in the last article, we found a long list of HTML meta tags. In addition to essential information such as the page title, page description, and character set definition, the header can supply comprehensive information for user agents. Website owners can, therefore, use meta tags to define relevant keywords or to specify a topic for their page. Furthermore, authors and publishers can use meta tags to deposit copyright data. However, not all of this information is relevant for interactions with browsers and search bots. The situation is different with meta tags, which control the behavior of user agents by prohibiting the corresponding HTML page from being indexed or by preventing web crawlers from following outgoing links. The following section outlines the most important meta elements and their uses for website operators.
Functional meta tags
If your website is in a position to see very strong competitors next to it, we need to use other meta tags to maximize competition. These meta tags should not be ignored in such situations.
Canonical links are used when one content is accessible through multiple URLs. We can use the canonical tag to help Google and other search engines understand that there is no duplicate content and list which of these multiple URLs to show in search results.
Simply specify the original URL and paste it into other similar pages via rel = canonical. Google detects this when monitoring the site and displays your chosen version (not in all circumstances) of the search results.
Heading tags are one of the most important parts of semantic search and provide wider signals to search engines about the topic of the page and its keywords.
Search engines use a hierarchy of headings and understand the structure of the page. So these tags should be used given the importance of the headlines on the page. The H1 tag is the most important page title and the H6 is the least important.
Meta tag robots
The robots meta tag is a piece of code that is used to guide search engines in how they interact with the page. This meta tag tells search engines what to do about indexing and following the links on that page.
Other meta tags
meta tag keywords
This meta tag is only used to tell competitors your keywords. In the old days, meta tags were used to describe the keywords of each page.
As of 2002, search engines used the content of this meta tag to calculate the amount of page content associated with the search term. This factor was eventually outdated, as many webmasters were unable to correctly identify keywords on a page.
The spammers also used Google to misrepresent this part of the message, and their intention was simply to get traffic from any related or unrelated keyword. Note that this meta tag is completely outdated and no longer supported by search engines.
Social network meta tags
Such meta-tags are used to control the display of a page while sharing on social networks. Open Graph meta tags can be added to any page of the site and provide an independent description of the content for social networks.
This information is generated by two protocols: the Open Graph protocol for Facebook and the Twitter Cards for Twitter. The content of these tags is also used by other social networks.
Using social media meta tags, you can set individual titles, descriptions, and images for each page while sharing on social networks, thereby increasing their click-through rates.
Hreflang meta tag
If your website is multilingual, you can tell Google which hotspot you belong to using the hreflang tag.
Using the Google tag, it can display pages tailored to each user’s language in search results. There are two ways to implement hreflang: directly in the HTML of the page or using the sitemap.
Meta tag author
The author tag or rel = author was supported by Google until just a few years ago. With this tag, you could display the author’s name and image next to it in the search results. But in 2014, Google announced it would no longer support the system.
However, you can still use this meta tag in the content of the site. Google is likely to use the content of this tag as a signal of content validity and use its information in its knowledge graph.
Refresh meta tag
This metatag refers to the page refresh at specified intervals and should not be used as far as possible. You may have many reasons for using this meta tag, but Google is not a fan of it.
Bad meta tags
Let’s first make it clear that nothing bad will happen if you use these meta tags. Using them is a waste of page space. Learn about the following meta tags and delete them if they exist on the site:
- Revisit after: This meta tag is a command to search engine robots to return to that page after a certain time. This meta tag is no longer supported by any search engine.
- Rating: This meta tag is used to rate content.
- Expiration/date: The Expiration tag is used to specify the expiration date of content and the date tag to specify the date of its creation. This tag is no longer usable because it has replaced better methods. If you don’t want the content, delete it very easily.
- Copyright: Most websites have a copyright on the footer and there is no reason to refer to it in the meta tags.
- Abstract: This tag is sometimes referred to as an abstract, and is often used on educational websites.
- Distribution: The Distribution meta tag is used to find out who is able to view the page. Often times the value of this tag is global. The page that is available does not need to be referenced again, so discard this tag.
- Generator: This meta tag is used to refer to a site’s content management software or system and is no longer used as an author.
- Cache-control: This tag is used to control when and how to cache content in the browser. A better and more modern way of doing this is to use HTTP headers.
- Resource Type: This meta tag is used to point to the page’s source type. Don’t waste your time because the DTD method is in place.
it’s time to clear up some of the confusion around HTML meta tags and meta tags. The difference between the two tag types is largely arbitrary, with the syntax for an HTML meta tag meaning it’ll contain the word meta within it, whereas a tag defined as a meta tag doesn’t necessarily have to.
The decision for which do or don’t is defined by W3C and are open to change over time, however, what’s important for us to remember is that they both serve the same purpose, that is which is that they are used to provide search engines with information about a web page.