Meta tags. Every website should have them. Here is a quick overview of meta tags as Google explains them.
Meta tags are a great way to provide search engines with information about your website. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest. Meta tags are added to the
<head> section of your HTML page and generally look like this:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN”
<META NAME=”Description” CONTENT=”Author: A.N. Author, Illustrator: P. Picture, Category: Books, Price: £9.24, Length: 784 pages”>
<META http-equiv=”Content-Type” CONTENT=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>
<META NAME=”google-site-verification” CONTENT=”+nxGUDJ4QpAZ5l9Bsjdi102tLVC21AIh5d1Nl23908vVuFHs34=”/>
<title>Example Books – high-quality used books for children</title>
<META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”noindex,nofollow”>
This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results:
<meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” />
This tag is often used together with the “description”. The contents of this tag are generally shown as the title in search results:
<title>The Title of the Page</title>
These meta tags can control the behavior of search engine crawling and indexing. The robots meta tag applies to all search engines, while the “googlebot” meta tag is specific to Google. The default values are “index, follow” (the same as “all”) and do not need to be specified. We understand the following values (when specifying multiple values, separate them with a comma):
- noindex: prevents the page from being indexed
- nofollow: prevents the Googlebot from following links from this page
- nosnippet: prevents a snippet from being shown in the search results
- noodp: prevents the alternative description from the ODP/DMOZ from being used
- noarchive: prevents Google from showing the Cached link for a page.
- unavailable_after:[date]: lets you specify the exact time and date you want to stop crawling and indexing of this page
- noimageindex: lets you specify that you do not want your page to appear as the referring page for an image that appears in Google search results.
You can now also specify this information in the header of your pages using the “X-Robots-Tag” HTTP header directive. This is particularly useful if you wish to limit indexing of non-HTML files like graphics or other kinds of documents.
<meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” />
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />
When contents of a page are not in the language that the user is likely to want to read, Google often provides a link to a translation in the search results. However, there may be situations where this is not desired. This meta tag tells Google that you don’t want us to provide a translation for this page:
<meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />
This meta tag sends the user to a new URL after a certain amount of time, and is sometimes used as a simple form of redirection. However, it is not supported by all browsers and can be confusing to the user. The W3C recommends that this tag not be used. We recommend using a server-side 301 redirect instead:
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />