What are Meta Tags and How to Use Them Properly?
What are meta tags?
Have you known before another meta tags for SEO, except ordinary descriptions and keywords? Here we have selected meta tags example that were divided into three categories: good, bad, and, so-called, indifferent (those which you can either use or no). While reading, you will find out that a number of the bad ones is much bigger than from the rest, and, although it is not possible to make a list of all the existing HTML meta tags, you can always find an additional meta tag source, where you can have more.
The best advice we can give you as for now is that you do not need to add an extra meta tag just to fill in the space because the quantity doesn’t mean quality. In addition, you should always think of coding in terms of how it will look in your browser and whether it can help you to get somewhere.
- We can’t say that these tags can influence your site badly, but they are definitely just a waste of space.
- Author tag – specifies who is an author of the page, thus do you really need this?
- Generator tag – if you need to emphasize what program has generated your page, then you can use this tag, but in our opinion, it’s quite useless.
- Resource type tag – is used in order to specify what type of a source your page is, but for saving time DTD can be used instead.
- Revisit after tag – gives Google robots a direction of returning to the page once more after some time but it isn’t followed by many popular SE.
- Rating tag – helps with adding an age restriction for your content, but we still think that the best way to deal with adult images is by placing them in an isolated directory placed away from the ordinary images on a site and also notifying Google about them.
- Distribution tag – is used when you need to change the accessibility of the document and in most cases has a “global” mode, thus if your page is open it means it is open for the world.
- Abstract tag – is used when placing an abstract from some content.
- Date/expiration tags – the date one is used in order of specifying a date when the page was created, while expiration – when it expires. But far more useful is removing pages when they expire on your own and having XML sitemap that is constantly updating.
- Copyright tag – if you already have it in the footer, why to use it once more?
- Cache control tag – help you to control the time and period when cached pages are in a browser, but most preferably to do this in an HTTP header.
- This type of meta tags should be used on every page, this is not a full list of them, but you really should use at least these:
- Meta title – this is also a very important element of any SEO optimization as it is placed in the header and contains the most important data. The only rule here is to craft an exclusive title for every page.
- Meta description – this meta tag serves as a description of the page in the SERPs. Although it doesn’t influence a site ranking directly, it is still very important, as it is aiming at forcing a user to click on to visit your site. To write a perfect description you should follow several tips: it should be about 160 characters and must be catchy.
- Meta content type tag – should be used on every page as it shows page character set and its omission can influence a browser page rendering. Here are several variants, but an experienced web designer can choose the best option for a site as well.
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
- Viewport – in our technical era this is a really important tag if you want your site to have a good mobile UX. You can use such tool as Google PageSpeed Insights Tool if you want to get detailed information. Otherwise, the standard tag is this:
<meta name=viewport content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1">
- These tags are not mandatory to use, and you would better avoid them if there are no special cases for them.
- Social meta tags – the information from Twitter and OpenGraph in most cases is crucial, but not mandatory.
- Language tag – you can use it in case you need to indicate a language used on the page, e.g. if you are moving to the other country.
- Specific bots tag – serves for giving bots instructions like noodp (telling them that DMOZ listing data is forbidden to use) and noydir (quite the same, but here Yahoo Directory listing information). Frankly, the search engines can do this on their own, but if you really think this is what you need, then do it.
- Robots – some specialists really think that this is an obligatory meta tag. But let’s figure it out: speaking of indexing, if you do not add robots meta tag, the bots will read it as index follows. If you really need to change this command, then you can use robots tags. In case you wish to noindex regardless following links on the page, then you need to use this tag with noindex.
<meta name="robots" content="noindex" />
- Refresh tag – is a variation of redirect that you should avoid using by no means. The best variant is good old 301 redirect even if you need the steps be taken ASAP.
- Keywords tag – good SEO strategies do not recommend using it because there is little chance it will help you somehow, thus if it is automatically used when creating a site, then leave it, if no – do not add it at all.
- GEO tag – is treated to be supported by Bing search engine and there are three types of it: region, position and placename.
<META NAME="geo.position" CONTENT="latitude; longitude">
<META NAME="geo.region" CONTENT="Country Subdivision Code">
<META NAME="geo.placename" CONTENT="Place Name">
- Site verification tag – sometimes it is obligatory in order to authorize a site with Google, you can use an external file, DNS one or just by linking to your Google Analytics profile; if with Bing – meta tag and XML file verification are possible, but XML one is preferable.
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