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<meta> tag

Discussion in 'HTML & Website Design' started by Nick Heng, Jul 14, 2012.

  1. #1
    what does <meta> actually used for ?? i don't udst ... HELP ~
     
    Nick Heng, Jul 14, 2012 IP
  2. 3dy.ro

    3dy.ro Member

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    #2
    There are some tags which presumably help search engines index your website the way you want it.

    The truth is, the only two METAs you should use are content-type and description, and maybe, occasionally, also robots and language. There is no need to worry about the others, as they play no role into the indexation process of most search engines anymore.
     
    3dy.ro, Jul 15, 2012 IP
  3. xboom

    xboom Peon

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    #3
    They are for the site description and content type.
     
    xboom, Jul 15, 2012 IP
  4. Cyberdog1

    Cyberdog1 Peon

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    #4
    There is no need to use meta keywords as this no help to your site.

    Instead put the meta keywords in your meta description and this works wonder ;)
     
    Cyberdog1, Jul 15, 2012 IP
  5. deathshadow

    deathshadow Illustrious Member

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    #5
    I would argue that "keywords" is still useful if you use it PROPERLY, but nobody does which is why it's ignored in most but not all cases. I'll get into that in a moment.

    The purpose (oh noes, not the actual purpose) of META tags is to provide information to user agents (browsers, screen readers, search engines, etc, etc) that is outside the scope of the HTML specification. It's a "catch-all" for things HTML doesn't define, but that various UA's might want to use.

    The HTTP-EQUIV attribute allows you to pass data that is the equivalent of a HTTP response header. When a UA request a file from a server, several lines of text are sent in 'response' -- the HTTP status code (200, 404, etc), the mime-type, last modified, cookies, etc, etc... when you use HTTP-EQUIV you are basically sending the same thing -- just beware that any value you declare in your HTML is trumped by the actual server values. You can see a full list of HTTP response codes here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HTTP_header_fields

    As 3dy.ro mentioned, "Content-Type" is typically the only one that you would typically use for HTTP-EQUIV, though sometimes "Refresh", "Expires" and "Pragma" can be handy if you're stuck on a host that isn't sending them.

    Some examples:
    
    <meta
    	http-equiv="Content-Type"
    	content="text/html; charset=utf-8"
    />
    
    <meta
    	http-equiv="Expires"
    	content="Wed, 18 July 2012 00:00:00 GMT"
    />
    
    <meta
    	http-equiv="Refresh"
    	content="5; URL=http://www.google.com/"
    />
    
    Code (markup):
    The first one tells the UA the document is UTF-8... this SHOULD be redundant to the server's header, but is useful when locally testing since there are no HTTP headers on a local file. I've seen HTML 5's "Oh you can omit that" already biting some dev's in the arse when they upload their code and it doesn't behave the same as it did in local testing (doh).

    The second one just tells the UA to keep the file in cache until that date. (though if it runs out of cache, it will still FIFO delete it).

    That last one will (in most UA's) "refresh" the page loading the URL five seconds after the page load is complete... which can be handy in some cases.

    META also allows UA's of all sorts to define their own values. That is what the NAME attribute exists for; one can simply make up their own name for their own use... which is what the search engines have done with "robots", "description" and "keywords".

    A LOT of people, including many so called SEO "experts" have only seen the META's in practice without taking the time to learn their purpose or their rules -- so once again in a fit of heresy, let's review the actual *SHOCK* purpose of them.

    "description" is so simple, it's shocking how often people abuse/misuse it. It's sole purpose is NOT to provide data to enhance your search ranking, it exists to appear on your search result!. The contents of your description should appear below the TITLE on a search result page. That's all it's for -- which is why a brief sentence or two (preferably no more than 155 characters long) describing what the page is about is all that should be in it. That's it... that's all it does and all it's for.

    "keywords" is even simpler, and even more abused -- abused to the point it's been devalued and is often ignored. Because some people can't even be bothered to use it properly, they think it does nothing anymore -- and that's actually FALSE in practice. The rules are very simple... 7 or 8 words separated by comma's that exist in your content (aka inside BODY as CDATA) preferably totalling less than 128 bytes that you would like to have extra weight applied to in your search ranking. This is keyWORDS -- NOT keyphrases, NOT keysentences, keyWORDS!!! Also notice it's separated by comma's -- NOT hyphens, NOT vertical breaks/pipes, but COMMA'S!!! You vary from those rules, OF COURSE it's going to be ignored or worse, get you slapped down for abuse! (The site tool at SEOWorkers.com says pretty much the same thing -- one of the few websites worth a flying purple fish in the sea of SEO scammers out there...)

    It's why it's a laugh when you see idiocy like this:
    
    <meta
    	name="keywords"
    	content="Web design, web design quote, web design pricing"
    />
    
    Code (markup):
    Which is functionally the same thing as just saying
    
    <meta
    	name="keywords"
    	content="web,design,quote,pricing"
    />
    
    Code (markup):
    Dunno who started the practice of listing every possible combination, but it's BS, it's always been BS, and it's no wonder people using that BS actually think the keywords META doesn't do anything anymore. You stuff it full of 1k of redundant pointless rubbish -- that doesn't even exist on your page as plain-text -- don't be surprised when it's ignored.

    There ARE a few exceptions -- proper names for example it is more likely you'd want as a single 'field' inside it, but for the most part remember it's name: keyWORDS.

    "robots" can be useful, but should be used with an eyedropper not a forklift. As a rule of thumb the majority of pages on a site should have no robots -- since the default behavior of "yes, I want this page to show up on the search engines" there is little legitimate reason to use robots to override that. The proper values you can given them are "NOINDEX", which tells search engines not to list the page in their results, "NOFOLLOW" which means not to follow any links on the page, and "NOODP" which says do NOT use any "open directory project" listing for your site and instead use the "description" META and TITLE tag... You'll sometimes see people put "INDEX,FOLLOW" in as a "robots" META, and that's just ignorant pointless bloat since those are the defaults. (and don't actually exist as valid values). Of these I consider NOODP to be the most useful, since I bother to use TITLE and META[description] properly.

    Recently introduced, the "viewport" meta can be used to tell certain UA's, in particular phones, how to behave. Introduced by Apple, it deals with how most websites are NOT built to be shown on small screens -- so their browser lies about the screen dimensions so it's zoom controls can take crappy inaccessible sites and try to make them useful. Unfortunately said 'lies' often make it very hard to customize content for mobile because they keep ignoring or changing values on you, particularly font-size and width... which is why you'll see this META on an increasing number of websites:

    
    <meta
    	name="viewport"
    	content="width=device-width; initial-scale=1.0"
    />
    
    Code (markup):
    The first part "width=device-width" tells the browser not to lie about the actual physical screen width. The second one tells it that the page does not require any form of default zoom and should be shown at 1:1 size. (Apple retinadisplays still lie at a 2:1 ratio, but that's a good thing given their small size)

    Another common meta is "X-UA-Compatible", used to tell versions of IE to pretend they are older versions for compatibility. For example in IE8/newer using:
    
    <meta
    	http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible"
    	content="IE=7"
    />
    
    Code (markup):
    Tells them to render the page as if they were IE7. Much like using IE conditional comments to load or not-load CSS or to browser sniff (like that stupid malfing mess Paul Irish came up with around HTML) -- well, to be brutally frank, IMHO just means the site was built with broken half-assed methodologies... Like outdated 1990's style markup or trying to deploy that idiotic bloated train wreck of pointlessness known as HTML 5 (which seems to ignore the past decade's progress and instead want to dial the clock back to 1997)... Literally as far as I'm concerned if you have to use the X-UA-Compatible META, you wrote the page wrong!

    There are dozens of other META's like "author", "copyright" and "generated", but as 3dy.ro mentioned, they do not actually do anything useful, and as such are nothing more than a waste of bandwidth on the majority of sites that use them!

    Bottom line, much like the rest of the tags in HTML lots of people use them without taking the time to understand what they are FOR -- this leads to false assumptions, misinformation, and just plain poorly written code. You take the time to think "what is this actually FOR" you'll get better results... even from the allegedly "no longer used" keywords meta.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2012
    deathshadow, Jul 15, 2012 IP
  6. netcommlabs

    netcommlabs Peon

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    #6
    Meta tags are information for search engine bots in the “head” section of web page source code. Bots used to give meta description and keywords tag content a lot of weight in determining search engine rankings.The Meta description tag is located in the head area of your website’s HTML code and its content is sometimes displayed in the results page of crawler search engines.
     
    netcommlabs, Jul 15, 2012 IP
  7. 3dy.ro

    3dy.ro Member

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    #7
    deathshadow, I nominate you for the "Best Answer" of this thread. Thanks.
     
    3dy.ro, Jul 15, 2012 IP
  8. busetdah

    busetdah Greenhorn

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    #8
    busetdah, Jul 18, 2012 IP
  9. HowardBeck

    HowardBeck Peon

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    #9
    Meta tag is use for multiple purpose in HTMl.You can put title and keyword,description.

    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" >
    <meta name="zipcode" content="95012,95045" >
    <meta name="keywords" content="mobile apps development" >
    <meta name="Description" content="Mindinventory provide best solution's for there client"
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html" >
     
    HowardBeck, Jul 18, 2012 IP
  10. vincaslt

    vincaslt Peon

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    #10
    Meta tag used to help search engines collect information about your site. Now they are useless, <meta> is simply ignored by SEs.
     
    vincaslt, Jul 19, 2012 IP
  11. Andreas_T

    Andreas_T Peon Premium Member

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    #11
    Their intended to help the website developer describe the site, keywords, author ... Whether they're ignored by the search engines is questionable. Their certainly used by a number of tools. I suggest that you adhere to their intended use and include all the relevant information. You may realize a benefit from their content without having to visibly post this information on your page.
     
    Andreas_T, Jul 19, 2012 IP
  12. devjohndevon

    devjohndevon Peon

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    #12
    The Meta tag in html is not a required tag when you're creating your web pages; many pages don't use the tag at all, and I must confess that I've not used it on my home page, although I put it into this page by way of demonstration. To put it briefly, the meta tag is used by search engines to allow them to more accurately list your site in their indexes
     
    devjohndevon, Jul 19, 2012 IP
  13. cs2hmc

    cs2hmc Peon

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    #13
    Meta tags are used for searching engines know more about your web page. However, the current major browsers like Google is now ignoring Meta tags. So Meta tags do not help much, but it's better than nothing.
     
    cs2hmc, Jul 20, 2012 IP