Meta Tags – What They Are and How to Use Them

Introduction

Meta tags are lines of HTML code or “tags” that, among other things, describe the content of your site to the search engines. This is where you will enter the key words that will facilitate the life of the user in the time for you to find, for example. Through them, you can also “subscribe” their site, declaring their ownership over the source code.

Each time more the search engines take into consideration the quality of content in search results,and so to simply add meta tags in your page’s source code will not improve the positioning of it.However, meta tags still have their place if used correctly.

In this article we will look at the key meta tags and their functions.

How to use meta tags

Introduction

Meta tags are lines of HTML code or “tags” that, among other things, describe the content of your site to the search engines. This is where you will enter the key words that will facilitate the life of the user in the time for you to find, for example. Through them, you can also “subscribe” their site, declaring their ownership over the source code.

Each time more the search engines take into consideration the quality of content in search results,and so to simply add meta tags in your page’s source code will not improve the positioning of it.However, meta tags still have their place if used correctly.

In this article we will look at the key meta tags and their functions.

 

How to use meta tags

The meta tags must be included in your HTML code, inside of the tag <head>, as the following example shows:

We will understand better the instructions “less obvious”, this is, keywords and description:

keywords

In this tag you should include a number of words that refer to the content of the page. Keep the limit of approximately 150 characters. If you do not use the same words, try to use synonyms. Never break a line of keywords, because your code snippet will be considered an error and will be ignored. Always separate words with a comma and declare all them in lowercase – some search engines have problems with uppercase letters, and may ignore your site.

<meta name=”keywords” content=”sites, web, desenvolvimento, html, design”>

Personally, I usually include the terms in the singular and in the plural (site, sites). In the case of words accented, I ignore the accent or I use the accented characters in HTML (“maintenance” is “maintenance” or “maintenance.&nbsp;&web site build;”).

Unfortunately, some developers have made evil use of this resource in the past, the that causes some robots and spiders do not give a lot of attention to meta tags keywords. If you do not have more so much influence on the results of the main search engines, meta tags keywords can still help you categorize the content of your page. Therefore, always use your keywords consistent with your content, and never add items only to appear best in the search, after all you know that when the user enters your site and can’t find the that was “promised” will appear quickly on the page. In addition, the search engines improve their search algorithms each day, and a change that will apparently help you can disrupt and very.

description

One or two phrases that the search engine will present as a summary of the content of your site. Try to keep a limit of approximately 90 characters.

<meta name=”description” content=” Meta Tags – O que são e como utilizá-las – Um artigo para iniciantes”>

Alone, the meta tags do not make miracles in the disclosure from their site: give a lot of importance to your content in the first place. Is the double content well presented + constant update, which will make the user always come back. A title consistent with the content and explanatory also help.

Take care of your links: try to insert addresses only for pages with subjects related to your content,and try to be “linked” back. How much more pages relevant to the same subject as your site appears, the better it will be in the ranking of search engines.

 

Hiding your site from search engines

Today is a little obsolete to use meta tags to hide certain pages of your site of search engines. For best results, you can try using a file robots.txt (link in English).

As important as knowing the usefulness of the keywords tag is know how to use the tag robots. The function of this is to inform the search engines if they should index your page or not. It seems contradictory to talk about this, but, in fact, block your site can have there own advantages.

When you use pop-ups or iframes to show the content of your site, for example, is not interesting that the search engine index those pages, after all, if they are accessed individually, not will mean nothing and will not visitation relevant to your site. Can also be interesting to not index your site when the content is restricted to a group of people and do not need disclosure or when you want to make a blog more reserved, for example. These cases, even if other people make links for your site, it will not appear in any search (in fact, this may depend on of internal criteria of the searcher).

The possible values for this tag are:

<meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”index,nofollow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noarchive”>

Here, the values “index” and “noindex” refer to the homepage: if the seeker should or not include it in the results, respectively.

Already the values of “follow” and “nofollow” refer to the links on the home page, if they should be visited and indexed or not.

Therefore:

<meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow”>

Indexes the home page and all the pages therein referenced.

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”>

The above statement does not index the home page, but indexes the pages it referenced.

<meta name=”robots” content=”index,nofollow”>

The previous statement indexes the home page, but no existing link to it.

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>

Finally, the above statement does not index nor the page the initial, and not your links.

Therefore, if you want to avoid that the search engines are your site, use the last option. However, if you you want only the Google cannot find your site or if you want to remove a page of your search results from the next scan, you can use the following tag:

<meta name=”googlebot” content=”noindex,nofollow”>

Most of the search engines stores a copy of your page in the cache, to optimize the search. To avoid this, you can use the tag the following:

<meta name=”robots” content=”noarchive”>

However, remember that in addition to accelerating the search, store a the cached copy has for the purpose of providing the result to the user if your site is experiencing any technical problem. Use this tag only if the content of your web site is very specific as to this necessity.

 

More than publicize your site in the search engines

The meta tags don’t serve only to advertise your content. Basically, the function of which is to provide information additional about your site. Let’s know better some meta tags interesting.

content-language

Specifies the primary language of the page. Useful to help the search engine to rank your site in the appropriate language, steer the browsers to display diacritics and special characters correctly, and to facilitate the use of spell checkers.

Some possible values:

pt Portuguese
pt-br Portuguese (Brazilian)
en English
en-us US English
en-gb British English
fr French
de German
es Spanish
it Italian
ru Russian
zh Chinese
ja Japanese

An example using the value “pt-br”:

<meta http-equiv=”content-language” content=”pt-br”>

content-type

Specifies the content type of the page, and the set of characters that he uses. It is recommended to use this target tag on all the pages of your site, because it ensures that the browsers will treat your document in the most appropriate way, especially when you use forms to send information between pages. For anyone who develops pages in oriental languages, use the character set that is appropriate is fundamental to that they are displayed correctly.

The most common values are:

<meta http-equiv=”content-type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>

Where:

text/html defines what the content is a text in language HTML. If you develop web sites in XHTML, or XML, you surely know that should apply the values “application/xhtml+xml” and “application/xml”, respectively.

iso-8859-1 is the encoding of the language more common to display text in languages derived from Latin.

author

By means of meta tags, you can also declare your authorship on the page, “signing” your source code:

I think this tag is very important. It can be useful when any user searches for your name in a search engine or when the site of your client does not have a direct contact with you developer for some reason.

<meta name=”author” content=”Erika Sarti”>

Unfortunately, we work with the risk of customers not paying for our work, for which reason it is also important to keep a tag with your name in the website’s code to help prove it was developed by you.

reply-to

Specifies an e-mail to enter in contact with the responsible for the site.

<meta name=”reply-to” content=”[email protected]”>

generator

Have you ever noticed that when you edit a page HTML is made in FrontPage or in Word, it is often the program that the generated that opens for editing, and not notepad or your editor non-default visual? This is because the meta tag generator, which specifies the program that built the page:

<meta name=”generator” content=”Microsoft FrontPage 5.0″>

That is the way the operating system knows which editor to use, and that show icon to view a file .htm or .html in a folder.

 

Redirecting the visitor to another page

Any time you should have already visited a site that changed address and displays a message of the type:

You will be redirected to a new site in 5 seconds.
If you do not want to wait, click here.

This redirection can be done with meta tag, by means of a single line:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=” 5 ;url=http://www.novosite.com/”>

That is, after 5 seconds, the browser will be redirected for the address www.novosite.com.

This same tag is used to automatically update a dynamic page as the home page of a portal or the session for a news site, for example. In this case, the range of time in seconds must be greater, and the URL should be the address the web site itself to be up to date.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”120;url=http://www.seusite.com/”>

Remember, only use this feature with caution, because a page that is automatically updated can stop the activity of the the user, leaving him angry.

Redirection with PHP and code 301

Although the instructions in the topic above work, experts in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google itself recommend that every time you have to move a page permanently, do so using the 301 code. This procedure provides the greatest assurance that the seeker will understand that it is a redirection, decreasing the chances of problems in the indexing of the site

Thus, every time the user access the old address, it will be automatically redirected to the link informed in the Location.

Ending

Meta tags are interesting for your site, but not are the most important. You should prioritize the provision good content and, of course, avoid to deceive or confuse your user. To believe that only a good job in meta tags will be enough for your site to be well indexed is a mistake, because, as I have already informed in the text, the search engines are increasingly prepared to identify “tricks”. So, use meta tags, but also look for work with good practices. You you can meet some of them in our already-referenced article about Search Engine Optimization.

Meta Tags – What They Are and How to Use Them 1

Meta Tags – What They Are and How to Use Them
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