Since the emergence of the World Wide Web, countless best practices, technologies and strategies have evolved to optimise websites and maximise their usefulness. One such practice that has been popular since the 90s is the use of metatags. In this blog article, we will explore whether metatags are still needed in 2023 and what role they play on the modern web.
What are metatags?
Metatags are HTML elements used to provide information about the content of a web page. They are included in the code of a page but are not visible to the end user. Metatags help search engines and other web services to better understand and categorise the content of a web page. The most common metatags include the title tag, the meta description tag and the meta keywords tag.
The role of metatags in the past
In the past, search engines like Google relied heavily on metatags to rank web pages in search results. Webmasters used them to provide relevant information about their pages to search engines. Over time, however, the potential for abuse was recognised, as some website operators used misleading or inaccurate metatags to gain better rankings in search results.
The importance of metatags in 2023
With continuous improvements in search engine algorithms and the introduction of new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, search engines like Google are now less reliant on metatags. Instead, they focus on content quality, user experience and other on-page and off-page factors to evaluate the relevance of a web page.
However, metatags still play a role in modern web development:
- Title tag: The title tag is still important as it provides search engines and users with a quick overview of a page’s content. A good title tag can help increase the click-through-rate (CTR) and improve the visibility of the page.
- Meta description tag: Although the meta description does not directly influence search engine rankings, it can give users a brief overview of the page’s content and influence their decision whether or not to click on the search result. An appealing meta description can thus also improve the CTR.
- Meta keywords tag: Google has already confirmed that they no longer use the meta keywords tag to rank web pages. However, it can still be useful to use this tag in some cases, e.g. if you want to be found by lesser-known search engines or web services that may still rely on meta keywords.
- Specialised metatags: In addition to the standard metatags mentioned above, there are specialised metatags such as Open Graph, Twitter Cards and Schema.org markup that are used to optimise website content for social media and other online services. These metatags can improve the sharing and display of content on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Conclusion: will metatags still be needed in websites in 2023?
Although search engines like Google are less dependent on metatags in 2023, they still play a role in web development and search engine optimisation (SEO). While the meta keywords tag may no longer be as relevant, the title tag and meta description remain important elements that can influence user experience and click-through rates. In addition, specialised meta tags such as Open Graph, Twitter Cards and Schema.org markup can help improve the visibility and presentation of content on social media and other platforms.
Therefore, it is advisable to continue to pay attention to metatags and incorporate them into web development and SEO strategy. While they alone cannot guarantee a website’s chances of success, they can, in combination with other important factors such as high-quality content and a positive user experience, help to increase a website’s visibility and attractiveness on the modern web