Special Meta Tags that Google understands
Google supports both page-level meta-tags as well as inline directives to control how your web-pages appear in SERPs.
Page-level Meta tags are the best way for webmasters to provide your web-pages information to search engines. Meta tags are used to provide web-pages information to all sorts of clients. And, as per the algorithm processes, search engines only understand the Meta tags and nothing else. Meta tags are placed in the head section such as <head> “ ” </head> of your web page. Below is the lookalike sample:
<Meta name=”Description” CONTENT=”Author: Author Name, Illustrator: P. Picture, Category: Books, Price: $10, Length: 150 pages”>
<Meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”+nxGUDJ4QpAZ5l9Bsjdi102tLVC21AIh5d1Nl23908vVuFHs34=”/>
<Title>Sample eBooks – good-quality motivational eBooks for children</title>
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>
Google understands the following Meta tags (this is not the exhaustive list):
<Meta name=”description” content=”A description or short summary about the webpage” />
Use this tag to provide a short description or summary of the page. A description is used as a part of the snippet to be shown in the search results or SERP.
<Meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” />
These Meta tags control the behavior of search engines crawling and then indexing.
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />
The <Meta name=”robots”> tag allow all the search engines crawler, while the <Meta name=”googlebot”> tag is specific for Google’s crawler.
If in case of conflicts in robots (or Googlebot) Meta tags, the more restrictive tag will be applied. For example, if a webpage has both the tags, such as max-snippet:60 and nosnippet tags, the nosnippet tag will automatically applied.
Then, by default values are “index, follow” and don’t need to be specified on a webpage. Google understands the following values when required to specify multiple values, separated by a comma:
Index – This allows the page to be indexed.
Follow – Just follow all the links available on a webpage as part of the crawling process.
Noindex – This prevents the webpage from being indexed by crawlers.
Nofollow – This doesn’t allow the crawlers to follow links available on the webpage as part of crawling.
Nosnippet – Don’t show a text snippet or video preview from being shown in the search results. For video, a static image will be shown instead, if possible. Example: <Meta name=”robots” content=”nosnippet”>
max-snippet:[number] – Limit the text snippet length for this page to [number] characters; specify 0 for no snippet or -1 to allow any snippet length.
max-image-preview:[size] – Limit the size of any image associated with this page. [Size] can be “none”, “standard”, or “large”.
max-video-preview:[number] – Limit any video preview associated with this page to [number] seconds; specify 0 to allow only a still image or -1 to allow any preview length
noarchive – Don’t show a Cached link for a page in search results.
unavailable_after:[date] – Lets you know the exact time and date you want to stop crawling and indexing of this page.
noimageindex – Don’t show the page as the referring page for an image in Google Image search results. This has the effect of preventing all images on this page from being indexed; if the image appears in another page, it might be crawled and indexed according to the permissions on that page. Note that this is not yet an internet standard; the standard way to block images is to use a robots.txt rule.
None – Equivalent to noindex, nofollow.
All – [Default] Equivalent to “index, follow”.
You can also specify this information in the header of your pages using the “X-Robots-Tag” HTTP header directive. This is particularly useful if you wish to limit the indexing of non-HTML files like graphics or other kinds of documents.
<Meta name=”google” content=”nositelinkssearchbox” />
When users search for your site, Google Search results sometimes display a search box specific to your site, along with other direct links to your site. This tag tells Google not to show the sitelinks search box. Learn more about sitelinks search box.
<Meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” />
When Google recognizes that the contents of a page are not in the language that the user likes to read, Google often provides a link to a translation in the search results. In general, this gives an opportunity to provide your unique and compelling content to a much larger group of users. However, there may be situations where this is not desired. This Meta tag informs Google that you don’t want him to provide a translation for this page.
<Meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” />
You can use this tag on the topmost page of your site to verify ownership for Search Console. Please note that while the values of the “name” and “content” attributes must match exactly, it doesn’t matter if you change the tag from XHTML to HTML or if the format of the tag matches the format of your page.
<Meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” />
<Meta charset=”…” >
This defines the page’s content type and character set. Ensure that you surround the value of the content attribute with quotes – otherwise the charset attribute may be interpreted incorrectly. We recommend using Unicode/UTF-8 where possible.
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” />
This tag moves the user to a new URL after a certain amount of time and is sometimes used as a simple form of redirection. However, it is not supported by all browsers and can be confusing to the user. The W3C recommends that this tag should not be used. We recommend using a server-side 301 redirect instead.
<Meta name=”viewport” content=”…”>
This tag tells the browser how to render a page on a mobile device. The presence of this tag indicates to Google that the page is mobile-friendly.
<Meta name=”rating” content=”adult” />
<Meta name=”rating” content=”RTA-5042-1996-1400-1577-RTA” />
Label a page as containing adult content, to signal that it should be filtered by Safe Search results.
Meta Tags to ignore
Finally, there are few tags that can be called as bad “Meta Tags” and we should simply avoid them.
Don’t worry nothing bad will happen to your site if you’re already using them — let me just clarify. They’re useless tags making our web-page heavy; even Google says so. By cleaning them we can make our web-page light weighted. It might be the right time now for cleaning your <head> tags.
Following are the Meta tags, Google never recommend or invalid tags:
Meta Keywords tag – Google doesn’t use the keywords Meta tag in web ranking.
Revisit after – This HTML tag gives a command to robots to return to a page after a specific period. This tag is not followed by any major search engine and has no value in SEO. It is better to avoid this tag and leave it to the search engines to decide how to crawl your website. Syntax: <Meta name=”revisit-after” content=”7 days” />
Expiration/date – This tag defines the expiration date of your page. Personally I would not recommend this, just remove this if you are using it.
<Meta http-equiv=”Expires” content=”Fri, 28 April 2019 23:59:59 GMT”>
“Expiration” is used to note when the page expires, and “date” is given to understand when the page was made. If any of your web pages are going to expire then just remove them. And for “date,” make an XML sitemap, and keep it updated. It’s much better and useful.
Site verification – You can just avoid this Meta tag. You can verify your site using Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools by downloading verification code and uploading it on the root folder on your server.
Copyright – Almost all sites show their copyright in the footer section, then why do we need to add separate HTML tag in MetaData. I’ll advise not to use “COPYRIGHT” in Meta tags.
Abstract – This tag is mainly used for educational pursuits, sometimes used to place an abstract of the content in a webpage.
Distribution – This “distribution” tag supposedly used to control who can access your web document, typically set to “global”. It’s inherently implied that if the webpage is open, (not password-protected, avail on www) so it’s meant for the world. Go with it, and avoid the tag.
Generator – This is just used to inform search engines what program has created the page. Like the “author” tag, this is of no use.
Cache-control – This tag allows web publishers to define and control when and how often a page is cached in the browser. Generally, these are not required now; it’s better to simply use the HTTP header tags instead of this HTML tag. Google will automatically decide when and how to cache your webpage.
ODP Robots Meta Tag – Google no longer follows this Meta tag.
Let’s suppose, if you are listed on DMOZ (ODP), the search engines will display results (snippets) of your from the web-page (DMOZ) instead of your “Meta Description” tag. You can suggest the search engine not to display the ODP information by including below robots Meta tag:
<Meta name=”robots” content=”noodp” />
Geo Meta Tag – Google does not use Geo Meta tags to rank webpages.
Even Google itself has mentioned in their support docs that they don’t use Meta tags for location.
“Google does not use locational Meta tags (like geo.position or distribution) or HTML attributes for geotargeting.
Resource type – This is used to name the file-type or type of resource page, like “document”. So don’t waste your time and avoid overloading your web-pages with such tags.
There’re so many Meta tags out there, mentioned above are just a few of them which we should not consider or simply avoid. Rather than these Meta tags, you can use other important and relevant HTML Meta tags.
If you like this article, don’t forget to comment below and share your views on HTML Meta Tags. Thanks for reading!
Ref. Source: https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/79812?hl=en