Meta Tags

Meta tags are a great way for webmasters to provide search engines with information about their sites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest. Meta tags are added to the <head> section of your HTML page and generally look like this:

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN””&gt;
<META NAME=”Description” CONTENT=”Author: A.N. Author, Illustrator: P. Picture,
Category: Books, Price: £9.24, Length: 784 pages”>
<META http-equiv=”Content-Type” CONTENT=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>
<META NAME=”google-site-verification” CONTENT=”+nxGUDJ4QpAZ5l9Bsjdi102tLVC21AIh5d1Nl23908vVuFHs34=”/>
<title>Example Books – high-quality used books for children</title>
<META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”noindex,nofollow”>

Google understands the following meta tags (and related items):

<meta name="description" content="A description of the page" /> This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results. More information
<title>The Title of the Page</title> While technically not a meta tag, this tag is often used together with the “description”. The contents of this tag are generally shown as the title in search results (and of course in the user’s browser). More information
<meta name="robots" content="..., ..." />
<meta name="googlebot" content="..., ..." />
These meta tags can control the behavior of search engine crawling and indexing. Therobots meta tag applies to all search engines, while the “googlebot” meta tag is specific to Google. The default values are “index, follow” (the same as “all”) and do not need to be specified. We understand the following values (when specifying multiple values, separate them with a comma):

  • noindex: prevents the page from being indexed
  • nofollow: prevents the Googlebot from following links from this page
  • nosnippet: prevents a snippet from being shown in the search results
  • noodp: prevents the alternative description from the ODP/DMOZ from being used
  • noarchive: prevents Google from showing the Cached link for a page.
  • unavailable_after:[date]: lets you specify the exact time and date you want to stop crawling and indexing of this page
  • noimageindex: lets you specify that you do not want your page to appear as the referring page for an image that appears in Google search results.

You can now 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 indexing of non-HTML files like graphics or other kinds of documents. More information about robots.txt

<meta name="google" content="notranslate" /> When we recognize that the contents of a page are not in the language that the user is likely to want to read, we often provide a link to a translation in the search results. In general, this gives you the chance 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 tells Google that you don’t want us to provide a translation for this page.
<meta name="google-site-verification" content="..." /> You can use this tag on the top-level page of your site to verify ownership for Webmaster Tools. Please note that while the values of the “name” and “content” attributes must match exactly what is provided to you (including upper and lower case), 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. More information
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="...; charset=..." /> This meta tag defines the page’s content type and character set. Make sure that you surround the value of the content attribute with quotes – otherwise the charset attribute may be interpreted incorrectly. More information
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="...;url=..." /> This meta tag sends 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 not be used. We recommend using a server-side 301 redirect instead.

Other points to note:

  • Google can read both HTML and XHTML-style meta tags, regardless of the code used on the page.
  • With the exception of verify, case is generally not important in meta tags.

This is not an exclusive list of available meta tags, and you should feel free to use unlisted meta tags if they are important to your site. Just remember that Google will ignore meta tags it doesn’t know.

Information available on Google Support

Google and Backlinks

Google values links when link building isn’t the center of attention or the entire game that it once was. Total Number: Very importantly, Google considers the total number of links a web site is having. This isn’t a particularly influential factor considering one good one from a high ranking, established, trustworthy site (more on this later) will be more valuable than thousands of spammy, low quality site links.


Number of Domains/Source: If a webiste is having thousands of links from the same site then it’s not really good and wont help the website to improve google ranking. For instance, if the majority of your links were all coming from the same sort of directory, Google is going to discount the influence of most of those links. It is found that some of the People argue that Google discounts influence after the first link from a particular site. Therefore, link diversity
is extremely important for any website, so the webiste should be getting links from all types of sites from directories to blogs to video sites and so on. Google can identify where your links are coming from not just from the sites themselves but through varied IP addresses, so a website can definitely want some links coming from different IP addresses around the globe as this suggests websites are getting links from different people.

Anchor Text: We all know about anchor text lately in terms of how important it is to vary up the anchor text which you use when creating links to your site. This works to keep websites link profile diverse and natural looking because a website is assumed to be linked from others site, that site is likely wouldn’t use the keyword you’re targeting on that page when pointing to your site.

Age: While some people believe that older links – links you’ve had for years pointing to your site – are more valuable and powerful than newer links you receive, when it is reference to “age” here it is referring to the age of the sites you’re receiving links from. Older, more established site links will be more influential whereas links from newer sites won’t make as much of an impact. This goes with the idea that older sites have more authority and page rank and Google trusts them more.

Variation: “Variation” here means, to once more drive home the point that diversity is important in terms of anchor text and source of links. It doesn’t stop there, however; variation is important in terms of image versus text, placement of them on the various sites linking to you (high up in the content is best as oppposed to sidebars or menu bars which are signs of link buying or exchanges), and dofollow versus nofollow links, as well.Years ago, Google said that only DoFollow links would pass influence. After hearing that, everyone began concentrating entirely on DoFollow and discounting going after No Follow links altogether. While a lot of webmasters still focus entirely on DoFollow, a lot of SEO specialists believe that No Follow links pass more influence than before because Google will do what is necessary to diminish the success of those who are trying to game or play to Google’s algorithm and reward those who are not.

Quality: Quality is still a factor as mentioned in opening. Receiving one link from a highly ranked and trusted site is far more valuable than thousands of links from spammy blogs. If one is going to spend time on trying to get links, they will have to focus on getting links from highly trusted and established sites which it’s difficult to receive links from because they’re more conservative in whom they link to. In this case, it’s less about “getting” links and more about “earning” links through techniques like creating and sharing link bait or guest blogging for them.

Another sign of quality is relevance, in that if one wants links from other sites which are relevant to their site. If one is getting one from a site about cars when their site is all about puppies, Google is likely going to discount the influence that it has as it is very likely that you created that link yourself because typically a webmaster of a car site would not link to your puppy themed site on their own. In keeping with the variation point, it’s all right to have a few links from irrelevant sites, but generally one will be staying in their niche.

Bad Links: On the other hand, the opposite of quality links, bad links will detract from and have an adverse effect on your ranking, so do what you can to limit the number of bad links pointing to your site.

Velocity: Link velocity refers to the rate and schedule at which you’re building links to your site. The key here is to make your link velocity look natural or, in other words, you shouldn’t get 10,000 links one month and 100 the next month. There shouldn’t be many curves in your velocity. You should continue to build more links each month than the one before it.