Since plenty of SEO companies are still really far behind the curve, they give outdated advice to their clients on topics like meta tags. If you aren’t familiar with the term meta tags, it refers to specific tags that are in the source code of a web page. Although these tags don’t add any visible information to a page, they do add information that can be viewed by Google and other search engines. Today, our team at Big Red SEO will review search engine history while providing the scoop why the keyword meta tag is no longer relevant for SEO in 2015, but the title and description meta tags are still very useful.
A Quick Search Engine History Lesson
Back in 1995, Google still wasn’t even a research project. At this point in history, AltaVista and Infoseek were two of the Internet’s dominant search engines. While SEO was virtually unheard of during this time, a small but passionate community started focusing on ways to improve how well their websites or clients’ websites ranked in these search engines.
Because search engine technology was still in its infancy, both AltaVista and Infoseek relied heavily on the keyword meta tag to determine what a specific web page was about. As SEO practitioners quickly found out, those search engines relied so heavily on this specific keyword tag that it was possible to rank for searches simply by putting the target phrase in the keyword meta tag.
That realization lead to some of the earliest forms of Internet spam. For example, an online casino that wanted more traffic would add a popular search term like Friends to the meta keyword tag on one or more of their pages. Although a casino had nothing to do with this popular TV show, this simple trick could allow them to rank highly and bring in more traffic.
Since it didn’t take long for the keyword meta tag to be widely abused, both old and new search engines relied less on this element to determine their rankings. Thanks to Google’s complex algorithm and rise to dominance, they announced all the way back in 2009 that this factor was no longer being considered at all.
While the keyword meta tag no longer has any practical use, there are still plenty of unscrupulous SEO providers that charge money for this useless “service.” At Big Red SEO, we’ve had plenty of Omaha businesses come to us and ask why they’re not ranking despite paying for SEO services. And after evaluating their site, we often discover that their lack of rankings is due to the individual or company they paid doing nothing other than “optimizing” their keyword meta tags.
Does That Mean Title & Meta Tags are Irrelevant for SEO in 2015?
When it comes to the keyword meta tag, Google had made it explicitly clear for years now that this tag has absolutely zero effect on search engine rankings. So if anyone ever tries to sell your Omaha business on a service like keyword meta tag optimization for SEO in 2015, you can feel completely confident telling them no.
Although Big Red SEO and the rest of the online marketing community that actually keeps up with the industry said goodbye to the keyword meta tag long ago, that doesn’t mean all meta tags are useless. The two types of tags that are still worth optimizing are the title tag and the description meta tag.
The title tag is responsible for the text that’s displayed at the top of a browser window or tab. And while they may modify the exact phrase that’s displayed, the title tag is also used by Google to supply the text displayed in the blue link they include in their search results.
Google also uses the meta description in their search engine results. Even though they don’t always display it exactly, this tag generally makes up the text that’s displayed below a link on a search engine results page.
Since Google does actually utilize both of these tags, they serve two key purposes. The first is helping with rankings. While neither tag is the most important factor for SEO in 2015, they do still help Google understand what a page is about. The other reason they’re important is they can increase the number of searchers who click a specific link on a page of results.
Even though people often think that getting on the first page of Google is 100% of the battle, it’s important to remember that you’re still competing with nine other relevant results plus several ads. By implementing the tips below, you can make your listing stand out from all the others.
5 Tips for Writing More Effective Title & Meta Description Tags
Because your business can gain real benefits by optimizing the title and meta description tags throughout the pages of your business website, here are five tips to help ensure you’re writing the most effective ones possible:
- Keep the length of every title tag to 55 characters or less. Sticking to this rule will ensure your titles display properly at least 95% of the time.
- Keep the length of every meta description tag to 160 characters or less. Not going past this length will prevent your descriptions from being cut off.
- Use a page’s target keyword in both the title tag and meta description tag. However, avoid tricks like repeating the keyword multiple times in either tag.
- When you’re writing either tag, focus on giving people searching Google a compelling reason to click your listing instead of any of the others that are on the same page.
- In cases where it makes sense, add your business phone number to the title tag and/or meta description tag.
Get SEO Help You Can Trust: (402) 522-6468
Whether you need help optimizing some of your website’s pages, want to add more content to your site or can’t figure out why your site isn’t ranking as well as you think it should, your Omaha business deserves a trusted SEO partner. If you want to work with a company that’s built a reputation in Omaha for quality work and getting real results, Big Red SEO is who you want to talk to about SEO in 2015. Call us today at (402) 522-6468 to discuss your current SEO goals and challenges.