Did you ever wonder how Google actually goes about ranking the content you put up? Well a gigantic factor is the meta tags you use and if you don’t set them up correctly, it can affect your ranking. So let’s make sure that doesn’t happen and you do it right!
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.
There are 4 types of meta tags you need to know about:
1) The meta title:
Basically if you write an article or blog, the title itself is the meta title.
2) The meta description:
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. It is also known as “snippets”.
3) The permalink tag.
Whenever you write a title, that title is typically turned into a link and another name for that link is the permalink. This is also commonly used by search engines to help identify a site’s content.
4) The meta keywords.
Meta keywords are simply keywords you insert into every page or post you write to basically tell Google “Hey, rank me for these keywords!”.
These 3 things are part of the whole meta description.
And when Google’s spiders land on your page, depending on what type of information they find on one or more articles for these 3 things, it CAN play a large part in how your articles rank.
An example of how one of my websites publicly shows 3 meta tags being used:
As you can see, when someone searches up the term “Work at Home EDU”, and my article appears, certain parts of my meta description appear BOLD in the search results and this is important for both ranking and getting people to click on the article (and it’s something you need to know to make the most of it).
A quick word about meta keywords (they don’t matter):
There are very complicated ranking factors that Google has, and not one of them gives keyword tags a lot of weight. So don’t worry about using them.
You can enter as many keywords as you want when writing an article and hope that Google will rank it, but in the end, they will use the 3 other meta descriptions you have up and the quality of your content to determine the ranking it has (as well as these 5 Google ranking factors).
So once again, don’t worry about keyword tags at all. In my cases, I always leave them blank.
How to correctly set up your other 3 meta tags (every time):
These 2 things will easily allow you to enter in your 3 meta tags.
- For meta titles (1), you will enter the title, and it will become the permalink (2).
- For the meta description (3), you will just fill it in on a box underneath your article.
And the rest kind of takes care of itself.
I recommend that you find low competition keywords for your title when writing it to make sure you get better exposure of that, and while the permalink will be filled in, make sure your meta description is short and basically explains what the title (thesis) or your article will be.
These things will ensure better ranking for your page overall.
What if you don’t have a WordPress website?
Well for starters I’d recommend moving to it since Google likes WordPress sites and this process is easier then. But if you’re in a position where you can’t move then there are other ways to set this up correctly:
Every time you write a title for a page, that will automatically be seen as a meta title for Google, so that’s handled.
If you write a simple 1-2 paragraph summary of your article, it will likely be picked up by Google as the meta description and used to appear publicly as the “snippet”.
As for permalink, while it is important that your meta title and permalink match, you may find yourself sometimes having to change the title of your article (because it might suck and be required to have more clickbait to attract more users), and if you do change the title, do NOT change the permalink.
Note: Meta tags will not guarantee high ranking in Google (but they will help).
Think of the 3 meta tags I said were important just now as a simple way to let Google know what your page is about. The easier you make for Google to rank your page and give it these 3 pieces of meta info, the better it’ll be.
But this will apply for starters and in order to rank better on and on the first page of Google, you’ll want to read about the tips I provide on that subject in that link.
6 important factors that will help your website rank better (meta tags aside):
- Mobile friendly sites (make sure your site is mobile friendly!).
- SSL (secure websites).
- Using low competition keywords in your title.
- Your website authority.
- Your site’s speed.
- Your content quality.
These would be what I’d mainly focus on.
Keep in mind that meta tags are easy to set up.
Especially when you get used to doing it! What most people need to understand though is that meta tags are not the end all when it comes to ranking, but are INITIALLY good for it and that’s what makes them important.
Focus on the other factors I mentioned above if you wish to see better rankings for your site on Google!