How to Use Keywords, Meta Tags and Meta Descriptions

Choosing the right keywords, meta tags, and meta descriptions for search engine optimization (SEO) doesn’t have to be a chore. With the right strategy in place, you can optimize the process and make the best use out of keywords, meta tags, and meta descriptions on your website.

While SEO journeys usually begin with on-site content optimization, keywords and meta tags have more to do with what’s going on behind the scenes. 

Meta descriptions are short snippets of characters, HTML attributes, and metadata blurbs that summarize a webpage’s content. They usually look something like this:

<meta name="description" content="A webpage's description, one or two sentences."/>

Search engines show the meta description in the phrase the user is searching for on the search engine results page (SERP). The goal when writing your meta tags is to create something that people will want to click on. Meta tags are largely there to encourage people to click through from SERPs.

Although Google has officially stated that it ignores the keyword meta tag when determining website rankings, that doesn’t mean this is something you should ignore. A keyword meta tag is still important for driving traffic and boosting performance in search. 

Meta descriptions look like miniature ads or promos for a website, which gives brands an additional opportunity to promote their pages to online searchers. Defined meta descriptions also look more professional in search results, which is another reason to add meta descriptions for your website.

Keyword research is a necessary part of the process, as well. If the keyword a user is searching for matches part of the text in the meta description, Google will be more likely to highlight it in the search results. If you’re selling a product, it can be a good idea to focus on the technical specifications, the manufacturer, or price within the meta description.

To take full advantage of keywords, meta tags, and meta descriptions, follow these best practices.

Best Practices for Using Keyword, Meta Tags, and Meta Descriptions

  • Meta tags should appear on every page on your website.
  • Use unique title tags on every page, and make sure they accurately describe the page.
  • Keep meta descriptions within 155 characters.
  • Always write meta descriptions in the active voice.
  • Include a call-to-action (CTA) in every description.
  • Consider eliminating meta tags that name the author of the page or the maturity rating of the content, as they are considered to be unnecessary from an SEO perspective.

To learn more about how to create the best meta descriptions, review these suggestions from Google.

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