What Are Meta Tags in SEO? All Meta Tags Explained

Search engine optimization is the marketing practice to optimize content and websites to improve their online visibility and boost their search engine rankings. It comprises various digital marketing tactics and strategies, SEO meta tags being one of them.

Meta tags are details added to the HTML document, which are not visible to users but provide necessary information to search engines in the backend. We add meta tags in the <head> section of the HTML document. 

HTML meta tags are crucial components to ensure the success of an SEO campaign. If used the right way, they communicate the following information to search engines:

  • What a web page is about
  • Who must see the page
  • How to read the page

Let’s dive deeper into search engine optimization meta tags and their importance for SEO. 

What are SEO Meta Tags?

An SEO meta tag provides information to search engines regarding a web page and its content. It is a crucial factor that affects how search engines read and see a website. 

Meta tags enable search engines to evaluate the content of a web page by providing necessary data about it. We add meta tags in the <head> section of an HTML document, and we must optimize them to allow search engines to index the page. Moreover, meta tags can impact the click-through rate (CTR). 

In other terms, meta tags are like snippets of HTML code crawled by search engines. They can influence the online visibility of web pages on search result pages.

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Here’s one example of how to use meta tags for search engine optimization:

<!DOCTYPE html>

<meta name=”description” content=”Turn the algorithm into a friend. Make your business visible online with 55+ tools for SEO, PPC, content, social media, competitive research, and more.”>


This is how meta description will look in search engine result pages:

meta description

Also Read: What is Local SEO? Benefits, Ranking Factors, Process

Most Important Meta Tags for SEO

The following are the seven most important meta tags for search engine optimization and the best practices to follow while writing these tags:

  1. Meta Title Tag
  2. Meta Description Tag
  3. Meta Header Tag
  4. Meta Viewport
  5. Meta Robots
  6. Meta Canonical Tag
  7. Meta Charset Tag

1. Meta Title Tag

The <title> tag is the main heading, or headline, of the web page or content that appears as a clickable title in the SERPs. We also see these titles in browsers and social networks. 

For example, <title> 7 Mot Important Meta Tags in SEO</title>

Title tag is among the most crucial meta tags in HTML for SEO and a key search engine ranking factor that determines the ranking of your page in SERPs. Hence, your title tag must be clear, relevant, and concise, providing a comprehensive idea of what to expect from the content. Also, it must include the target keyword to boost your ranking. 

An optimized and clear title tells users and search engines what the page is about. So, avoid writing a confusing title. 

Best Practices to Write Title Tags

  • Include the primary keyword in the title
  • Be concise and brief yet descriptive
  • The title should accurately describe the page content
  • Create a unique title for each page
  • Match the title with the search intent
  • Write an original and attractive title to engage the audience and increase the CTR
  • Avoid vague language
  • Keep it under 60 characters 
  • The title should be click-worthy, not clickbait
  • Do not repeat or stuff keywords
  • Use the brand name in the title if possible

2. Meta Description Tag

A meta description is a key element in web development and search engine optimization. It is included in the <head> tag of the web page and commonly appears in SERPs under the page title and URL. It occupies the largest action in search engine results, grabbing the attention of users and compelling them to click on the site. Hence, your meta description must be comprehensive, interesting, and clear.

Meta descriptions are like a brief summary of the page or its content, helping search engines and users to understand what the content is about. Here’s what a meta description looks like:

meta tags

You can either craft a creative meta description yourself or use SEO meta tags generator but make sure it contains relevant keywords. Search engines mosty highlight key search terms or phrases to enable users to understand what the page is about. This makes you stand out and tells searchers what they will find on your page.

If the page aligns with the description and meets user expectations, it can increase the number of clicks and CTR while decreasing the bounce rates. Hence, keep your meta description realistic and according to the content. So, if you want to boost your rankings on SERPs and increase click-throughs, meta descriptions provide the best opportunity. You can boost your website’s ranking with the help of online SEO course by WsCube Tech.

Best Practices to Write Meta Description Tags

  • Craft unique and interesting description
  • Summarize the content of the page accurately
  • Include a relevant keyword, but make sure it appears naturally in the sentence.
  • Don’t stuff keywords
  • Your description shouldn’t be just a combination of keywords and random phrases
  • Keep it original and click-worthy
  • It should be between 150-160 characters 
  • Use call-to-action, additional hints, or unique propositions to let users know what to expect

Also Read: What is SERP? Full Form, Meaning, Features

3. Meta Header Tag

Meta heading tags are crucial HTML components used to structure and format content. These tags (H1-H6) are important to identify headings and subheadings within content, differentiating them from the rest of the text. 

These headers are also critical SEO elements and are emphasized by marketers. Moreover, they allow search engines to determine the hierarchy of the page and relevance of the given information. 

Many consider that headings are not ranking factors but provide an architecture to the page, making them important meta tags for SEO. This makes it easier for users and search engines to read the content and find the details they are looking for.  

Best Practices to Write Header Tags

  • Headings should be relevant to the section described under each of them. 
  • Although header tags are not key ranking factors, search engines still consider them to assess the relevance and usefulness of the web page.
  • Avoid using header tags and keywords
  • Keep heading simple and readable
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4. Meta Viewport

The viewport tag is used to scale and display a web page on different devices and screen sizes. This tag looks something like this:

<meta name=”viewport” content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″/>

Here, “width=device-width” will ensure that the page adjusts the text and images according to the size of the screen in device-independent pixels, and “initial scale=1” is used to establish a 1:1 relationship between CSS pixels and device-independent pixels.

Adding a viewport tag is not challenging and doesn’t influence search engine ranking directly. However, it makes a huge difference when it comes to user experience. Out of all SEO meta tags, viewport is specifically crucial, considering various devices used by people and major shift toward mobile browsing. 

Also, this is one tag that will affect your users; thus, they will appreciate it. If you ignore the viewport tag, it will take a toll on your CTR and user engagement rates.

Best Practices to Write Meta Robots Tags

  • Use it for all web pages so they can adapt according to the device and screen size
  • Prefer using the ‘standard’ tag if you are not sure how to use this tag

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5. Meta Robots

The robots meta tag tells search engines if a particular page should be indexed or followed. Generally, the default values are index/follow. Also, it’s not mandatory to mention them in all cases. 

This SEO meta tag conveys to robots that the page needs to be indexed and can be followed. If noindex/nofollow values are mentioned, it means we don’t want search engines to index those pages for SERPs.

Here are the common robots tag instructions:

“index” tells to Index the page

“follow” indicates to follow the links

“noindex” is used to tell not to Index the page

“nofollow” is for not to follow the links

Best Practices to Write Meta Robots Tags

  • Meta robots tag must be used only to restrict the way search engines crawl a page
  • Close pages that will waste the crawl budget
  • Close unfinished or unnecessary pages with little value
  • Don’t block web pages that have meta robots tags in robot.txt
  • Don’t block important or valuable pages from indexing

Also Read: What Are LSI Keywords in SEO? Examples, Benefits, Use

6. Meta Canonical Tag

It is a known fact that one piece of information has various versions. Hence, we use the canonical tag, or “rel=canonical” tag, to designate the preferred version. They focus on the right URL, guiding crawlers toward the page that must be indexed for search engine rankings. 

Businesses and marketers use this meta tag in case of two identical pages or content to enable search engines and users to find the most important version of that page. 

We know that the purpose of meta tags in SEO is to optimize web pages and enhance user experience. The same is true for the canonical tag. It optimizes the page by resolving the issue of duplicate content. Also, it ensures that Google doesn’t penalize the website for duplicate content. You can master meta tags in SEO by enrolling in the best SEO course.

Duplicate content can negatively affect the credibility of a website and hurt SEO. When Google finds various versions of the same content, it believes that the company has intentionally created these versions to boost its search engine rankings. However, the canonical tag guides search engines and users to the right page. It is especially helpful when you create new pages and don’t want people to visit the old ones. 

Best SEO Practices to Write Canonical Tag

  • Used for pages with similar content 
  • If pages connected using the canonical tag are different, search engines will disregard the tag. 
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7. Meta Charset Tag

This tag is related to web development, ensuring that the website page has proper encoding. By setting the character encoding for a web page, it tells the browser how the text on the page must be displayed. 

By rendering the material correctly, the charset tag affects user experience and search engine crawling, which indirectly influences the SEO of the page. Out of hundreds of character sets, the following sets are the most common on the web:

  • UTF-8 – Character encoding for Unicode
  • ISO-8859-1 – Character encoding for the Latin alphabet

Best Practices to Write Charset Tag

  • Use UTF-8 wherever possible
  • Use the tag on all pages
  • Ensure the correct syntax

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Optimize Meta Tags for SEO 

While working on various on-page elements, don’t ignore small but significant changes that can leave a big impact. Meta tags are one of them. If optimized properly, they can take your website SEO to a new level, boosting your brand visibility and giving you an edge over competitors. 

Although optimizing meta tags in SEO demands continuous effort and thorough knowledge, they can pay off really well in the long run. 

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  • Ashima Jain

    Ashima Jain is a Content Editor and Strategist at WsCube Tech and has been in the content marketing industry for 6 years. She is a writer by day and a reader by night. It was actually her love for reading that made her try her hands at writing. She has completed her postgraduation in Economics and Financial Management and has also done diploma courses in Journalism and Digital Marketing. When not working, you can find her in a cafe enjoying a cup of joe and a book.