When you perform a search on Google or any other search engine, the meta tag is the title of each post listed in the results, also known as the title tag. Meta tags play a role in how your site ranks. Can having the same meta tags for multiple pages hurt your site? Jesse Laffen explains in this week’s Ask An SEO Expert feature.
So the question is, I heard that having the same meta tags for multiple pages can hurt my site. Is that true? If so, any suggestions on how to fix it?
So, there are lots of different kinds of meta tags that you can put on a web page. For example, one of the most popular ones that a lot of people in SEO know about is the title tag. That’s the page title. It does a couple of things.
First of all, this blue text that you see in a Google listing or a Bing listing, it’s also at the very top of the browser or if you bookmark the page, you’ll see that kind of tag pop up, and that’s kind of like the name of the page, if you will. Others include things like you can put a language on a website.
You can use a meta tag to tell a search engine robot to either index or not index, or follow or not follow a page. Lots of different things you can do with them.
For strictly ranking type purposes like ranking algorithm factor purposes, the title tag is really what you’re looking at. Keyword usage within the title tag still does make a little bit of difference in your rankings. Duplicating that tag can have kind of a bad result. It’s not something you want to do.
Similarly with the meta description, this is the black text that you sometimes see just below the listing in a Google search or Bing search. Having lots and lots of duplicate meta descriptions won’t necessarily hurt your rankings but it does cause search engines to maybe to look for different texts. Maybe it will use some of the text from your actual web page. Sometimes they will borrow text from another source from the web, like either DMoz is something that they drew from like Yahoo directory way back in the day. They might look for other places where they can find better text to actually serve up here. Then you get your url that they move around sometimes too.
In general, duplicating most meta tags won’t really hurt. The reason for that is, for example, the language one, if all of your pages are written in German, it makes sense that you would specify that all your pages are written in German. That one is not really going to hurt you.
With the titles and descriptions though, if you find yourself having to duplicate them across lots and lots of different pages, I would ask yourself why. People don’t really like to experience duplicate content, see it’s really really annoying. You don’t want to do it.
So basically if you need to title a bunch of pages the exact same thing or you need to have the same description for every single page, start to ask yourself if this is a page that I need to create over and over again. If you have to, there’s somethings you can do with canonical tags and things like that, but really try to focus really good content, good titles, good descriptions for all of your users. That’s gonna produce pages that not only rank well but that people want to see and that they understand are different.