The Major META Tags for SEO – Title, Meta Description, and Keywords Tag

Page Tags communicate your keyword priorities to Google! In this video, we’ll look at three major “Meta” tags – the TITLE, META DESCRIPTION, and META KEYWORDS tags.Once you know your keywords, you want to “weave” them into strategic tags. Let’s get started!

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What are META Tags?

You will hear a lot of nonsense on the blogosphere, namely 1) that META tags don’t matter, and 2) that all you have to do is put your keywords into your META tags. META TAGS are an important piece of the SEO puzzle just not the only piece, so don’t let the blithering idiots on the blogosphere confuse you into thinking that a) they don’t matter, or b) they’re all that matters.

So first of all, what’s a META tag? A META tag is any tag that appears within the <head> </head> or header tags, with META, of course, referring to information about information. So, for example, the TITLE tag is a META tag and essentially it tells Google and the human reader what a particular web page is about.

Let’s take a look at the Motorcycle Insurance page at at, which ranks #1 on Google for ‘motorcycle insurance.’ Once you land on that page, RIGHT CLICK > VIEW SOURCE and look for the TITLE, META DESCRIPTION, and META KEYWORDS TAG. Here’s a screenshot:

SEO Meta Tags

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So essentially, the TITLE tag says to Google, “Hey, this is a web page about: <title>Motorcycle Insurance Quotes – Join #1 Insurer | Progressive</title>, the META description says to Google, “Hey, Google, if you’re willing, use this as the summary on Google, “Ride with the #1 motorcycle insurance company and get more savings & protection for your money. Get a motorcycle insurance quote and get protected now.” And the META keywords tags says to Google, essentially – nothing, as it’s ignored).

If you look at Google, you’ll see that the summary of this page on Google is:

More on Meta Tags and Search Engine Optimization

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And, the META keywords tag is essentially ignored. It doesn’t help you, and doesn’t hurt you. I recommend you use it as your “note to self” about what keywords you are targeting.

Optimizing Your Meta Tags

This brings us to your SEO optimization task. Once you understand what the three META tags do, you have some optimization homework. Here are your steps, page by page.

Non Home Pages

  • Identify the keyword target that your page is targeting.
  • Write a strong, keyword-heavy TITLE Tag that is < 59 visible characters, with approximately 80 characters indexed on Google. It should be pithy, include the keywords, and have some pizzazz to “get the click.”
  • Write a strong, keyword-heavy META Description tag that is < 155 characters. Similarly, it should contain the keywords, be pithy and have some pizzazz to “get the click.”

Revisit the search for motorcycle insurance, and notice how the “winners” have a) included the target keyword in their META tags (TITLE and META DESCRIPTION) and written them in such a way that they are like ad headlines, saying to you – click me! click me! click me!  Compare that with reverse mortgage calculator or inbound marketing agency. What you’ll realize is that each landing page on your website needs SEO-optimized, keyword-heavy TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tags that don’t overdo it, yet don’t underdo it.

The keywords meta tag is “optional.”

Home Pages: Think Long, Hard, and Carefully!

Now, for your home page, the same rules apply. Just realize that your Home Page is the Queen Bee of your website, so really brainstorm a very powerful, succinct TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tag for that home page. Visit the home pages of some of the major insurance companies, and “reverse engineer” their TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tags –

In summary, among the easiest and most powerful tactics of SEO is to write keyword-heavy TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tags. Refer to the Google SEO Starter Guide for more information! Finally, remember if you’re using a CMS system like WordPress with the Yoast SEO plugin, the plugin makes it easy to write keyword-heavy, SEO-friendly TITLE and META DESCRIPTION tags. Indeed, Yoast has a nice “checkup” feature called “focus keyword.”

Here’s a screenshot:

META Tags and SEO - Yoast Plugin

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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.