Meta tags offer many different tools to help maintain and modify your website. In other articles, I've discussed basic meta tags, the meta refresh tag, and how to get more notice from search engines. But that's not all that they can do.
Use Meta Tags to Stop Search Engines
While you might want your pages to get more notice from search engines, there also might be pages that you don't want in a search engine index. Luckily, there is a simple meta tag you can use to tell search engines to move on to the next page without adding the current page:
The two most common options used in the robots meta tag are:
noindex when you don't want the search engines to add the page to their index. Use
nofollow when you don't want the search engines to follow any links off of that page. Typically, you would use both in your meta tag. So to get a search engine to ignore a page, you would write:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />
Use Meta Tags to Child-Proof Your Site
Meta tags can also be used to make your site more safe for children. You do this by adding a PICS label to your site. There are several organizations that do PICS ratings — the two that About.com uses are:
The PICS meta tags look something like this:
<meta http-equiv="PICS-Label" content='(PICS-1.1 "http://www.rsac.org/ratingsv01.html" l gen true comment "RSACi North America Server" for "http://webdesign.about.com" on "2001.01.02T14:28-1900" r (N 0 S 0 V 0 L 0))'>
This is the RSAC rating from the Web Design home page.
Use Meta Tags to Store Information About the Page
Meta tags can also be used to provide information about the page itself. For example:
- Use the "
author" meta tag to indicate the email address of the person who wrote the page
<meta name="author" content="email@example.com">
- Use the "
date" meta tag to indicate when the page was created
<meta name="date" content="February 28, 2002">
- You can even create your own meta tags to include other information
<meta name="last-edited" content="March 3, 2002">
<meta name="posted" content="March 4, 2002">
But even that isn't all.... There are hundreds of meta tags for all different uses. My favorite site for finding meta tags is the Vancouver Webpages Meta Library. It has a huge listing of meta tags, rel and rev tags as well.
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