What are Meta tags – Meta Tags are part of a web page syntax that gives additional information about the page without actually displaying it on the page. Meta tags were originally created to provide concise information about a website. Meta tags list information such as the author, keywords, description, type of document, copyright, and other core information.
If you right-click a web page and choose to “view source” you will often be able to see the meta tags that are defined for this webpage.
For example, looking at the home page of the Ny Times ( www.nytimes.com ), I have found the following meta tags:
<title>The New York Times – Breaking News, World News & Multimedia</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Find breaking news, multimedia, reviews & opinion on Washington, business, sports, movies, travel, books, jobs, education, real estate, cars & more.”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”United States Politics and Government,Bankruptcies,Pensions and Retirement Plans,Budgets and Budgeting,States (US), Cellular Telephones,Writing and Writers,Books and Literature,Price”> ( Well, to say the truth, they had many more keywords, but I did not have enough space on this webpage to include them all )
Meta tags such as Title, keywords and description used to play an important role in the web ranking of the websites. But, because they were widely abused their importance for the actual ranking has declined. Google search engine algorithms have been ignoring Meta tags for years.
Ok, so why are we talking about meta tags at all?
Here’s why: Your meta description is the main mechanism search engines use to provide a summary of your site page to prospective site visitors browsing its search results. View it as the sub-headline and sales description of your site (the Title Tag being the main headline for your site).
An accurate description communicates to prospective visitors the make-up and content relevancy of the page, and compels (or not) that visitor to click through and visit your site page.
If you fail to include a description of the page, search engines are likely going to fabricate a description of their choosing by returning a snippet of text from your page.