There have been many algorithm updates that have been rolled out by Google lately to further improve users’ search experience. These algorithm updates have greatly altered to how SEO has been conducted. Many things have changed since then and a lot of techniques such as keyword stuffing, massive submission, link exchanges (and the list goes on) have been stamped out of SEO practices.
Due to these dramatic changes of SEO practices in the past few months, a lot of webmasters and SEO practitioners have also asked about the importance of meta tags especially that it’s one area which has been heavily abused for search positioning.
“Are meta tags still important for SEO”?
Here are the reasons why:
1. Title Tag is not a meta tag.
It’s a common misconception among SEO practitioners that the title tag is a meta tag when in reality, it is not. Nevertheless, the title tag is one of the most important on-page elements (along with the URL name) that determines the viability of a webpage to rank in search engines. Competition aside, a webpage which has the right Title tag is more likely to place in search engine results pages (SERP) than those without.
Take a look at the first top 3 page for keyword search “SEO Tools”, you’ll notice the words “SEO Tools” in their title tags.
2. Meta Description is still displayed on search results.
The meta description is usually displayed just below the URL on search results page. Aside from Page Title, the meta description is what gets noticed the most by users. If a webpage has an interesting meta description that meets the requirement of the user, he will surely click on the webpage to take a look. Otherwise, it will not. So having an interesting and informative meta description can make a difference in the click-through rate (CTR) on SERPs.
A deeper examination of the top 3 results for SEO Tools on Google displayed above will make you notice that the top page, tools.seobook.com of SEO guru Aaron Wall, has a meta tag description while the other top 2 pages has no meta tag description. Look at the image below:
That is quite interesting (this needs more investigation) but the fact that SEO Book of Aaron Wall achieves the top rank with a meta description tell us that the meta description does no harm to any webpages search rankings. In fact, the meta description may have even helped it.
Meta tags especially the meta description tag are still relevant to SEO. However, I would advise against using meta keywords tags since the practice could be identified as a form of keyword cloaking and stuffing. But all in all, meta tags are very important for on-page optimization.
What do you think? Is it still wise to add meta tags to webpages? Join in on the discussion below.