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SEO Meta Tags: The Ultimate List And Why They Are Important

11 min read

does not affect the web design in any way, it is only there for the search engine spiders to read. This code tells the search engine bots many details about the website. Providing accurate meta-data helps the search engine index and rank your website more accurately.

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Why Is Metadata Important?

Metadata can mean the difference between ranking or not ranking for a given keyword. If your competitors have good content, but they don’t fill out all their meta-data options, then you can still beat them. SEO is about building a stack of credibility factors with Google. Google has asked webmasters to provide this information, and they reward those who do so.

How Do I Edit Metadata?

If you are writing your code by hand, then there are many guides available online that provide the exact code snippets that you can include in the  section of your HTML documents.

Most website design and ecommerce platforms provide features that allow you to set the metadata for each page, product, and blog post within your website. Ecwid provides extensive options for editing meta-data and making other SEO customizations. Shopify has a more limited set of SEO options. WordPress has several well known plugins that provide the ability to edit meta-data.

Types of Metadata

Meta Title & Meta Description

The most famous types of metadata are the site title and description. Filling out these items for each page on your website is one of the simplest ways to improve your SEO rankings. Despite how easy it is to do, there are many sites that are not optimized in this manner.

The content of both of these meta tags is displayed in the SERPS. The page title meta tag is used for the anchor text of the link to your website in your search result listing. The description meta tag populates your site description in the search results. If you don’t have these meta tags filled out, Google will try to auto generate the information from your site content…if it bothers to rank your site at all.

Ecwid ecommerce - Google Search

That’s how Ecwid Ecommerce meta title and meta description look in Google SERP

Title tags should be no more than 60 characters long, and should include the keyword for the page. Write a compelling site title that encourages the user to click on your listing. A title meta-tag looks like this:

This Is An Example of A Website Title Tag

Description tags should be between 140 and 160 characters long. The keyword should be used naturally in the first sentence. If you do not write a high quality description Google will disregard it and try to auto-generate a better one. A description tag looks like this:

Keywords meta tag

There used to be a meta tag that listed the keywords associated with the page. This meta tag has been discontinued as a ranking factor by Google for over a decade. All other major search engines have also published statements disavowing the use of the keywords meta tag. While you will not be penalized for using this tag, it would be a waste of time and effort to do so.

The Robots meta tag

Robots meta tags are different than the robots.txt file. Robots.txt tells the robots which pages they should crawl. Robot meta tags tell the robots which pages to index.

In most instances, you do want the robots to index the page. Therefore, the default value for the robots meta tag is, “index, follow”. However, the values can be changed to “noindex, nofollow” on specific pages that we do not want listed in search results.

The robots meta tag looks like this:

Meta tags for outbound links

There are a few markup tags for outbound links, but these are a bit different than the rest of the meta tags. Instead of being included in the  section of  the HTML page, these tags are added to the link markup.

The rel markup tag for outbound links has three possible values; sponsored, ugc (user generated content), and nofollow. A link can contain multiple rel values. Google has published a guide to these meta tags titled, “Qualify Your Outbound Links to Google”.

Meta Viewport

The viewport meta tag is very important because it tells the search engines that your site is mobile friendly. Without this meta tag, your website will not show up in mobile search results.

A viewport meta tag looks like this:

Web.dev has published the definitive article on this topic, titled “Responsive Web Design Basics”. Most web design and ecommerce platforms will automatically set this meta tag for you, and will also have already applied responsive CSS code to their visual designs. If you are coding from scratch or just want to understand the nuts and bolts of the matter, this guide is for you.

Social Media Meta Tags

These meta tags control the way your links are displayed on social media sites. You can control your site title, description, featured image, and more. Open Graph is the predominant form of social media metadata, but schema data is used to provide similar functionality for social platforms not supported by Open Graph.

Open Graph Markup

Open graph meta tags were created by Facebook, but they are also used by Twitter. You will use multiple Open Graph meta tags to define the display properties of your links on Facebook. You can apply OG meta tags to pages and images.

Twitter Card Markup

Twitter also uses Open Graph meta tags to control the way links are displayed on its platform. The values are different from the Facebook OG tags, so you must define the values for both sites. Twitter OG values can only be applied to pages.

Schema for Linkedin, Google+ & Pinterest

While schema is normally served in a JSON file, there is some schema markup that can be added to the  section of an HTML page. These tags can be used to define the way links are displayed on social media platforms that do not use the OG protocol.

Other Types of Metadata

There are many other types of obscure metadata that can be used within the  section of your website and occasionally within the HTML body. Google publishes a list of all of the currently recognized forms of meta tags and their possible values. The list is titled “Meta and Inline Tags”.

Schema Markup As Metadata

Schema markup is a more recent development than metadata. It serves the same purpose, however. Both metadata and schema markup serve data to search engine spiders in order to help them more accurately crawl, index, and rank websites.

There are many different types of schema markup, and several methods of delivering schema data. While there are not many meta tags to choose from, the sheer variety of schema markup can often be overwhelming to people who are learning to use it.

While almost all website builder and ecommerce platforms provide ways to edit your meta tags, implementation of schema data editing is patchy at best. Some platforms auto-create schema data, others allow you editing options, and the vast majority simply ignore schema data all together.

Adding schema data to your site can provide you with a huge competitive advantage. Many websites are still un-optimized according to the older meta tag technology standards. If you make sure your meta tags are properly customized and also implement schema data, you will blow your competition out of the water!

First, you need to review the different types of schema data and decide which ones you want to include in your site. Then you need to collect the data necessary to fill out the values. Once you have done this preparation you can use a schema generator tool to produce your JSON-LD file.

Once you have generated your schema data you need to test it with a schema validator tool.

SEMRush has produced a detailed guide called “What Is Schema? Beginner’s Guide to Structured Data”. This guide covers the main types of schema markup, and provides links to multiple tools to both generate and validate your schema markup. Schema data in JSON-LD format can be added to the  section of the website or used throughout the body section of the HTML.

Do you want to learn more about SEO for online stores?

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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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