HTML Meta Tags: how important are they for SEO?

The importance of HTML meta tags for search engine optimisation has greatly decreased. However, some of them still play a significant role. Here, we introduce you to important tags and explain their function.

In the early days of the internet, HTML meta tags were crucial for the ranking of web pages. A lot has changed since then. Above all, search engines like Google are now much better at classifying the content of pages. Some meta tags are therefore simply ignored. Others, however, are still important for SEO.

Function and Structure of HTML Meta Tags

HTML meta tags are usually integrated into the header of the document and are only visible to the search engine or browser, not to the user.

The structure of conventional HTML meta tags is as follows:

<meta name="name" content="content">

The tag first defines an element and then assigns content to it. This type of meta tag provides search engines with information about HTML documents.

Other HTML meta tags carry instructions for browsers. They have the following basic structure:

<meta http-equiv="name" content="content">

Important: Whether a browser reads such meta tags at all depends on the type of browser.

Important Meta Tags and Their Significance

As already mentioned, many HTML meta tags have lost their former significance. For example, Google completely ignores keyword tags. You can therefore forgo them with a clear conscience.

The following tags, on the other hand, are still important:

Meta Title

Strictly speaking, the title tag is not an HTML meta tag, but an independent HTML tag. It is also a mandatory element in the head of HTML documents.

In the context of search engine optimisation, it already plays a central role because major search engines use it as a heading in the SERPs. Google even considers the meta title an official ranking factor.

The SISTRIX page with the title "OnPage-Optimisation" in Google's search results.

The title tag is as follows:


When optimising, make sure that you keep to the maximum length of 70 characters and include the central keyword (in our example, “onpage optimisation”).

Meta Description

The meta description is crucial for the second part of snippets.

Although it is not a direct ranking factor, it influences the number of clicks and thus the traffic on pages. Here, too, the maximum length of 165 (desktop) or 118 (mobile devices) characters plays a decisive role.

It is equally important that meta descriptions address the search intent and content of pages. Both of these factors also determine whether Google uses the meta description you created or replaces it with one of its own.

The HTML meta tag looks like this:

<meta name="description" content="Onpage optimisation defines work that you can do on your domain that can't be changed by external influences."/>

Robots Meta Tags

Robots meta tags contain instructions for crawlers. For example, you can use a robots meta tag to tell the Googlebot not to index a page to prevent duplicate content or not to follow links on the page.

In the first case, the tag (for all search engine crawlers) would look like this:

<meta name="robots" content="noindex"/>

To generate HTML meta tags, you can use a meta tag generator. A snippet generator helps you formulate good meta titles and descriptions of the right length.


Admittedly, HTML meta tags are no longer what they once were. But they are not to be neglected completely. Especially the meta description and robots meta tags as well as the title tag still play an important role for SEO.

In addition, we recommend that you use markups to provide search engines with information in order to attract more attention with Rich Snippets.