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Never use META tag in html, syntax.

The meta html tag. A concept from the past.
written by: Jon Berg. <jon.berg |a| turtlemeat.com>


This page will give an introduction to the consept of the meta html-tag, the syntax, and a comment on why you should not use it. The idea behind the HTML-tag META is that the editor of a html document should be able to specify additional information that is relevant for the document. This information is meant for either the browser or search engine crawlers.

How it works:

The meta-tag is placed in between the <head></head> tags. Here are some examples of uses:

<meta name="DESCRIPTION" content="Everything you need to know about making cool webpages.">
This tag would give a textual description what the webpage is about.

<meta name="KEYWORDS" content="chocolate, history of chocolate, brands, best prices">
This tag would give a hint about what keywords are relevant for the document.

<meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX">
This tag would give a message to a search engine crawler that you do not want the particular document included in a search engine.

<meta name="ROBOTS" content="INDEX,FOLLOW">
You could use this to give a message to a search engine crawler that you want to have the page and the links on the page included in a search engine.

<meta name="revisit-after" content="30 days"></meta>
This indicates when you want a search crawler to return to the page.

<meta name="expires" content="6 December 2059"></meta>
This indicate that the information is not valid after the given date.

<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache"></meta>
Tells the browser that the page should be reloaded every time it is visited.

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="10; url=https://www.turtlemeat.com/">
Tells the browser or crawler to redirect to a url after a time delay.


<!--- start critique---> :)

Usefulness of the description and keyword meta tag

The alleged advantage of using the meta tag is that you would be able to attract more visitors to a html document from search engines by placing strategic keywords that you believe people searches for. This would be done for the description and keyword tag. It is an illusion, an urban myth that search engines pay any attention. Maybe some very small and poor search engine that nobody use consider the meta tag. The big ones do not.

Would it not be a wonderful world if you could just make a html document with little useful information and then you could write a very elaborate meta tag that described very vividly all the things it was about. Example you wanted all searches on meta tag to show your page, then you could only write "meta tag" in the keyword meta tag. You could just write a lot of bogus meta tags and you would soon own the web. If this was possible the search engines would soon break down to a pile of spam.

The algorithms used to rank search results vary, but it is mainly a combination of text match in the text content, text match in url, text match in title, and a consideration of the linkstructure leading to the document page.

Usefulness of the robots meta tag

Meta tags supported by Google




It is also believed (without any official documentation from Google) that the googlebot honors
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; url=https://www.turtlemeat.com/">
in the same way as a http response code 301. Google will redirect to the new url and crawl that instead.

The poor man's excuse

It is a very amateurish way to control what a web crawler is allowed to index using noindex and nofollow. The professional way is to use a robots.txt that defines what you want included in search engines.

The same goes for http-equiv="refresh" to redirect an old document to the new one. The professional way to do this on Apache is to use the .htaccess file and define RewriteCond and RewriteRule to redirect. This will give the HTTP response code 301 with a valid new url. This is particular useful when more than one single file, example for moving large directory structures across servers.


Do not bother with elaborate keywords and descriptions to try to fool search crawlers into thinking that your page is great. Let them find out on their own. Google is not worth 28 billion dollars because it is such a great meta tag parser.

If you want to control what content the crawler is allowed to index, you can if you do not understand how the Robots.txt work. If you want to forward the crawler from an old document to a new document, you can use the http-equiv="refresh" if you do not understand how to do forwarding with .htaccess. Solving both these things with meta tags are amateurish and should be used only as a last mean.


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