Most Important HTML Tags for SEO in 2024

HTML Tags for SEO

Search engines are getting smarter by the day.

I can’t be the only one having a recurring dream that Google has completely taken control of my life, and I no longer get to decide what meal I’m having for dinner. No, Google, I can’t face another bite of spaghetti bolognese. Fortunately, this dream, or nightmare as the case may be, hasn’t become a reality. Yet!

But there are many areas of our online world where we’re losing control, as search engines find more ways to outsmart us.

One aspect of websites that once allowed us more authority than it does today is HTML, which is the language used to determine the structure of a web page.

Search engines can overlook many HTML tags using algorithms, however, some tags have retained value and can be effectively used to improve SEO in 2024.

Let’s explore the best HTML tags you should still be using to rank well in search engine results pages.

Title Tags

Title tag and meta description in Google SERPs
Pro tip: Ensure that your title tags and meta descriptions are related to the keywords people use to find your content online. This will help you rank better and improve the click-through rate.

Title tags are the clickable headlines you see on a search engine results page, that will take you through to your chosen website.

Technically, Google and other major search engines create the headlines you see on their SERPs, but you can influence this with a well-crafted HTML title tag of your own.

When a search engine is deciding what title to display in its search results, it scans the content on the relevant page, and the first thing it looks at is the title tag.

If the title tag is relevant to the search result and corresponds with the content, it will likely use this tag as the headline instead of creating a new one.

This is how you can have some authority over how you appear in search engine results.

Title Tag Tips

If you want your own title to appear as the clickable title in search engine results pages, you need to optimise it accordingly.

Try the following easy tips for a title that is appealing to both users and search engines.

Character Count

Major search engines such as Google will only use the first 50 or 60 characters from your HTML title tag as the title on their search results page.

This means that although you can use title tags longer than 60 characters, you want to keep your focus on the first 60 characters.

Important details should feature towards the beginning of your title rather than the end, or they may get missed.

Keyword Control

Don’t be tempted to stuff your HTML title tag full of keywords, because search engines can recognise and penalise you for this, ultimately hurting your ranking. Instead, include one to two keywords in your title, and ensure it reads well.

Stay Relevant

Your title tag should be relevant to your content, as this will help ensure it gets used by search engines, and also help direct the right users to your website without disappointment. Keep your title tag accurate and descriptive, and avoid using pushy or sales language.

Meta Description Tags

Meta description tags feature beneath the title tags in search engine results pages.

In most cases, search engines will use the meta description tag from your HTML code as the description snippet on their SERP, so it’s important to have one if you want to be able to influence the type of information that users see in reference to your website.

The meta description tag also tells search engines what your web page is about, giving you a better chance of being properly indexed and matching against user intent.

However, there are exceptions to this. If you don’t include a meta tag description then obviously the search engine can’t use it, and instead, it may create one for you or use a quote from your content.

In some cases, even if you have used a meta description tag, the search engine may choose to use a quote from your content if it feels it better matches the user’s query, and therefore will help you to achieve more click-throughs.

Meta Tag Tips

Having a good meta tag can help with your SEO because search engines aim to most accurately answer the user’s search query. By summarising what your page is about in your meta tag, you’re more likely to feature in the more relevant results.

Clear and Precise

Your meta tag, like your title tag, should be a suitable length.

For most major search engines, this is between 150 and 160 characters long. Anything outside of this will get cut off.

Accurately summarise your page content in this amount of characters to boost the chance of your meta tag being used, and to encourage click-throughs.

Spotibo SERP preview tool screenshot
Pro tip: Use Spotibo’s SERP Preview tool to see how your title tag and meta description will appear in search engine results pages.

Image Alt Text Tags

Image alt text tags help a user to understand an image when it cannot be viewed, for example, if it won’t load or if a user is visually impaired.

However, image alt tags also help to determine how images are indexed by search engines, so you should describe them effectively to help search engines find your images.

Image Alt Text

Image Alt Text Tag Tips

To optimise your HTML image alt text tags, you first want to locate all of the images on your site that have alt text missing.

You can do this manually (not recommended though) or using an SEO tool such as Ahrefs to help you.

Real also: Zooming In on Image SEO

Going forward, ensure all images featured on your site have alt text tags meeting the following criteria.

Describe and Expand

The best way to fill in an image alt tag is to imagine you are describing the image to someone who can’t see it.

Be specific and use multiple words. For example, ‘cooked chicken with green vegetables on a square blue plate’ is much better than ‘chicken on plate’.

Don’t Stuff

Image alt text is not the place to try to squeeze in more keywords. Describe exactly what is in the image, and nothing more.


HTML may not carry as much weight with SEO as it once did, but it isn’t extinct just yet.

It’s important to continue to create title tags, meta descriptions, and image alt text, as all of these things help search engines understand your content and put it in context.

HTML tags are also one of the best ways to improve click-through rates so that once you get your website in the top-ranking spots on Google, you entice users to click through to your site.

They can be overwhelming if you’re new to SEO. In this case, you may want to hand over your website SEO to the professionals.

Contact us today to see how we can help improve your website.

Karli Edmondson-Matthews
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