Marie Kondo is a Japanese consultant who specializes in home organization. Her Netflix series, Tidying Up, introduced international audiences to her KonMari Method™ of creating serenity in your life. It’s all about recognizing what “sparks joy” in your home and purging those items that no longer serve you — thanking them for what they’ve brought to your life in the past.
In the spirit of spring cleaning, we’re applying the KonMari Method™ to our digital homes, giving special attention to meta tags. Meta tags spark joy because they let your visitors know what they can expect to see on your website. They communicate the content in a way that’s friendly to search engine result pages. They influence click-through rate when searchers are browsing the web. It’s meta, er … never too late to give your site the meta makeover it deserves by updating those meta tags and boosting your SEO.
Meet the Metas
The metas are a family of HTML tags that act as previews of coming attractions. They describe the content on your website. When people search the web for specific keywords, phrases, or even brands, your use of the meta tags will ensure that your website comes up as a relevant search result.
The meta tags that you should pay the most attention to are your descriptions, title tags, and alt image tags. These are the fields that offer users the most insight related to their search in a way that’s quickly and easily accessible.
This is the copy that appears under the title on search engine result pages and summarizes the content on your page. Meta descriptions are an opportunity to differentiate your organically ranked pages.
The meta family favorite. It gets the most SERP prominence as it appears at the top of your browser. It’s often pulled for use whenever your page is shared on social media and summarizes the purpose of your content.
Alt image tag
A short description of the image. It provides important keywords for image searches.
The Importance of Metadata to SEO
One key to achieving a high Google ranking is creating a high-quality user experience and your site’s metadata contributes to that positive experience. A well written title tag and meta description can provide the searcher with the confidence that they are going to a website that will properly answer their search query.
While Google doesn’t list metadata as a direct ranking factor, they do provide an indirect boost. An improved click-through rate tells Google that your website answers search queries appropriately. In the long run driving more clicks will boost your overall authority and organic rankings.
Tidying Up My Metadata
Let’s spark some joy in your metadata by optimizing them to enhance the user experience. There are guidelines for each type of metadata that increases the value on the SERP.
- Meta Description – Meta descriptions should contain up to a max of 155 characters. This text can be thought of as ad copy for organic search results. Make sure to include relevant keywords in the description — they are likely to catch a searcher’s eye when scanning search results.
- Title Tag – Meta titles should be no longer than 55 characters. Your goal should be to use a keyword phrase or two that help communicate what content is on that page. You should aim to use keywords that have search volume and depending on the page, it may make sense to incorporate your unique brand or product name.
- Alt Image Tag – The alt image tag is one that is easily overlooked but has a major impact on Google image search results. This is the shortest of the three tags and should describe the image in a descriptive yet concise way. Staying on top of your alt tags will help expand your brand’s overall presence and reach.