Most people just starting out creating a website get caught up with meta-tags. It is an easy place to put information about yourself, your website, your products…but really, who is reading this stuff? In most cases, NOBODY…except your competitors!
Part 5! We are half-way there. (And if you are ansy, you can watch all of the parts 1-10 right now at SEOExciter.com -> Mastering SEO and Free Google Traffic).
And today, I want to talk a bit about “misconceptions” of SEO, and mainly, the “other meta tags”. One of the biggest points I want to make about meta tags is that really they don’t have much to do with SEO, at least directly or in a positive manner.
We’ve talked about the keyword meta-tag and why it is essentially useless in the major search engines of today.
We’ve also talked about the importance of the Title tag, which IS a meta tag, but then again it is not.
What about the “other tags”?
One that is fairly important is the description meta-tag. It looks something like this:
<meta name="description" content="A description of your page" />
We’ve talked about this a bit in our post Do Meta-Tags Help Top Search Engine Ranking. We also discuss in that post the effectiveness of robots meta-tags, how they can PREVENT spiders and why they are really not needed.
But let’s get a bit deeper here. What about things like re-freshes?
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;url=http://example.com/" />
Where the 5 (in red) is the time to refresh in seconds and the URL (in blue) is where to redirect the page.
Personally, I am not a fan of these, and this is because it has a lot of “black hat” applications to it, which can cause major search engines to think twice about your intentions. Does this work? Absolutely. But their are some security holes (like origin or new resource information, or lack) which can cause viewers and spiders very suspicious on your intent.
If you want to use redirects, I suggest you read up on htaccess files, 301 redirects and 302 redirects. There is a good wiki about it here).
What about things like zipcode meta-tags, city meta-tags, and country meta-tags? Do they help in the “local results”?
Not really! In fact, NONE of the listings shown above has any location meta-tags to speak of. (Check out the Google Local Business Center for more information about this listings!)
What do we have left?
- MS tags (from Microsoft tools)
Those don’t do squat.
Lastly, there are a few “old fashioned” ones like:
All of these CAN play a role in how your site in ranked, but not for the positive (and in some cases, they are ignored like the other ones as well).
My moral is quite simple: Most meta-tags don’t do anything! Make sure you have a title tag. Make sure you have a description. Beyond that, I wouldn’t be wasting too much time with meta-tags. The were created at the infancy of the internet and now they are just outdated text that is wasting valuable bandwidth and provides your competitors with more information about your website than they need to know.
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