SEO 101: Meta Tags Are Not That Important

This the first post of Boucher + Co.’s “SEO 101” series. This post marks the first in a series of posts surrounding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and commonly-held myths associated with “good” SEO practices.

SEO is a devil in disguise. Many people believe SEO efforts to be extraordinarily easy to master. At the same time, many people also deem SEO impossible. Both sides are wrong. SEO, when done correctly, is a highly-effective way to generate web traffic to, and sales leads on, your website.

This week Boucher + Co. focuses on the good ol’ meta tags – those few trusty lines of code within a website’s HTML structure (within the <head> tags) that tell a web browser the site’s title, provide a description of the site’s content or theme, and contain various keywords that search engines take into account.

Sure, meta tags are important. They give the website an additional level of identity, acting as a “unique identifier” for that site on Google and other search engines. But they are far from the be-all-end-all, one-size-fits-all solution that many “SEO experts” claim them to be. While the creation and maintenance of clean meta tags is effective and standard HTML practice, they are not all that useful within SEO efforts.

The reason why is simple: Google constantly changes its’ search algorithm to reflect more accurate and “authoritative” search results. And over the years, that very algorithm has gone from heavily weighing meta tags, to considering them as only one factor within a number of key factors representing a website’s search engine ranking. As Google’s search algorithm matures, so too does its ability to judge websites based on other factors – e.g. inbound links and content quality – that are more indicative of a website’s relevancy within a particular keyword or industry.

So remember, when designing your website, create highly-effective and clear meta tags within the site’s HTML structure. That’s good web design. But do not expect Google’s search engine ranking for your website to improve with simply good meta tags. Your SEO efforts will need to be much broader and diversified.