Joomla! Help Support Warrington Cheshire Manchester Merseyside UKMeta Tags (or Metadata) refers to lines of text which are read by search engine meta crawlers when they visit your website.

There are several meta tags which can impact upon your website's performance in search engines.

In this article we consider the following three:

  • Meta Titles,
  • Descriptions and
  • Keywords.

And we consider:

  1. how long a Meta Tag should be;
  2. how Metadata can be viewed when using your web browser;
  3. where to add Metadata in your website;
  4. how to add Metadata to an Article.


Contents include:

How long should a Meta Tag be?
Meta Title.
Meta Description.
Meta Keywords.
Link Text.
Keyword Density.
Working with Metadata.


How long should a Meta Tag be?

70 Characters Max - but note that Google meta crawlers apparently read more than 70 characters, if you exceed this limit.

The Meta Title in a Joomla! Website is by default the Menu Link title.

You can however override this default setting via the Page Display Options in the Menu Link screen.

Read more: Meta Titles.

156 Characters Max - but note that Google shows longer descriptions in search results.

The Meta Description is a short summary of what your Article is about.

The Meta Description is created by adding text to the relevant field in the Metadata Options panel when you edit your Article via your website's control panel.

Include your Title in a slightly different form (avoid an exact copy) but also consider what is the main message you are trying to communicate and summarise it here.

Focus on the needs of your potential visitors and you will also meet the needs of the search engines. It is your potential visitors who are searching, not the search engines!

30 Keywords (search terms), 180 Characters Max.

Meta Keywords are the words and/or phrases (sometimes called search terms) used by anyone using a search engine.

For each Article in your website you can highlight your keywords using the Metadata Options panel, visible when you edit an Article.

It would appear that Google no longer puts any weight on what actually appears in the Keywords meta tags of a web page, whilst Bing still does.

Whatever, using Keywords helps you to focus on what kind of language is being used by your target audience.

Filling out the Meta Keywords field for an Article should help you to fine tune your Article content, Meta Description and Title to reflect what poeple are looking for.

This should mean that your target audience has a better chance of finding you!

55 Characters - this is a commonly expressed opinion (no hard evidence).

The consensus appears to be that 5% is a good benchmark i.e. if there are 100 words in your Article, ensure no keyword is repeated more than 4 times.

Read more: A Useful Word and Character Count Tool.

Working with Metadata

You can view the Metadata (i.e. Meta Tags) for an Article by selecting View Page Source from the options in your web browser's menu when visiting any part of your website.

Here is an example:

  <meta name="keywords" content="seo, search engine optimisation, simple seo" />
<meta name="description" content="Simple SEO: Optimise your website for the Search Engines" />
<title>Simple SEO: Optimise your website for the Search Engines</title>

Note: it is the same process for viewing Metadata for any web page in your browser.

There are also a number of useful web browser applications which will also enable you to analyse your website's search engine optimisation characteristics.

View: Useful SEO Web Links.

You can add Metadata in any one of four different website locations:

  1. the Global Configuration screen (see example here: Global Configuration)
  2. any Article screen,
  3. any Category screen, or
  4. any Menu Link screen.

Which location is best? 

Article Metadata vs Menu Link Metadata

We recommend not adding Metadata to Menu Links.

in the absence of Menu Link Metadata the Joomla! CMS will present Article Metadata to search bots.

What about Global Metadata?

Every Article should have a UNIQUE Meta Description.

For this reason we recommend that you DO NOT USE the Site Meta Description field.

Instead, leave it empty.

It is worse (we think) to project the same meta description for every page in your website than to project none.

But sometimes you want to break this rule of thumb.

Add a unique Meta Description to every PUBLIC article

Don't be lazy, add a unique meta description to every PUBLIC article.

If you have lots of articles, you will discover several 3rd Party Extensions in the JED (Joomla! Extension Directory) that will generate a meta description from the introductory text in any one article.

Think SEO when you write your opening sentence(s) and you will be writing a meta description.

Once done, copy it into the meta description field of the article.

Global Configuration: Site Tab

The image below is taken from the Global Configuration screen.

Read more: Global Configuration.

global config metadata settings

When editing an Article, the location of Metadata Options fields varies depending upon whether you are signed into your website's control panel or the front end.


When editing an Article, the Description and Keyword Fields are displayed ON THE RIGHT of the Content Editor Panel.



Front End

When editing an Article, the Description and Keyword Fields are displayed BELOW the Content Editor Panel.

Useful Links to FREE Web Marketing Resources

There are lots of FREE SEO tools out there to help you deliver content in a search engine friendly way.

Read more: Useful SEO Web Links.



We offer advice for how to improve your search engine ranking. We do not offer any guarantees that your rankings will improve as a result of this advice.