Meta tags are tags especially for the search engines. They tell the search engines what your web page is all about and helps it to index your page more accurately.
Meta tags are the hidden code usually put at the top of websites designed to perform different functions. The two most famous and misunderstood meta tags for SEO purposes are the description and keywords meta tags which you can find somewhere between your head tags. They are designed to provide the additional info about a page. Amongst other things, they tell the search engine what your page is all about, helping it to index your page more accurately.
So, meta tags are keywords placed in the top of a HTML webpage document to help search engines understand your page better. Just like the title tag, scripts and other information that go in the head section, Meta tags are not displayed on the page itself. Put them on every page that you create or publish. The search engine will find all your pages and you have a good chance of ranking your page highly. Yahoo lays more importance to Metatags than other popular search engines.
The most important Meta tags for SEO purposes are-
Description meta tag- The experts in SEO world believe (Might be based on facts and their experience!!!!) that the description meta tag is not crawled by search engines but the description metatag is simply displayed if your site shows up for SERPs. It easily grabs the attention of a surfer and aids in conversion. Therefore, make your page description tag keyword-rich, at the same time focus should be on the human reader.
Keyword meta tag- The keywords tag tells the search engine what keywords are important for that page. The original idea with the keywords tag was to provide a list of alternative keywords-synonyms to the keywords used in the body of the page. For best results don’t repeat keywords, use synonyms and limit the characters to 150.
Title tag- It isn’t a meta tag in a true technical sense. It is an HTML tag.
But generally it’s clubbed in the meta tag for ‘client’ ease of understanding (And novice SEO programmers too…….) It’s the most important tag in your head section, and shows up in the browser title bar. For best results keep it short to 65 characters and have unique title for each page.
Therefore, put a descriptive description in your description tag and relevant keywords in your keywords tag. Make sure you target people who have the potential of turning into customers.
The other common Meta tags include title, author, owner, subject, rating, abstract, language, copyright, robots etc.
Meta tags were started back in the early 90’s to help the search engines organize the growing number of web pages. This was an easy way to make your site indexed and listed high. But recently most search engines put more emphasis on technically advanced algorithms rather than Meta tags for organizing their search engines.