This is a guest post and the views of the author do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of webmaisterpro.com. The author, Brian Nixon, writes for Pitstop Media Inc, a top rated Canadian SEO company.
Meta tags used to play a crucial role to get better rankings for your web pages in search engines. Using meta tags is still one of the most common SEO or search engine optimization tactics deployed by webmasters and for good reasons – some will affect crawling and indexing.
Meta tags are inserted after into the head section of a page. These tags are helpful for crawlers, search engines and other user agents.
Some of the commonly used meta tags include
- Meta keywords tag (not used by search engines for rankings purposes anymore)
- Meta description tag (still used for rankings but not as much as it used to)
- Meta robots tag (useful to provide guidance to search engine bots)
- Meta author tag (that’s going to help your picture show up in the search results)
- Meta refresh tag (to be avoided)
- Meta copyright tag (no god damn scraper will give a darn about it)
- Meta title tag (not really a meta tag, but commonly used as one)
The usefulness of meta tags comes from the fact that they provide information to search engine spiders and web browsers. Using meta tags and incorporating keywords cannot assure top ranking in search engine results. It is just a way to give hints to search engines on what to look for on a page, who the author of the page is and so on. They can also specify when the content was last modified and by which author. Here is an example of how meta tags look like:
Search Engine Marketing Pros
Out of all these tags, the title tag is visible to the users. It can be seen on the tab of your browser. The title tag can also be seen when users add the website to their “bookmarks” or “favourites”.
How to use these meta tags for SEO?
Now that we know what meta tags are and how helpful they are, it is important to understand how to use them the right way. Check the examples below.
Meta Keyword Tag
The correct usage is actually not to use it. I am not kidding. Search engines do not use at all for rankings and you will only provide clues to your competitors.
Meta Title Tag
This is the most important HTML elements for SEO, but many people get confused between Title Tag and Meta Title attribute. The difference here is in the way both are expressed and their effectiveness can be seen in terms of SEO.
The Title element syntax is:
Page Title Goes Here
The title attribute is written as:
Syntax: your link
The title attribute doens’t get indexed by major search engines and don’t play any role with SEO but, it help impaired people understand what a page is.
Meta Description Tag
A meta description tag is where you can mention in brief, what your web page is all about. However, you must ensure that you express this in limited number of characters. The search engine robots use the meta description tag to determine whether or not, the searched phrase is present in your website.
Meta Robots Tag
This tag tells the search engine robots whether to scan and/or index the content of a web page or not. Here are some examples of meta robots tag and their use.
1) NOINDEX - This syntax is used for web pages that include many links, but no useful data, like a site map.
Syntax: means do not index this page
2) NOFOLLOW - This is used for web pages that include useful content but contain links to pages which are not supposed to receive Page Rank.
Syntax: - this tells search engines not to pass link juice the all the destination links on that page
3) NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW – It is used for sections of a website that should not be indexed and should not have links followed. This allows for better access control, like a password, for better security.
4) INDEX, FOLLOW – Being a default behaviour, you do not need to include these.
Meta Author Tag
This tag includes the author name of the web page. The e-mail id of the author can also be entered into this meta tag. However, it is important to know that, major search engines like MSN, Yahoo or Google does not support this type of meta tag.
When properly implemented your URLs in Google’s search results may contain your picture:
Meta Refresh Tag
The meta redirect or meta refresh tag is a tool for redirecting or reloading web pages. This tag needs to be placed within the head of HTML document. S, if you want the page to be refreshed in every 30 seconds, the syntax would look like this -
In case you want to redirect to a different website, the syntax will look like this -
It is advisable to avoid using this kind of redirects and actually implement redirects using server side scripting or 301 redirects.
Meta Copyright Tag
This tag includes a trademark, copyright, patent or any other information that is a part of intellectual property. However, you must be aware of the fact that this tag will not protect your intellectual property or the content of your website. If you want security of your intellectual property, it will be wise to consult your attorney.
Other useful things to remember
While using meta tags, you don't need to index each and every file on your website. Also, you must ensure that the description tag does not restate the page title. It should give a brief overview of the content that is available on the web page. A description tag can also be used for creating dynamic documents.
With a successful strategy and appropriate use of meta tags, you can ensure good ranking of your website in the search engine results