What is <head> meta data and why is it important?
The <head> meta information of your site’s coding provides a summary description of your webpage using various HTML tags. It provides search engines with useful information on what your site is about, what categories it fits under, and how it should be indexed.
You can also insert coding into your <head> meta to get your website verified by popular search providers Google, Bing, Alexa and Yandex. Verifying your site helps establish your site’s online credibility, while also boosting your SEO.
Adding <head> meta information is also very important for social sharing. Popular social networking sites offer special meta tags for added capabilities. For example, Twitter Cards use the meta information on your page to create a preview in your site when a link is tweeted.
Here’s the meta information I added to create this Twitter Card:
<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary" /> <meta name="twitter:site" content="@gian_verano" /> <meta name="twitter:title" content="How to Add < head > meta tags using WordPress Plugins" /> <meta name="twitter:description" content="Learn how to add < head > HTML tags to your Header.php manually or by using WordPress plugins.Click here to read a step-by-step tutorial." /> <meta name="twitter:image" content="http://gianverano.com/wp-content/uploads/Dollarphotoclub_12413387-compressor.jpg" /> <meta name="twitter:url" content="http://gianverano.com/how-to-add-head-meta-information-using-wordpress-plugins/" />
How do I add <head> meta information to my website?
Adding <head> meta information to the header.php manually
Normally, you would manually write out meta coding to the header.php file on your website. You can access and edit it through your host’s Control panel.
If you’re using WordPress you can access your header.php under the ‘Appearance’ tab of your dashboard.
Go to Appearance > Editor, then locate the file under ‘Templates’, which is usually on the right-hand side of the page.
Be sure to only insert your coding between the <head> tag and </head>.
Using WordPress plugins to add < head > meta information
If your site is build using the WordPress platform, you can also use these two convenient (free) plugins to add HTML tags to your <head> section. What’s great about this pair of plugins, is that unlike other plugins, they don’t slow down the speed of your website, which can be analyzed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Add <head> information to your whole site
You’ll want to do this for analytical tags like Google Analytics, Bing/Alexa/Yandex/Pinterest verifications or other identifiers that need to be on every single page of your website.
Access the user interface through Settings > Head Meta Data.
You can add your code to the Options section of the User Interface
One neat thing about this particular app is that you’re also prompted for other meta tags.
With regards to SEO tags, it should be noted that Google’s search algorithms can only read certain <head> meta tags, including titles, descriptions, and robot crawl instructions. Contrary to popular belief, adding meta keywords does not affect your Google ranking – positively or negatively. However, other applications like Facebook Open Graph do make use of tags like location, so it’s not a bad idea to fill them out anyway.
Add <head> information to a specific page
There will be some instances when you’ll want to add <head> HTML (XHTML) tags to one page, and one page only. One prime example would be adding Twitter Cards. To create a Twitter card, your page must contain all the appropriate Twitter tags in the <head>.
Some apps like the WordPress SEO Plugin by Yoast will automatically create Twitter Card meta information for you using the meta description you’ve typed in for that page. However, unlike Google’s 160 character count limit, Twitter Cards allow for up to 200 hundred characters. I don’t know about you, but as a copywriter, I know there’s so much you can do with an extra 40 characters.
So, it’s definitely better to do it manually by editing your header.php and adding the HTML tags yourself. By doing this, you implement your Twitter HTML tags site-wide, so all your Twitter Cards will be the same, no matter what page you’re linking to in your tweets.
If you want to create a new Twitter Card for an individual page, you’ll have to change the Twitter tags on that particular page.
Normally, to do this, you would have to create multiple header.php child files on your host. Luckily, there’s a great free WordPress plugin that lets you add <head> information to a specific page: ‘Per page add to head’ by Erik von Asmuth.
Open the Edit view of any page or post. Scroll down the page to find a new input box, ‘Add to head’. Go ahead and add your code. It’s that simple.
I’m a huge fan of this WordPress plugin for its ease of use. You can also use this plugin to add <head> meta information to every page by going to Settings > Add <head> to every page.
*You’re probably wondering why I didn’t tell you to just get this app alone. Well, that’s because of the suggested fields offered by Head Meta Data. Having input boxes is much easier to revise than having to go over your <head> coding line by line. And trust me, if you’re adding verification and analytics to your site, there’s going to be several lines of coding.
No matter which method you choose, you final Header.php should look something like this:
There you have it: how to add <head> meta tags to your site using plugins.
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