When it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), there is a ton that goes on behind the scenes in your website that affects how highly Google and other search engines rank your website in search results, as well as how people interact with your website when they see it come up in search results. Today, we’re going to look at a specific category of SEO work—meta tags.
Do meta tags affect where your site ranks in search results?
While meta tags once were able to boost your website’s rankings in search results, Google has said that they no longer do. However, if used incorrectly, they can lower where you stand on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
That may sound discouraging if you were considering spending some time to work on your meta tags, but they still do have a use. If you use them in the right way, then it can affect how often people click on your website in the search results. And used correctly, you won’t be penalized by Google. So, if you get meta tags down, you can make your website more attractive to searchers without Google thinking you’re trying to cheat by using meta tags.
So, what do meta tags do for you?
Google isn’t completely transparent about how SEO affects their SERPs, as they don’t want to give away their proprietary formula. However, experts have run tons of tests to get a glimpse into how different SEO tactics can positively or negatively affect a website in terms of success on Google search results. It’s been found that Google may use meta tags in combination with other factors to classify information (webpages). So, when you search for “bicycles,” the meta tags of the webpages you see come up may be affecting why those pages were chosen as the most relevant to your search.
Meta tags are also used to display the most relevant information about those pages under the page title. If you search “how much to water roses,” a webpage could show up that has information about how much to water all kinds of different flowers on it. But with the right meta tags, the description under the webpage title will show the most relevant snippet of text from the section about how much water roses need. This helps increase your webpage’s click-through rate (CTR) because it’s showing searchers that your website has the information they are looking for.
Meta description best practices
When you include a meta description for a webpage, you may expect it to appear under your webpage title in the search results. It sometimes will, but as discussed in the previous section, Google will choose the most relevant snippet to show searchers. So, if Google doesn’t know much about your site, then it will use the meta description more often. The meta description is also helpful for Google itself. The algorithm uses it to learn the overview of what a webpage is about, so it can help Google learn about your site to show it to the best possible searchers. With this in mind, you should write meta descriptions knowing that both people and machines will be reading them
- Keep sentences short and to the point. This helps machines to understand them and people skim them.
- Try not to use phrases that aren’t on the webpage. Giving an overview that summarizes the content without using phrases that are actually on the page will confuse Google.
- Make unique meta descriptions and title tags for each webpage. Just like how to duplicate text on multiple pages hurts the way Google views your site, so do duplicate meta descriptions and title tags.
RCC Web Media | Expert SEO & more for small businesses
If you’ve started to delve into meta tags for your SEO work, then you know that SEO is not something you just jump into. It’s a complicated field that takes a lot of studying and practice to understand and use effectively. If it weren’t already overwhelming enough, it’s a field that is constantly improving upon itself as search engines get better at showing people exactly what they are looking to find. If it feels like a lot to keep up with, you’re not alone. Unless you can devote a ton of time to working on it, you’re likely leaving potential gains from SEO on the table.
As a small business owner, it’s tough to spend that much time in one area. That’s where the experts at RCC Web Media come in. We are highly experienced in SEO and we stay up-to-date with the field’s best practices as they are developed. This allows us to make a real, positive difference in your website’s SEO. This means higher rankings on Google and other search engines, and higher CTRs on your pages that drive more traffic to your site and more customers to your business. Plus, we provide other expert digital marketing services as well:
- eCommerce Website Management
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads
- Video Creation
- Content and Blog Writing
- Web Design and Development
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Services
- Social Media Management
- Email Marketing
- And much more!
If you want to start seeing results from your website, like getting more high-quality sales leads, then give us a call today at (888) 565-7102 or send in an online contact form to have all of your questions answered!