HTML head tags play an important role in the discovery and ranking of websites. Unfortunately, not many bloggers and website owners know that or even pay slight attention to HTML head tags. How does that affect their rankings and online reputation ratings?
Keywords are overrated by many people, thinking that they solely determine the ranking of websites in the search engine results pages (SERPs). While keywords do contribute to a website’s performance in search engines, there is more to SEO marketing than keyword placement alone. One of them is the usage of proper HTML head tags.
Basically, these tags are just keywords that are placed outside the body of an article. It is a matter of consciously using what to be placed where.
To explain how HTML head tags can help your website, here are their various types that you should work on.
1. Title tags
Yes, the placement of keywords in the first part of the title of a page is the most important aspect of on-page optimization. In one study, it has been proven that the keyword placement in the title of an article page highly affects the results of search engines.
Search engine crawlers first detect page titles as a representation of the relevance of the whole article. Thus, a title that says differently from the headline and body will be given a very low rating regardless if relevant keywords have been used in the entirety of the article.
The point of this is to stick with the keyword and make sure that it is truly discussed in the body and well represented in the title.
2. Meta description
No, it does not affect the ranking of websites in search engines, but it does matter in the discovery of relevant websites and pages to internet users because the keywords are bolded in the snippets that appear in the SERP when a search is done. Because of this, the click-through rate is increased, which in effect increases traffic and possibly, the conversion rate of pages.
Just do not expect a meta description to catapult you to the top of SERP because it is far from happening.
3. Meta keyword
A meta keyword is the snippet or word description of a website in addition to the meta description. It is not detected by crawlers but a meta keyword helps internet users in identifying the relevant websites to click once the SERP appears. It is like a word clue that makes sense when an internet user is presented by a lot of options by search engines (which is basically the case, usually in a list of 10 results per page).
Yahoo! used to consider meta keyword for website discovery (not for ranking), but since Microsoft already took over Yahoo’s search engine, this criterion has already been changed.
If there is good news here, it is the fact that smaller search engines and indexing sites still use meta keyword for ranking purposes.
4. Canonical URL tag
The use of canonical URL tag is more applicable to large websites that have thousands of webpages and dozens of subdomains. This is to prevent the possibility of creating URL duplicates and the reduction of link juice due to appended string of URLs. When a website has thousands of posts that talk about the same topic in the same niche, there is a big possibility of the creation of duplicate URLs, and that will definitely hurt the chances of being crawled properly.
5. Specialized meta tags
There are specialized meta tags used for websites that are offered by FGDC and DCMI. Unfortunately, tests have showed that they have no benefit to ranking and instead, only slow down the download of data.