Meta Tags & their importance
Meaning of the word meta is information about. Meta Tags were created to provide information about a website. Meta tags list information about the web page, such as the author, keywords, description, type of document, copyright and other information. The author and contact information describes details of a specific person. The description tag lists description of the page or post that makes it unique to that page or post. The keywords are the list of website products or services related words found within that page or post.
A search engine crawls your website regularly after a specific time interval and gathers information from the title, headings, content, and Meta Tags such as description or keywords. It compares the words within each of these sections and ranks the site depending upon how well the information matches with the content in your website.
Meta Tags are missing in WordPress website
Meta Tags like author, description and keywords are not included in the default installation of WordPress. So it is a challenge for webmasters to add them in wordpress website. Meta Tags can be added to WordPress website manually by making changes in Theme template files. Another way to add Meta Tags in WordPress site is through WordPress Plugins.
Manually Adding Meta Tags in WordPress website
To add meta tags to your website you need to add the code to the header.php template file in your WordPress Theme in the head section below the <title> tag which may look something like the below code:
<title><?php bloginfo(‘name’); ?><?php wp_title(); ?></title>
You can add meta tag information such as the content, language, author, contact and copyright as these are the same on every page of your site.
But the information is unique to every web page on your site for dynamic information such as description and keywords. Putting them in the header.php means the information will not change throughout your website.
You need to dynamically add keywords and descriptions on a ever page or post. There are two ways to add description, keywords and other meta tags which are different to each post or page. Add them as generic references or use WordPress plugins.
Adding Meta Tags using WordPress Plugins
There are several WordPress Plugins available for adding Meta Tags in WordPress website for SEO. These plugins use custom fields within write post screens in the admin area. You can customize each of your meta tags and choose the one you want to add on a every page or post and allows your meta information to describe each page.
Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It is also one of the best SEO plugin for WordPress websites. It comes with lots of features to optimize website. It has built-in content analysis, meta keywords and description management, managing duplicate content, xml sitemaps, social features, rich snippets and much more. Yoast SEO plugin adds a Yoast SEO metabox on the post edit screen. This metabox allows you to add meta title and description for your blog post. It also allows you to choose a focus keyword for your post. Installation of Yoast SEO plugin is easy and with the help of documentation and videos provided with the plugin. So many videos are also available on youtube for its easy installation and to use this plugin for search engine optimization of your website. If you are using this plugin then the price you pay for the plugin is already recovered. You can also use its free version with few limits to start with.
All in One SEO Pack Plugin
Created in 2007 by Michael Torbert and Steve Mortiboy, All in One SEO Pack has become one of the most downloaded WordPress plugins of all time. The plugin has all the settings on a single page which makes it look a bit overwhelming but some users find this approach easier and faster than the multi-page settings of Yoast SEO.
All in One SEO Pack plugin is the performance optimizer where you can clearly check your system status including operating system, memory limit and usage, PHP version, script execute time and many more.You can raise your memory limit to the max allocation showed in the system status, raise the execution time for script running and disable the force rewrites caused by some third party themes and plugins.
Though WordPress SEO by Yoast is recommended as it wins more scores in comparison to All in One SEO Pack but if you are looking for a cost effective solution then All in One SEO Pack is the best right approach.
Simple Meta Tags Plugin
Simple Meta Tag plugin allows you to set global meta tags and you can customize these tags on each individual page or post. This plugin generate the blog title and page title as default title tags if not specified. The best part is that the plugin is available free.
There is a limitation that Simple Meta Tags did not replace the default title tag, it added second title tag above the description and key word tags.
Another limitation of using this plugin is that the meta info with this plugin is listed a little further down the page than they are normally. The answer is that it should not matter where in the head tag the title is featured so it should not affect SEO.
So the only fight using this plugin is to make sure there is only one title tag in the head. This can be done manually by removing the theme title tag code from functions.php file. Simply comment out the below code and your problem is solved:
add_theme_support( ‘title-tag’ );
After commenting out the above code in functions.php, the only thing you have to do it to fill the title, description and keywords fields in every page or post editor. If you don’t want to spend on WordPress plugin and If you are good at SEO and can manually handle the task of adding title, keywords and description then Simple Meta Tag plugin is the best option for you.