In theory, meta tags are just HTML <meta … > elements used to provide some structured metadata about a web page – as Wikipedia teaches us. However, meta tags should never be neglected because they have some major SEO significance, and can improve or lower your site’s rankings.
The idea is this. There are very few on-page SEO factors that Google and other search engines can take into account while analyzing your site. Essentially, there are: <h> headings, meta tags, URL structure, site speed, keywords, internal links, and others less important.
And from this set, <h> headings and meta tags are the only opportunity to tell Google what you think your page is about. Google understands that if you think that your page is about “learning guitar chords,” for example, then you’ll probably include “learning guitar chords” in the title of the page and in its meta tags.
How to Set Meta Tags
There are two main meta tags: <title> and <description>.
The former is shown in the browser’s title line when you visit any given page (and it’s also used by Google on their results pages). For example:
The description is used only by Google (search results) if they see it as a good fit for the search term used.
The best way to set these meta tags in WordPress is to use a plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast.
Once you have the plugin installed, whenever you write a new post or edit an existing one you’ll see a new block in your admin panel just below the post. This block will let you set the <title> tag and the <description> tag (image below).
You should remember about two things when crafting these tags: include some relevant keywords, and make the message interesting and inviting, so people would actually want to visit your pages.
How to Set Content Headings
Content headings are the other important thing here. When you’re writing a new post make sure to use the headings settings provided in WordPress. The visual editor (the default way of creating a new post) features a dropdown box on the left:
From this dropdown you can choose various levels of headings. Whenever you want to break your post visually simply write a sub-heading and set it as “Heading 2” or “Heading 3.” This will make your content more readable and also improve your SEO.
Now about the SEO; these sub-headings are yet another place where you should incorporate your desired keywords. Always try to use the keywords that are relevant to your main keyword for that piece of content. But be careful not to go overboard with this – don’t use the same keywords in every one of your sub-headings, Google will not enjoy this.
What’s your approach at setting meta tags and post headings? Feel free to share.