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When people refer to meta tags, they are talking about the meta description and meta keyword tags.  Some search engines may display the meta description as part of the search results, but the meta keywords tags generally does not appear in search results.

Is it Worth it to Create Meta Tags? 
I believe creating page specific meta description tags is worthwhile.  I generally do not spend time creating meta keywords tags.

What do Meta Tags Look Like? 
Meta Keywords Tag

If your site does not have meta keyword tags, I would probably not recommend spending the time to add them.  If you add meta keywords while you are creating pages, I wouldn’t spend more than a minute on each page.  I probably wouldn’t list any more than a few of them per page.

The meta keywords tag is not supported by many major search engines.  While it is important to choose the correct keywords for your page, the meta keywords tag itself is not used by many top SEO experts.

I usually do not use the meta keywords tag on my pages (as it is not usually very important), but it can help you out if there are many different ways to say your
The meta keywords tag is typically used to highlight a couple of the main keyword phrases on which a page is focused.

The meta description tag should be a few sentences to a paragraph of text that uses various versions of your keywords and describes the purpose of a given page.
Meta tags are only one small element of current search engine ranking algorithms.
     
product names and you are not creative enough to cover the permutations in your page copy.  Usually it is better to cover the permutations in your page copy with sections like alternate part numbers, etc.
If you use the meta keywords tag, it should be unique for each page upon which you place it.  The keywords tag is a good place to put common misspellings, synonyms, and alternate versions of a word.

Sample Uses of the Meta Keywords Tag 

• If you optimized a page for the keyword phrase drop shipping, you may want to include the word dropshipping in your keywords tag, although if the term is that competitive, keyword tags are not likely to matter.
• Notice how in my above example meta keyword tag, I spelled the word optimization with an “s”.  I targeted the spelling with a “z” on my page and am placing “s” versions in my keywords tag.  The term is likely going to be too competitive to compete for using just a meta tag, but most phrases are not going to be as competitive as search engine optimisation.
• Some items are model 15-M or 15M or Cannon 15-M or Cannon 15M.
• Prescription is often mistyped as perscription.

If a term is competitive, it is going to need to occur in your page copy and/or inbound link text for you to rank well for it.


Meta Description Tag 

Many search engines will use the meta description as part of the page abstract if the exact search term that was searched for is found in the meta description tag.  Additionally, it sometimes appears in search results if the search engine cannot extract meaningful content from the page copy or if the algorithm feels the meta description will provide a more useful presentation.  

This tag should be between a sentance to a paragraph and should not appear keyword-stuffed.  The text should read well to the human eye since this tag is still used in many search results pages. A good or bad description can be the difference between a click and being ignored. Google shows ~ 160 characters from the meta description tag in their search results.

If you write a compelling description, it could boost your click-through rates and, thus, deliver you more targeted traffic.
   
The meta description tag can often be used to help craft a good search presentation for your most popular keyword phrases by complementing the page title, targeting alternet versions, and display your brand messaging, all while inticing clickthroughs.

You can look at the search results of various search engines to see what competitors uses and how many characters the engine displays. In the above image Google displayed around 156 characters.


Meta Tags Are Not an Endless Art



Some people try to make meta tags sound like an art form.  They are not.  There are multiple tags that tell a search engine when to revisit or what language it is in.  These tags are usually irrelevant and ignored.

Just about the only useful meta tags other than the description and keywords tags are those tags used to PREVENT search engines from indexing your content.  Since we usually want our content seen, I only wrote about the tags I typically use.

The Truth about Meta Tags 
Meta tags are only one small part of search engine algorithms. In major search engines, each of the following is typically far more important than meta tags:
• Link popularity and link reputation
• Site age
• Page title
• Page copy
Your meta description tags are still important because they help you differentiate yourself from the competition and boost your clickthrough rates.

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Mithilesh Joshi