in the SERPs.

What are the benefits of Schema Markups?

Enchanced Search Results: It improves how your website is displayed in the SERPs. Search engines collect relevant data and create rich snippets that include additional details like star ratings, services, or product reviews, author information, events, etc. The snippet helps to grab user attention and increase the chances of a click-through rate.

Improved Search Relevance: It helps the search engine understand your content better and match it to the user’s search queries. This helps your website appear for a wider range of keywords, even if those keywords are not specifically mentioned in your website.

Increased User Engagement: The rich snippet can offer a lot of information to the user at a short glance in the search results. This helps users make quick decisions and increases the chances of clicking on your website links.

How Does Schema Markup Work?

Schema Markup uses a number of tags developed by Schema.org, which is a collaborative work of various search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. These tags are placed in your website’s HTML code and offer particular details about your content.

There are a number of ways to apply schema markups:

JSON-LD: Most popular format. Contain a script block with schema data in your HTML code.

Microdata: In this method, you directly place schema markup in your HTML tags using particular attributes.

RDFa: It is older method that uses RDF attributes inside your HTML to specify schema markup.

Types of Schema Markups

Local Business: Provide details like the address of the local business, opening hours, customer reviews, etc.

Products: Provide details of brands, reviews, ratings, price, etc.

Articles: Specify details like publication date, authors, and article category.

Events: Highlight details like description, location, event dates, etc.Recipes: It offer details like dietary restrictions, ingredients, and cooking time.

Social Media Meta Tags

Social media meta tags are a short set of instructions for social media channels. The snippet of code tells the channel what information to show when your content is shared. The information may include a title, image, description, etc. that appear in the posts on social media.

What are the benefits of Social Media Meta Tags:

Increased Social Sharing: Enticing social media previews compels users to share your content, increasing your audience reach. 

Improved Brand Awareness: More reach will lead to more awareness about your brand and establish you as an authority in your field.

More Website Traffic: More reach and more awareness increase traffic to your website.

Key social media tags:

Two prime meta tags are used on social media platforms.

Open Graph (OG) Tags: These tags give you more influence over how your content will appear on social media platforms. For example,

og: title: The title shown on social media posts.

og: description: A brief description of your content to entice more users to click.

og:image: The image that will be shown besides your content. Use a visually appealing image that is relevant to your content. 

og:type: The content type (blog post, product, article, etc.)

Twitter Cards: They define how the content is displayed in tweets.For example,

twitter:card: Define the type of card used (summary card, summary card with large image).

twitter:title: The title displayed in your tweet.

twitter:description: The description piece for the tweet.

twitter:image: The image that appears with the tweet.

HTML Semantic Tags

The HTML Semantic Tags specify the meaning and objective of the content they enclose. For example, if you consider your webpage a document, then the semantic tags are the headings, subheadings, and sections of the document. 

This helps the search engines and the user understand the information hierarchy of your webpage.

Here are some of the general semantic tags and their uses:

<header>: It encloses the top section of the page and generally contains introductory content,logos, and a navigation menu.

<nav>: It encloses a navigation section that contains links to other sections of the website.

<article>: It is for articles and blog posts.

<section>: It combines content that is similar, like product categories on e-commerce sites.

<aside>: It specifies content that is on the side of the main content and closely related to it, like a widget or sidebars.

<h1> to <h6>: It denotes the importance of headings in sequence, where h1 is the most important tag.

Benefits of HTML Semantic Tags

Enhanced Clarity: The tags give absolute clarity to the search engines, making it easier for them to match your pages with the user queries.

Improved Relevancy: By specifying each and every section of your content, the tags help search engines interpret which part is more suitable for a particular user query.

Richer Snippets: The tags structure your webpage content properly, and hence the possibility of your website qualifying for rich snippets increases. This further increases the click-through rate.Accessibility Boost: With the help of tags, the user with physical disabilities uses the screen reader to better interpret the content of your webpages.

Nofollow Attributes

When you apply the nofollow attribute to a link, you are instructing the search engine not to follow that link. You can implement it with HTML code. Here is how it is done:

rel=”nofollow”: This piece of code inside the anchor tag means a nofollow link.

When you apply the code, you give the search engine the following instructions:

Don’t crawl the link page.

Do not pass PageRank.

You must apply the nofollow attribute in the following cases:

1. In the case of combating spammy links.

2. To prevent paid links on your website that can be penalised by the search engines.

3. Affiliate links that are not following search engine guidelines.

4. Social media links.

Conclusion

HTML tags play a vital role in SEO. HTML is the base of every website. That’s why it should not be ignored in on-page SEO.

Sometimes you ignore the basics, and search engines fail to properly read your content. It further affects your ranking on the SERPs.

So, it is in the best interest of on-page SEO to use the HTML tags and use them precisely. With advancements in the digital landscape, new HTML tags are introduced. As a responsible SEO expert, you must keep yourself updated and use them wisely.

Author: FreakySEO

FreakySEO is all about the list of great tools, tips and tricks to create ideas, strategies and quality content.

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