Firstly, you should know that there are never any guarantees to getting your website ranking 1st for your desired key google searches because there are external factors (like the performance of competitor websites and how many direct competitors you have) that you can’t control, so any company that tells you they can guarantee it if you pay them are just doing a sales job on you.
Secondly, meta tags are just one factor used by google – but an important and easy one to implement. Despite that, I have noticed after doing audits on over 50 tourism websites throughout New Zealand in the last 12 months that very few have effective meta tags.
What Are Meta Tags?
- The meta tags are found in the html code of your website and can either be entered by your web designer or added in through your content management systems (CMS).
- Google (and all search engines) use meta tags to quickly find content about your website to include you in relevant search results.
- Meta tags for search engine optimisation are made up of Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions. Meta Keywords are no longer used by google.
- The meta titles and meta descriptions will be the text that is displayed in google search results, if the meta tags are missing Google will grab the first text content that is on each page (e.g. the page title and first sentence).
Meta Titles and Meta Descriptions
- A meta title should only be 60-70 characters (including spaces) and the meta descriptions about 150-160 characters – any text after this just gets ignored.
- A key thing to remember with your meta tags is to apply DIFFERENT meta tag content for each page which should be RELEVANT to the page contents.
- Avoid repetition of the same phrases. The idea is to include a variety of search phrases across your sites meta tags to increase the range of searches you will appear in.
- It’s also effective to use more specific search phrases rather than broad terms e.g. “Queenstown luxury apartment accommodation” instead of “Queenstown accommodation” so that you appear in results that reach your target market – there will also be less competition so a higher ranking is likely.
- Choosing the contents of your meta tags is important and often it can come down to how well differentiated your business is – what’s unique about it? Who are you trying to target? The answers to these questions will help define the content of your website and meta tags. The more unique you are as a business the more likely it is you will rank high in google for the target market you are trying to reach.
TIP 1: A good way to check your meta tags in your browser is to select the option in the menu bar to view the “page source” of each page on your website. This will show you the html code of the page and the meta tags will be located near the top of the page and look something like this:
<title>Using Meta Tags to Get Your Website Ranking Higher In Google</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”View some tips on how to improve your meta titles and meta descriptions to rank higher in google.” />
TIP 2: You can view what content from your website pages is displayed in google for quick analysis by doing this google search:
Now go and check your meta tags!