There are a lot of meta tags to use, and while they all serve some purpose, simply adding all of them to your site doesn’t improve your search engine placement. Instead, having a lot of extraneous tags can slow down your page loading, and some search engines might penalize you for “spamdexing.”
Some reasons for meta tagging:
- search engine ranking
- internal search engine
- internal categorization
- control the browser, robots or other things
Depending upon which (if any) you want to focus on, will help you determine how to best maximize your efforts towards meta tags.
Search Engine Position
For example, if you’re aiming to be ranked higher in the search engines, then you probably shouldn’t worry too much or at all about meta keywords, but rather focus on the "meta" title and description. According to Search Engine Watch:
“Meta tags provide a useful way to control your summary in some search engines.”
If you’re going to focus on getting your site ranked higher in search engines, you would be better off going with a company like Position Pro that can help you by both submitting your pages and suggesting ways to optimize them for search engines.
Internal Search Engines
If you’re aiming to get better internal search results, then you need to know what the internal search is looking at. Meta keywords, the entire document text, etc. Depending upon how your search tool works will determine how you write your meta tags (or if you need them at all). I wrote an article explaining some ways to add search to your site.
And if you’re looking at improving internal categorization, you might want to start requiring meta tags like:
- the author of the page
<meta name="author" content="firstname.lastname@example.org">
- the copyright date
<meta name="copyright" content="Symantec Corp, June 2001">
- last updated
<meta name="last_updated" content="2001-08-28">
Interact with Browser and Web Server
Plus you can include meta tags that impact the browser:
- control the caching of the page
<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">
- indicate when the content expired
<meta http-equiv="expires" content="0">
- disallow indexing of a page
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
- refresh the current content
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="30">
- refresh to an entirely new page
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="10;url=http://webdesign.about.com/">
Meta tags are a powerful tool for your site, but you need to be sure you’re using only what you need. Once you understand what you need you’re site will be more effective.