The Meta Description Tag
The Meta Description Tag is an HTML code that allows you to give a short and concise summary of your web page content. The words placed in this Meta Tag, are often used in the SERP, just below the Title Tag as a brief description of your page. In the Search Engine Results Pages, after reading the Title of the page, a user goes through the description of the page and decides whether she wants to go to your site or not. It is therefore important that your Meta Description Tag is nicely composed describing your page offering while enticing the user to click on your listing.
Syntax for Meta Description Tag is:
<meta name="description" content="Successful Meta tags: What are meta tags? Meta tag
analysis, list of all meta tags, title tag limit, creating meta tags, background meta tags. This article
covers the most important aspects of meta tags in relation to website optimization or SEO.">
Useful Tips for Writing Meta Description Tag
In case you have not provided any Meta Description Tag to your web page, the search engines try to make one for you, often using the first few words of your web page or a text selection where the keyword phrases searched by the users appear. If the Search Engine makes up a description by picking up text from your page, it is not necessary that the generated description would do justice to your web page.
The Meta Description Tag should be written in such a way that it interests the user, thus tempting her to click on the link to your site and visit your web page.
The Meta Description Tag needs to be kept brief yet informative. About 25-30 words description should do fine. Keywords and key phrases should be included in the Meta Description Tag, though care should be taken not to repeat them too often. Like the Title Tag, the Meta Description Tag should be different and customized for each page depending on the content theme of each page. For more information on Meta Description Tag, read our other article on Meta Description Tag Optimization.
The Meta Keywords Tag
Most search engines do not read the Meta Keywords Tag anymore. It is okay to ignore the Meta Keywords Tags. However, if you feel more comfortable using it, you can have about 15 important non-repetitive keywords in this Tag, separated by commas.
Syntax for Meta Keywords Tag is :
<META name="keywords" content="Keyword phrases that describe your web page">
Meta Robots Tag
The Meta Robots Tag gives you the ability to specify whether search engines should index that page or follow the links appearing on that page. However, there is no need for using Meta Robots tag if one is already using detailed robots.txt file to block any specific indexing. Read our article on Working with the robots.txt file.
The various commands used under Meta Robots Tag are:
- Index: allows the spider to index that page.
- Noindex: instructs the spider not to index the page.
- Follow: instructs the spider to follow the links from that page and index them.
- Nofollow: instructs the spider not to follow links from that page for indexing.
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow">
<meta name="robots" content="index,nofollow">
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
Note: Use only one of the above given commands.
If you have not specified any Meta Robots Tag on a page, by default, the spiders understand that the page and all the links appearing on that page are open for indexing. Therefore, it makes more sense to use this Meta Tag in case you don’t want certain parts of your web page indexed. Apart from these popular Meta Tags, there are few more Tags that are not so popular.
Meta Refresh Tag
The Meta Refresh Tag is used to redirect a visitor from one page to another or refresh the same page in a specified time. Same page refresh comes in use when the page content is changing very quickly, for example if there is a running score of a game or stock prices updates happening on that page. When inserted into an HTML document, it causes the user’s browser to load the same or a new web page after a specified number of seconds. This Meta Tag has been manipulated and is sometimes abused as a tool to “bait and switch” a user from a doorway page. To refresh the current page:
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="60">
Content = "60" denotes refresh after 60 seconds
To redirect to another page:
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="2;url=http://www.seorank.com/">
Using a Meta Refresh Tag to redirect to another page is likely to get it dropped from search engines, since this method is tagged as a doorway page in search engine algorithms. Unless you have a compelling reason to use Meta Refresh Tag, do not use it.
Meta Author Tag
The Meta Author Tag identifies the author of a particular web page. Though not highly supported, its format usually includes the name, e-mail address of the Webmaster, name of the company or the Internet address.
<META name="Author" content="Author Information">
Meta Distribution Tag
The Distribution Meta Tag identifies the level of distribution of your web page and how it should be further classified in context to the World Wide Web. The three forms of distribution supported by this Tag are:
‘Global’ specifies that your web page is for mass distribution.
‘Local’ lets you specify that your document is for local distribution only. ‘Internal Use or IU’ specifies that your document is not intended for public distribution.
Syntax for different Meta Distribution Tags (Use only one of the following):
<META name="Distribution" content="Global">
<META name="Distribution" content= “Local”>
<META name="Distribution" content= “IU”>
Meta Revisit Tag
Historically, the Meta Revisit Tag was believed to specify how often a search engine should visit a site for re-indexing. Although not proven, webmasters could indicate the frequency of how often their content changes and is ready for a reindex by search engines. These days, much as one would like to, one cannot command the re-visit frequency of any search engine, unless you go the PFI route.
<META name="Revisit-After" content="X Days">
Note: X indicates the number
List of other Meta Tags
Abstract Meta Tag: gives an overview of the entire web page in a sentence.
<META name="Abstract" content="Abstract phrase">
Copyright Meta Tag: gives copyright information about your page, which you
wish to disclose.
<META name="Copyright" content="Copyright Statement">
Expires Meta Tag: tells the search engines when the content on your web site
<META name="Expires" content="Mon, 22 Jan 2004 17:45:05 GMT">
Language Meta Tag: defines the language used on your web page.
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Language" content="EN">
Ratings Meta Tag: tells the search engines if your site is for general, restricted or
<META name= “Rating” content= “General”>