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What Are Meta Tags?

Developing an understanding of all aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) is very important to creating a successful website. Meta tags fall into the category concerning the search engine results pages that you are aiming to expand on. If you are trying to build on your previously acquired SEO knowledge, or if you are a newcomer, then you’re in the right spot. In this article, you will learn the tips and techniques that you need to solidify your understanding of meta tags in their entirety. 

What is a Meta Tag?

First, let’s take a look at what a “meta tag” actually means in the digital world. Meta is a shorthand term for metadata, which in layman’s terms is data concerning data. The function of a meta tag is to provide the user with a plethora of information related to the webpage. Meta tags also play a vital role in how a search engine like Google, Yahoo, or Bing will view the webpage. Although meta tags can help users in the optimization of their searches, they are more so directly beneficial to the search engines themselves. 

Meta tags appear in the form of concisely worded text that gives further insight to the content of a webpage. Their minimal format provides site users with an easy, effective way to optimize the results of their search engine searches. A common misconception about meta tags is that they appear directly on the webpage. However, this is not the case. Meta tags are in the coding of the webpage, as opposed to being on the web page itself. You might be wondering how you can access a meta tag. Well, the answer is you really can’t see them. They are for the search engines or site administrators themselves to recognize. 

what are meta keywords

Why Are Meta Tags Important?

Without question, the presence of metadata is very important. Metadata holds the key to accessing the world of descriptions that a web page has to offer, like linked content. Metadata that is in the format of linked content is frequently shown in the search results of search engines like Google, which indicates that its specific details could be either bypassed or clicked on by whoever decides to visit the site. The information in question is typically displayed as meta tags. 

It is the responsibility of search engines to analyze the meta tags of a web page. They do so to keep the most up-to-date and relevant information at the forefront of a user’s search. Specifically towards the end of the ’90s, meta tags were used improperly by site administrators who were aiming to shove irrelevant content into keywords disguised as relevant content. This issue created a poor relationship between online users and site administrators. Because of this practice, search engine searches became very tedious, as online users were forced to weed through a lot of irrelevant content.

As of late, some popular search engines like Bing, have decided to reduce their need to use meta tags. They have chosen to do this because of concerns with avoiding keyword stuffing. However, these big-name search engines must still take the use of meta tags under consideration when they are popping to index thousands of pages of web content. Another common practice to help avoid keyword meta tag deceptions is the constant changes to the criteria that top dog search engines require for proof of authenticity. 

How Are Meta Tags Created?

By now you might be wondering just how the creation of meta tags works. Meta tags can be created using sophisticated smart software used to generate information processing. Metadata can be created manually or by automated information processing. Believe it or not, the use of the manual method tends to lend itself to being a little bit more accurate than using an automated system. This is due to the fact that the site administrator can input whatever type of information they need in order to provide future users with the most precise and accurate information. Automated systems have a more basic algorithm that limits itself to a certain amount of file extension inclusion. 

meta keywords

Metadata Examples

Now that you’ve had an overview of meta tags, let’s explore some examples that you would encounter. Typically, metadata is placed in categories based on the particular function it serves in the grand scheme of data analysis input management. 

Administrative Metadata

Administrative metadata is what gives site administrators the ability to set forth regulations and restrictions. This aspect of metadata also gives users access to certain website permissions. Have you ever seen a warning message that tells you that you do not have permission to view a site? Well the administrative metadata is what dictates those types of warning messages. Another function of this example is the use of data maintenance and management. Here are some details that are frequently included in administrative metadata: archiving criteria, file size, file name file type, and date of content creation.

Preservation metadata is a type of administrative metadata. It functions as a guide for the placement of data into a system or sequenced algorithm that prioritizes chronological order.

Descriptive Metadata

Descriptive metadata is responsible for identifying the specific aspects of any given piece of digital content. For instance, the lyrics to a song, details like author date, and statistical data and analysis.  

Structural Metadata

Structural metadata is a technical way of describing the multiple facets of the structure of how to assemble digital media. In other words, it describes how compound objects are put together. An example of this is how pages are put in order to form chapters.

Provenance Metadata

Provenance metadata is when the digital system keeps a detailed tracking history of a piece of data as it navigates through a given algorithm. Another way to refer to provenance metadata is data lineage. One can keep tabs on the status of provenance metadata through a process known as data governance. 

metadata examples

Meta Keywords

Meta keywords are meta tags that are specifically used in the HTML code of any given webpage. Furthermore, meta keywords inform the online user of what the site’s topic will be. The biggest difference between meta keywords and regular keywords is that meta keywords are not really seen. Instead, they work behind the exterior of the web page you are visiting. Meta keywords usually appear in the form of HTML code with a jumbled series of letters and numbers. 

Now that you have a basic knowledge of meta keywords, let’s talk about what steps you need to take in order to select the most beneficial meta keywords. Be sure the meta keywords that you choose to use for your page are an accurate reflection of the material on your website. For example, you should not incorporate misleading phrasing concerning “how to save money” if your article is actually concerning local school mandates.

If you are looking to incorporate meta keywords into your work, it’s important to keep some of the historical issues associated with meta keywords in the back of your mind. You might not be aware that using meta keywords was frowned upon by top search engines like Google before. This is because site administrators were misusing meta keywords to shove in irrelevant keywords that did not relate to the actual content they were aiming to create. It’s tempting to use this sort of stuffing method to generate more traction for your site. However,  this technique can and will eventually backfire if users begin to lose trust in the integrity and accuracy of your site. 

what are meta tags

Start Using Meta Tags Today

Now that you have completed this overview on meta tags, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge to the test. Try to keep in mind the technical aspects surrounding the creation of meta tags before you get started. If you are unsure of how to apply the tips and tricks provided in this article, there is a network of other sources that you can reference to help guide you along the way. Meta tag development can be tricky at times, so it’s important to not get discouraged if you are struggling with the HTML coding aspects or applying metadata examples to your site. You could also hire professionals who deal with metadata every day to help you.

FAQ:

  • What are meta tags?
  • Why should I include meta tags on my website?
  • What is metadata?
  • How are meta tags created?
  • What are meta keywords?

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