Won’t meta tags help me rank so high, I’ll be in the stars?

Published on February 14, 2017 by Chris Ainsworth

In short, No. Here’s why.

First off, a meta tag is a tag (i.e., a coding statement) in the HTML coding of a website that describes a specific aspect of the content of that webpage.

I know. Bare with me.

Meta tags are important because search engines read them in order to see if these keywords and the descriptions are related to the visible content on your website.
They will look something like this in the coding of your website:

<meta name=”keywords” content=”SEO, Footprint Digital, Google, Search”/>

Back in the day, meta tags would help with rankings. It was really easy, too. You’d simply put a bunch of keywords in the title tag and meta keywords tag of your site and that would actually help you rank but this have gone way of the dinosaurs. Nowadays, if you put relevant, well-written keywords in your meta-tags that encourage actual human beings to click on your site from the search results then that is still good but the meta-keywords tag no longer has strong effect on ranking.

Hate to break the news but the meta description tag also has no effect on rankings.

It’s not all bad though, promise! Although the meta-description tags may not help with direct rankings anymore, they still can help by encouraging people to go from the search results into your site where they can become paying customers.

So, a long time ago, yes, meta tags mattered but it is no longer a guarantee to high rankings.

Additionally, keyword stuffing (discussed in the topic of spam SEO) is inefficient. Google actually stopped using meta keyword tags because of this. It’s best to focus on quality, condensed keywords for greater success over throwing bazillion keywords into your meta tags.

Bonus advice: Following your competitor’s tags doesn’t help in this case, either. The way the tag may work for your competitor depends on the structure of their website, content, keywords, URL, link popularity and then some. So it is possible that search engines will see your sites completely differently based on these factors.

Focus on generating quality keywords relevant to your business and you should have zero problems ranking even if meta tags are no longer the end-all-be-all of ranking.

If you want to learn more, check out these articles that give further info on meta tags:

Meta Description
How To Use HTML Meta Tags
SEO Meta Tags Best Practices

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