View Full Version : Having Meta tags in a website

01-22-2004, 07:15 PM
I was asked to put some Meta tags in our website so that search engines can pick up the site during a search and indexing. So I checked some websites and got the following meta tags:

<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="apple, orange, chair">
<meta NAME="TITLE" CONTENT="Recipes, publishing">
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="some info, programming, computer">
<meta http-equiv="Page-Enter" content="revealTrans(Duration=0.25,Transition=23)">
<meta http-equiv="Page-Exit" content="revealTrans(Duration=0.25,Transition=23)">
<meta name="Rating" content="General" />
<meta name="revisit-after" content="5 Days" />
<meta name="doc-class" content="Living Document" />
<meta name="ROBOTS" content="all">

Do I have to put all of these tags? What kind of things should go in keywords and description?

01-22-2004, 07:25 PM
Avoid the keywords meta tag - it is used by only a very few search engines; mostly older, minor search engines. Google may give you a penalty for using it, but never uses it itself - a mechanism against SOE abuse. So, don't use it.

01-22-2004, 07:29 PM
Thanks liorean. I didnt know about this - keyword is not used and google.... So what are the best tags I can put in my website. I dont want to get into any trouble. We are mostly targeting google, yahoo, etc.
Is there any website I can read about this in detail?

01-22-2004, 07:35 PM
This is always a good place to start:

01-22-2004, 07:46 PM
Thank you very much. I will check it out. :)

Grant Palin
01-22-2004, 08:08 PM
If you can't use keywords, then how do search engines find websites?

01-22-2004, 08:26 PM
Yeh, I also talked to a friend and he said search engines search by the keywords. So how google does the searching?

01-22-2004, 08:39 PM
A search engine like Google requests a document, and analyzes its content. Looks up what words are used in titles, headings, links, counts their appearances... and ultimately, there's the PageRank algorithm, which determines your ranking in a search result list.

The problem with meta keywords is, as liorean already pointed out, that they do not reflect the actual content and invite the webmaster to spam (or to put it more politely: to optimize) their site. That's why this meta tag is essentially unreliable.

It is astonishing that the popular myth that webdevelopers need to use this meta tag to create a searchengine-friendly page is so long-lived.

01-22-2004, 08:48 PM
ok thanks. So what about the META NAME="description" tag? That can also have some bad description?

Are they both (keyword and description) kind of similar in function?

01-22-2004, 10:44 PM
Yup description as well.. Google just takes an exerpt from your page in it's cache if it finds the matchine words anyway so all you need is the content basically and of course to submit it to the search engines for spidering.

This maybe of use ---

01-23-2004, 04:58 PM
Yeah, keywords are not used as often as the words you enter in your meta TITLE or even in your meta DESCRIPTION, but there are still a few who DO use keywords so it's up to you if you want to eliminate yourself from them by not using keywords.

These meta tags also help your page be indexed, followed, archived, etc:

<meta name="robots" content="index,follow,archive,imageindex,imageclick" />
<meta name="googlebot" content="index,follow,archive" />

Note that not all search engines use "archive", "imageindex" or "imageclick", but for those that do - it's good to tell them how you want your page to be treated.

With my personal website, I want only the index/start page to show up in search engines. So on my index page, I use these:
<meta name="robots" content="index,nofollow,archive,imageindex,imageclick" />
<meta name="googlebot" content="index,nofollow,archive" />

Then on all of my other pages that I don't want indexed (overkill really), I remove the keywords & description meta tags, & use these to make them invisible to search engines:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow,noarchive,noimageindex,noimageclick" />
<meta name="googlebot" content="noindex,nofollow,noarchive" />

index - basically means you want the page indexed/included in search engines. imageindex is similar - relating to images on the page.

follow - means links on the page are crawled/visited & checked out, not just the current page in question. imageclick is similar - relating to clickable images on the page.

archive - Microsoft search is a good example of this... shows a thumbnail/snapshot of the page.

For more information, just do a search for "meta tags", "googlebot", etc. There's tons of sites out there that explains this in detail, as I'm not so good with the explanations. :thumbsup:

02-02-2004, 12:41 AM
Your document should begin with a !DOCTYPE (this tells the browser what sort of HTML is in the file) followed by the <html> and <head> tags:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">

For your page to actually be valid you MUST declare the character encoding (lets the browser know whether to use A to Z letters (Latin alphabet), or Chinese, Japanese, Thai, or Arabic script, or some other character set) used for the page, with something like:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

There are also other schemes such as UTF-8 and many others.

It is also a good idea to declare what "human" language the page is in, using:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="EN-GB">

The language and country codes come from ISO 4217 and ISO 3166. This is useful for online translation tools as well. Change the "en" and "gb" to whatever language and country you need.

You need a <title> element for the page:

<title> Your Title Here </title>

This is displayed at the top of the browser window, and stored as the name of the bookmark if someone bookmarks the page URL in their browser. Most importantly, it is the <title> tag that is indexed and displayed by search engines in the search results page (SERPs).

You need the meta description tag, and it is useful but not vital to have a meta keywords tag:

<meta name="Description" content=" Your Description Here. ">
<meta name="Keywords" content=" your, keyword, list, here ">

A lot of people include this one now. I started doing it a few months back as well:
<meta http-equiv="Content-Style-Type" content="text/css">

Most search engines do obey the robots meta tag. The default robots action is index, follow (index the page, follow all outbound links) so if you want something else (3 possibilities) then add the robots tag to the page in question. If you want to exclude whole directories then use the robots.txt file for this instead of marking every HTML file with the tag.

02-02-2004, 06:35 PM
Originally posted by giz
If you want to exclude whole directories then use the robots.txt file for this instead of marking every HTML file with the (meta) tag.

The only problem with using a robots.txt file is you have to own/have a domain to use this luxury. If you have a subdomain (like most free/personal websites), such as www.domain.com/~member or www.domain.com/users/~member (etc), chances are you won't be able to use robots.txt.
In that case, your best bet is to use meta tags on your pages that specify if it should be indexed, followed, and/or archived. I know it can be a pain when you've got a lot of pages, but for some - it's the only option. (Good thing they invented FIND/REPLACE and/or COPY/PASTE.) :D