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WEB DEVELOPMENT

Meta Tags: Still Useful?
By: Joe Eitel
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    2009-10-02

    Table of Contents:
  • Meta Tags: Still Useful?
  • History
  • Decline in Usefulness
  • Still Useful

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    Meta Tags: Still Useful? - Still Useful


    (Page 4 of 4 )

    One of the meta tags that serves the most purpose still is the description tag. This allows you to provide a two- to three-sentence description of the web page. Its function is similar to the abstract tag, but it is actually used by search engines. They will use the description tag to display information along with a link to the website. If the description tag is not used, the search engine will draw text straight from the page to display, so it is not vital. However, it does give you control over what potential visitors are shown.

    The language meta tag can be very useful under specific circumstances. The tag tells search engines what language the page is in (e.g. English, Spanish, French). This is not all that useful if the entire website is in English, but if it is in another language or has different versions of the same page in different languages, then this tag can come in handy to differentiate the pages.

    Although the usefulness of the keywords tag has significantly decreased over time, it is still a good idea to use it. As mentioned, Yahoo claims to make use of the keywords and the possibility has not been ruled out that other search engines may as well. It does not take a lot of effort, so it is best to be safe and include the keywords meta tag.

    The author meta tag offers information about the developer of the web page. This offers an opportunity for website developers to give their name and an address and/or web page that people interested in them can find. Very few people actually do this, but it is an option. This tag is little used by search engines, but it is possible that it could be used by directories looking to get website developer information.

    One very useful meta tag is the refresh tag. It can redirect the user from the page they are on to any other web page. Although there are other methods of redirection, this one is reliable and is interpreted properly by all major Internet browsers. Therefore, it can be used in specific circumstances.

    Overall, none of the meta tags are as necessary as they once were. However, they can have benefits and they do not take all that long to put together. Therefore, it is a best practice to go ahead and use some of the more important ones on the off chance that they do make a difference for you.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.
       

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