If you're building your own website, or are working with a designer, you'll want to know a little bit about Meta tags to help your SEO. Although there a million tricks and tips on SEO, this basic strategy is often overlooked. Covering the basics is essential when optimizing your site, as well as laying the groundwork for more complex SEO strategies.
WHAT ARE META TAGS?
Don't be intimidated if you're not sure what 'Meta' means. Meta tags are essentially bits of code that are used in the back end of your web page. These bits of code let browsers and search engines know how they should display and handle the page. Search engines also use it to explain what the page is about. If you've ever wondered how you get the description under the title of a website in a Google search, now you know!
There are two forms of Meta that matter the most: Meta title and Meta description.
Look at your page tab in your browser and you'll see the Meta title. It's right next to your favicon (what's a favicon?) and is normally taken from the first heading on the page. It's the most concise and accurate description of what your web page is all about. Pro tip: Try and keep your Meta title under 55 characters or else it may be too long for search engines!
The site title is actually created for you when you create the site, so you don't need to worry about altering your meta title in Squarespace!
Meta descriptions are incredibly useful meta tags because they explain to search engines what your page is about. When you customize your meta description, Google doesn't always show that exact description to searchers, and sometimes chooses snippets from your page's content instead. The good and the bad news is that this particular meta tag doesn't influence your ranking on Google. So if Google decides that it wants to include a snippet from your site that you didn't choose, at least your rankings won't go down.
Adding a meta description in Squarespace:
Path to change the meta description in Squarespace: Settings > Marketing > SEO. Add your meta description under the heading 'search engine description' as seen above.
WHY META MATTERS TO YOU
Even though the Meta description doesn't influence your ranking in Google's results, you'll still want to take the time to craft this simple 2-liner. Think about what your target audience will want to see to influence them to click to your website. What sort of keywords might they be searching for or be interested in? Utilize this space to give a true preview of what you offer so you can turn someone who is just searching on Google to someone who clicks and converts.
When building a website for the first (or second or third) time, many people often ignore Meta tags purely because they don't understand how useful they can be. You already know you have control over how you want your website to look once people click on it, so why not use Meta tags to exercise that same control on search engines?