How to Add Meta Tags in WordPress?
9 min.

Let’s explore the crucial role of meta tags in web development and SEO within the WordPress environment. These snippets of text in a page’s code aren’t visible on the page itself, yet are essential for how content is displayed and indexed by search engines and social media platforms. 

We will cover the different types and their importance in enhancing your site’s SEO and user experience. So, how to add meta tags in WordPress? Let’s see!

Preparing to Add Meta Tags

Before adding snippets to your WordPress site, it’s important to understand your theme’s structure and ensure you have the necessary access for modifications:

  • WordPress Theme Structure: Familiarize yourself with your WordPress theme, particularly the header.php file, as this is where the snippets are often added.
  • Child Themes: If using a child theme, edit the files there to preserve changes during parent theme updates.
  • HTML and PHP Knowledge: Basic understanding of HTML and PHP is helpful, as editing theme files involves these languages. You may require professional help here from people experienced in WP site customization. 

For access:

  • Theme File Access: Access theme files through the WordPress dashboard under ‘Appearance’ > ‘Theme Editor’, or use an FTP client.
  • Permissions: Make sure you have the required permissions to edit theme files, which may involve administrative access to your WordPress site or FTP credentials.
  • Using Plugins: If editing code is outside your comfort zone, use WordPress SEO plugins like Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, or Rank Math to add snippets.
  • Backup Your Site: Always create a backup before making changes to easily revert if needed.

The preparation involves understanding your theme’s structure, ensuring access to edit files or settings, and deciding whether to directly edit theme files or use plugins. This preparation is vital for the successful implementation of snippets for search engine optimization enhancement.

Preparing to Add Meta Tags

Method 1: Adding Elements Manually

How to add meta tags in WordPress without plugin? For those who prefer a hands-on approach or want maximum control over their site’s SEO, adding snippets manually to your WordPress theme is a viable option. This method involves editing the header.php file of your theme to include the elements directly. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Accessing the WordPress Theme Editor

  • Navigate to Theme Editor: In your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Appearance’ > ‘Theme Editor’. This opens the editor where you can modify the files of your active theme.
  • Select the Correct Theme: Ensure you’re working on the correct theme. If you’re using a child theme, make sure it’s the active one.

Locating the Header.php File

  • Find Header.php: On the right side of the Theme Editor, you’ll see a list of theme files. Look for header.php and click on it to open the file for editing.

Adding Basic Elements to the Head Section

  • Insert Tags: In the header.php file, locate the <head> section. This is where you’ll add your meta tags. Basic meta tags include:


<meta name="description" content="Your site description here" />


 <meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, keyword3" />


<meta name="robots" content="index, follow" />

Here’s the list of additional tag examples:

<meta charset="UTF-8"/>
<meta name='language' content='EN' />

Define the author of a page:

<meta name="author" content="John Doe"/>
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"/>

Facebook Tags

<meta property="og:title" content="The Rock" />
<meta property="og:type" content="" />
<meta property="og:url" content="" />
<meta property="og:image" content="" />

Twitter Tags

<meta name="twitter:card" content="summary" />
<meta name="twitter:site" content="@nytimesbits" />
<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@nickbilton" />

Replace the content attribute with your site’s relevant information.

Customize as Needed: Depending on your search engine optimization strategy, you can add other meta tags like Open Graph tags for social media or specific elements for verification purposes.

Saving Changes and Verifying the Addition

  • Save Your Changes: After adding the elements, click on ‘Update File’ to save your changes.
  • Verify the Addition: To check if the meta tags have been added successfully, visit your website, right-click on the page, and select ‘View Page Source’ or similar. Look for the elements in the source code to confirm they are present.
  • Use Testing Tools: You can use the tools such as CheckSERP and OpenGraph
Saving Changes and Verifying the Addition

Important Considerations

  • Be Cautious: Editing theme files can be risky. A small mistake can cause site issues. Always back up your site before making changes.
  • Child Theme: If updates are made to the parent theme, your changes could be overwritten. Using a child theme is recommended for direct edits.

Adding snippets manually gives you full control over what you add and how it’s presented, making it a preferred method for those comfortable with editing theme files.

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Method 2: Using a WordPress SEO Plugin

For those who prefer a more user-friendly approach to SEO, or who are not comfortable editing theme files directly, using a WordPress search engine optimization plugin is an excellent alternative. These plugins provide an intuitive interface for adding and managing meta tags without the need for coding. Here’s how you can leverage popular SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and All in One SEO Pack for this purpose:

Introduction to Popular SEO Plugins

  • Yoast SEO: One of the most widely used plugins, Yoast SEO offers comprehensive tools for optimizing your site, including easy snippet management.
  • All in One SEO Pack: Another popular choice, this plugin provides a suite of tools, including features for adding and customizing snippets.
  • Rank Math: A newer entrant in the SEO plugin space, Rank Math is gaining popularity for its user-friendly interface and extensive feature set.

Installing and Activating an SEO Plugin

  • Choose a Plugin: Decide which SEO plugin suits your needs best.
  • Install the Plugin: In your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add New’. Search for the plugin by name, then click ‘Install Now’.
  • Activate the Plugin: After installation, click ‘Activate’ to start using the plugin on your site.
Installing and Activating an SEO Plugin

Configuring the Plugin to Add Meta Tags Automatically

  • Access Plugin Settings: Once activated, you’ll find the plugin settings in your WordPress dashboard. This is usually a new menu item with the plugin’s name.
  • Add Snippets: Each plugin has a slightly different interface, but generally, you’ll find options to add meta descriptions, meta keywords, and control other SEO aspects under titles and metadata settings.
  • Configure Post and Page Level Settings: Most SEO plugins allow you to customize snippets for each post or page individually. This is typically done through the post editor.
  • Save Changes: After configuring your snippets save the changes. The plugin will automatically add these tags to your site’s pages.

Benefits of Using an SEO Plugin

  • Ease of Use: Plugins provide a more user-friendly interface for adding and managing snippets.
  • Dynamic Tags: They can generate dynamic elements based on your content, saving time and effort. How to add dynamic meta tags in WordPress without plugin? You’ll have to edit theme files directly. So we recommend using a helper.
  • Additional SEO Features: Besides snippets, these plugins offer other tools, like sitemap generation, readability checks, and more.

Using an SEO plugin in WordPress simplifies the process of adding and managing snippets, making it accessible even for those with limited technical expertise.

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Method 3: Using a Dedicated Meta Tag Plugin

In WordPress design and development, it’s not uncommon to use plugins dedicated to one function. If you’re looking for a focused solution specifically for snippet management, separate from the broader scope of SEO plugins, a dedicated meta tag plugin is an excellent choice. These plugins are designed to provide straightforward functionality for adding and managing meta tags on your WordPress site. Here’s how you can utilize these plugins effectively:

Finding and Installing a Meta Tag Management Plugin

  • Research for a Suitable Plugin: Look for plugins that are dedicated to SEO element management. Some popular options include ‘Add Meta Tags’, ‘Meta Tag Manager’, and ‘WP Meta SEO’.
  • Install the Plugin: In your WordPress dashboard, go to ‘Plugins’ > ‘Add New’. Search for the chosen plugin, click ‘Install Now’, and then ‘Activate’ once the installation is complete.

Adding Global Meta Tags for the Entire Site

  • Access Plugin Settings: After activating the plugin, navigate to its settings page. This is usually accessible from the WordPress dashboard menu.
  • Configure Global Settings: Look for options to add global snippets. These tags will apply to your entire site, including the homepage unless overridden on individual pages or posts.
  • Add Snippets: Enter the global tags, such as a site-wide meta description, meta keywords, and other relevant tags that you want to apply across your website.
  • Save Changes: After adding your global meta tags, ensure to save your settings.
Adding Global Meta Tags for the Entire Site

Creating Unique Meta Tags for Individual Posts and Pages

  • Edit Post or Page: Open the post or page where you want to add unique elements.
  • Look for Meta Tag Settings: With the plugin active, you should see additional fields or settings in your post/page editor specifically for snippets.
  • Add Unique Tags: Enter the text specific to that post or page, like a tailored description, specific keywords, and other relevant tags.
  • Save or Update the Post/Page: After adding the meta tags, save or update your content. The plugin will then apply these unique elements to that particular post or page.

Advantages of Using a Dedicated Meta Tag Plugin

  • Simplicity and Focus: These plugins are specifically designed for meta tag management, making them simpler and more straightforward to use than comprehensive SEO plugins.
  • Flexibility: They offer the flexibility to set both global and individual elements, catering to both broad and specific needs.

Using a dedicated plugin is an efficient way to manage meta tags on your WordPress site, especially if you want a focused tool without the additional features of full-fledged SEO plugins.

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Best Practices for Meta Tags

These elements are essential for SEO and user engagement, guiding search engines in understanding and presenting your page content. Here’s a summary of best practices:


  • Be Descriptive and Concise: Summarize the page in about 155 characters, making it engaging and relevant.
  • Include Keywords: Use primary keywords for relevance, but know they are less critical for rankings.
  • Unique for Each Page: Ensure each page has its own description to avoid duplicates and reflect specific content.
  • Encourage Clicks: Craft descriptions that motivate users to click through to your website.


  • Limited Relevance: Once the key for rankings, meta keywords have lost significance in search engine algorithms.
  • Use Sparingly: If used, they should be highly relevant to your content but focus more on content quality than on meta keywords.

Robots Tags:

  • Control Indexing: Use index or noindex tags to guide search engines on whether to include a page in search results.
  • Follow or Nofollow Links: Dictate if search engines should follow links on a page, with nofollow used for links you don’t want to endorse.
  • Use Wisely: Incorrect use can negatively impact SEO. For instance, a noindex tag on a crucial page can prevent it from appearing in search results.

By following these practices, you can improve your site’s SEO and visibility in search results, ensuring a better user experience for visitors from search engines.

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How Do I Add Meta Tags in WordPress Without Plugins?

To do so, you have to manually edit your theme’s header.php file. Access your site’s files using an FTP client or your hosting file manager, find the header.php file in your theme’s folder, and insert the needed elements within the <head> section. Ensure you backup your files before editing to avoid any site issues.

How Do I Add a Meta Description in WordPress?

To add a description in WordPress, you can either use an SEO plugin like Yoast SEO, All in One SEO Pack, or Rank Math, which offer user-friendly interfaces for adding meta descriptions to posts or pages. Alternatively, you can manually insert a description tag in the header.php file of your theme using the format: <meta name=”description” content=”Your page description here”>.

Where Do I Edit Meta Tags in WordPress?

In WordPress, you can edit tags either by manually editing the header.php file in your theme or by using an SEO plugin, where you can modify snippets in the plugin’s settings, typically within the post or page editor.

Are Meta Tags Included in WordPress by Default?

By default, WordPress includes some basic elements like the charset tag. But how to add custom meta tags in WordPress? For specific SEO tags like descriptions or custom keywords, you typically need to add them manually or use an SEO plugin.

How to edit the WordPress title tag?

To edit the WordPress title tag, you can indeed use the wp_title filter, which is applied within your theme’s functions.php file. This method allows for dynamic modification of the title tag based on specific conditions or page types. For instance, you can customize the tag differently for single posts, categories, or the homepage.


Meta tags are essential for SEO and optimizing your WordPress site, helping to guide how search engines display your content. 

How to add meta tags to posts in WordPress? This guide has covered different methods to do so, from manual edits in theme files to using SEO plugins, and discussed best practices for descriptions, keywords, and robots tags. 

While they’re only a part of a broader SEO strategy, snippets are vital for enhancing site visibility, user engagement, and search rankings. By implementing the techniques outlined here, you can effectively use these elements to optimize your WordPress site and boost its performance online.

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