Why Are Meta Tags Important For Your Site? And How do You Set Them up Correctly?

Did you ever wonder how Google actually goes about ranking the content you put up? Well a gigantic factor is the meta tags it finds on your site. 

What are meta tags? 

Simply put, they are short pieces of information on your page that tells Google what your page is about and helps it rank your site according to that information.

If you have ever wondered how Google is so good at ranking content that is relevant to what people type and that many times, whatever you search for on Google has results that have bold words, well that’s an example of meta tags in action and the sites that appear from the searches that you do, did it right. 

Now these can be broken down into the following:

  • The title: Basically if you write an article or blog, the title itself can be a tag.
  • The permalink: Generally whatever title you write will create a corresponding permalink that duplicates it.
  • The description of your article: This is what appears on search engine results. When you type in something, get the results and it has a short description, that’s an example of it.

These 3 things are part of the whole meta description of your page/s and when Google’s spiders land on your page, depending on what type of information they find on one or more articles, that description you create will play a large part in how and where they rank your site for. 

Here is an example of a blog post of mine that is on the first page and where these 3 elements appear:

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Now there is another element I purposely left out and it is…

Keyword tags. These are basically an index of keywords you add depending on what type of website platform you have so that when Google finds you page, you are basically giving it a list of terms you want it to rank your site for.

This extra feature can commonly be associated as being part of the overall meta description and in certain ways it is, but in my experience it doesn’t play as much of a major role as the other 3.

And ironically, despite part of the name being identical, the overall meta description/tags in general are more so used to describe the 3 elements above more so than this 4th one itself. 

However, I did not include this on the list above because I don’t actually use it.

Why? Well I first have to explain how to set up the first 3 elements correctly and then I’ll explain why I don’t worry about the optional 4th one. 

How to ensure you have the 3 important elements set up:

The easiest way to do this is to have a WordPress site and the following plugin installed: All in One SEO. 

By having a WordPress site, each time you write a new title, the permalink will automatically fill in, completing 2 of the 3 elements above.

And your first paragraph in each article/blog you write will make up the description and that will be saved by the All in One SEO and appear on Google, which will fill in the 3rd most important element. 

For example, as I type this article, all 3 elements have been filled in without me having to worry about it (And this goes for every new blog post that I write). With a combination of WordPress and that plugin, this stuff is really automated so you don’t have to micromanage each new article/blog you write or enter in a new code, it is automatically filled in thanks to these things. 

Note: If you also install this plugin, you may see a bunch of check boxes and empty areas which you think you may need to fill in, don’t, let the automation of the All in One SEO do things automatically.

Now back to the reason I don’t use the 4th element:

The biggest reason is that by filling in the first 3, I basically already complete all that is necessary for Google to identify the main keywords and rank them. 

The extra feature of keyword tags themselves doesn’t really add much to what I completed and in some cases, I have been told by someone who knows more about SEO than I do that it can impede your results.

How then do you ask will Google rank your page? Well it’ll do so based on the information the other meta tags already provided AND LSI

And that is going to be enough. Furthermore, you can only do so much to tell Google what you wish them to rank you for, but in the end, they don’t actually “gift” it to you.

Important: The meta tags don’t take your site all the way to the top spot, but they do help index the site better.

If all you had to do to rank on the first page was just fill in those 3 elements above, then this would cause massive abuse. In fact, this is the way it used to be until Google made some extreme changes so that just by doing this little thing, people couldn’t so easily rank so high and do nothing in the process.

If this doesn’t get your site to the top spots, what does?

2 things: 

Low competition keywords and content authority. 

Well now it’s 3 if you add: Meta tags (You may as well also call it description). 

Sites which have a great deal of content, chase keywords with low enough competition AND identify their content to Google easily through the meta description are very likely to rank very higher.

And my sites, including this one have been following this process over the years and have reached MANY top spots. Regardless of what new rules Google puts out for SEO, those 3 things will always make your site have a much greater advantage vs others that don’t do that.

Making sure your site does “everything right” for maximum SEO benefits:

Setting up the meta tags is easy if you follow the strategy I indicated above. People may think of this as being a technical aspect of SEO and it can be without a WordPress site, but with it, you don’t have to worry about that. 

What is tough is writing the content and in some cases, finding the keywords, but that’s the price of ranking high on Google. 

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One final note, if you are the type of person who uses a different website platform to make articles, know that most of them with the exception of HTML sites allow for the same type of automation as the All in One SEO plugin does in a WordPress site, however in the end, I will always recommend you use that platform to make your pages than any other.

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10 Comments

  1. Ishan Iyer

    I’m a bit confused with regards to the low competition keywords and the all in one SEO plugin though. Are you saying that if you have an all in one SEO plugin, you do not need to be targeting low competition keywords? Isn’t the targeting of low competition keywords what helps you drive more traffic to your site when first starting out?

    • Vitaliy

      You do need to target keywords Ishan. but you need to target them inside your blog posts and pages, NOT your All in One SEO plugin. I hope that answers it.

  2. Ed

    The info on tags was very helpful. I use WP but have found the plug-in SEO YOAST isvery helpful in getting the right info that Google likes on a page.

    I have not used tags a lot (mostly keywords) but I am going to start now and see if it improves my ranking.

    Thanks for the info.

    • Vitaliy

      I think you misunderstood Ed, tags are keywords and they are in your content. I basically said that you shouldn’t add them if there is a feature in your plugin that allows it and to let Google rank it.

  3. Larry

    Thanks Vitaliy. Extremely helpful to know how these are, say, rated by Google in their rankings. And it’s also good to know Google doesn’t focus exclusively on these but also on content authority.

    I also use All-In-One SEO and there are about 5 other indices (Robots Meta NOINDEX, Robots Meta NOFOLLOW, etc.) with check boxes beside them that I never check off on posts. Are these valuable? If we are looking to rank should we pay attention to these?

    Great post.

    • Vitaliy

      Those are only valuable if you don’t want the post to get indexed by Google Larry and I would personally leave them alone. The only cases in which you would want to use those is if you want to hide a page from Google’s eyes and do things on it that Google may not like (add too many links, copy another post of yours, ect…).

      In those cases, making the pages hidden via those options makes sense, but in most cases, like I said, leave it alone.

  4. Cedric H.

    Meta tags have always confused me and you did a good job writing an article that I was able to understand. I just finished my first wordpress site and I’m adding the all in one seo plug-in tonight. This will save me some time and hopefully get me the results needed. Will I need to upgrade the plug in?

  5. Rob

    Very interesting article! I have been using the All In One SEO tool on my website since I started it and yes, it is nice to not have to worry about setting up your meta tags by using this plugin. For the most part, I agree with your theory on not overly using keyword tags. I personally use them but only so I can track the performance of my keywords within my posts because I tend to forget otherwise. Thanks for the better understanding of meta tags!

    • Vitaliy

      Unless I missed a key feature of the All in One SEO, I don’t think it records the performance of keywords Rob. If you want that information, you can get that from Webmaster Tools. It’ll tell you that info, from an estimate.

      If you do PPC, you also have the option to track progress, but none of those things have to do with the All in One SEO plugin.

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