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Meta tags and OG tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags or OG Tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s source code. Meta tags or OG Tags are essentially little content descriptors that help tell search engines or social media websites what a web page is about.
The only difference between tags you can see (on a blogpost, say) and tags you can’t see is location: meta tags only exist in HTML, usually at the “head” of the page, and so are only visible to search engines (and people who know where to look). The “meta” stands for “metadata,” which is the kind of data these tags provide – data about the data on your page.
These are the meta tags that should be on every page, no matter what. Notice that this is a small list; these are the only ones that are required, so if you can work with just these, please do.
- Meta content type – This tag is necessary to declare your character set for the page and should be present on every page. Leaving this out could impact how your page renders in the browser. A few options are listed below, but your web designer should know what’s best for your site.
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
- Title – While the title tag doesn’t start with “meta,” it is in the header and contains information that’s very important to SEO. You should always have a unique title tag on every page that describes the page.
- Meta description – The infamous meta description tag is used for one major purpose: to describe the page to searchers as they read through the SERPs. This tag doesn’t influence ranking, but it’s very important regardless. It’s the ad copy that will determine if users click on your result. Keep it within 160 characters, and write it to catch the user’s attention. Sell the page — get them to click on the result. Here’s a great article on meta descriptions that goes into more detail.
- Viewport – In this mobile world, you should be specifying the viewport. If you don’t, you run the risk of having a poor mobile experience. The standard tag is:
<meta name=viewport content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
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