Uses Google keyword tags

The most important meta tags at a glance

Meta tags are encoded information that is stored in the head area of ​​an HTML document and is used to specify metadata. These do not appear on the actual website. Instead, user agents such as web browsers or search robots can read out meta tags. The task of these meta-elements is to Additional information on a website which should facilitate the analysis of the HTML file and the management of the file content. HTML meta tags mostly follow the same structure: First an element is defined and in the second step a content is assigned to it. This results in the following scheme for meta information:

While metadata on HTML pages used to play an important role in search engine optimization, its influence on the ranking of Google, Bing and Co. is now considered to be rather small. For website operators it is still advisable to maintain the information in the HTML head and to store detailed meta data. Because for Metasearch engines and local search scripts they are still relevant. Meta tags also offer the option of defining instructions for controlling search robots (web crawlers).

Important meta tags

The list of possible elements in the HTML header is long. In addition to essential information such as the page title, the page description and the definition of the character set used, the header (the title area of ​​HTML files) offers the option of comprehensive Information for user agents to be delivered. A website operator can use meta tags to define relevant keywords or specify a page topic. In addition, authors or editors can be named or information on copyright can be stored in the meta tags. However, not all of this information is relevant for interaction with web browsers and search robots. The situation is different with meta tags, which control the behavior of user agents by prohibiting indexing of the corresponding HTML page or preventing the web crawler from following outgoing links. The following selection explains the most important meta elements and their benefits for website operation.

Title

Strictly speaking, the title is not a meta element, but a separate HTML tag. However, due to its importance for the interaction with user agents, it is often mentioned in connection with metadata. As Mandatory element in the HTML header the title is usually placed before all other meta tags. Read out by web browsers, it appears in the title bar of a tab or window, as the default name when setting bookmarks and in the course of the web browser. In addition, all major search engines use the title tag as a heading for entries in the result lists (SERPs). It thus has a decisive influence on the click behavior of Internet users when searching the web.

According to Google, the title is one of the approx. 200 factors that are used when calculating the ranking in the organic web search. In the context of on-page optimization, care should therefore be taken to ensure that the title does not exceed the length of a maximum of 55 characters displayed by search engines. It is also recommended to place the main keyword of a website in the title tag. For example, the following information is stored as the title of this website:

Character encoding

If the character set has not already been defined in the HTTP header, you should submit this information via HTML. This prevents, for example, German umlauts from being displayed incorrectly. To specify the character set or the character encoding, use the following meta tag:

This meta specification is also relevant if a browser does not receive HTML files via HTTP, but retrieves them directly from the hard disk.

Page description (Description)

The description (also called meta description) provides space for a brief description of the website content. Since this meta tag is also taken over as a snippet in the SERPs by established search engines such as Google, Bing and Co., careful editing is recommended. Due to its importance for the click behavior in the web search, the description is one of the most important HTML meta tags for Search engine optimization. Website operators should ensure that the description text does not use more than 160 characters - including spaces. Otherwise there is a risk that the superfluous characters in the search engine display will be cut off and the description will appear incompletely in the result list. The meta description tag is primarily aimed at the Internet user and should therefore provide a concise summary of the page content. According to Google, operators should ensure that every website has an individual description that provides precise information about the website content. The attribute offers the user clear added value and helps website operators to increase the click rate in web searches. The meta description of this website contains, for example, the following information:

Keywords

The keyword tag enables website operators to define keywords for a search program. With the information stored in this way, an Internet user who searches for the relevant keywords in the database of a search program should preferably be shown those HTML pages that have been provided with suitable search terms in the keyword meta tag. It used to be one of the most important SEO meta tags, since primitive search engines used this attribute as a central feature for ranking in the result lists. Today, the meta-element is left out by Google due to the great potential for manipulation when calculating the ranking factor. And Bing and other major search engines are also more likely to measure meta tag keywords little importance to. The relevance of this meta tag for the search engine optimization of a website is therefore close to zero.

The fact that keywords stored in the meta information have no (or only a slight) positive influence on the ranking in the organic web search does not mean, however, that incorrect use of this HTML meta tag cannot lead to devaluation. Sensitivity is therefore required when choosing the keyword set. The excessive use of keywords (so-called keyword stuffing) and meta tag keywords that lack reference to the website content should be avoided. Since local search scripts and meta search engines sometimes use information in the keyword meta tag, it is still advisable to store subject-relevant keywords. Individual meta tag keywords are separated from one another with a comma. A single keyword phrase can consist of several elements.

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Author and copyright

The meta tags "Author" and "Copyright" offer website operators the opportunity to store in the source code of an HTML page who has built a corresponding website and who owns the copyright of the page content. In some content management systems (CMS) the author tag is sometimes assigned automatically and always states the name of the person who last edited the relevant page. This has the advantage that administrators can see in the source directory who is managing which page. The specification of both HTML meta tags is under German law optional.

Instructions for web crawlers (robots)

One of the main tasks of meta tags is to provide indexing instructions for search engine crawlers. These can be passed through at the page level Meta robots information define. The following meta tags can be used to determine whether a page is included in the index of a search engine and is henceforth available for web searches. You can also specify whether outgoing page links should be followed by the crawler or ignored. Meta robots information is therefore one of the relevant SEO meta tags.

index

To allow the search engine to index an HTML page, use the following meta tag:

Since the indexing of web pages corresponds to the standard behavior of web crawlers (search robots), this information is generally unnecessary.

Noindex

Should be an HTML page Not to be included in the search engine index, you must explicitly define this. The following meta tag prohibits a search program from transmitting the content of an HTML page to the search engine's database:

The name attribute "robot" is aimed at all search engine crawlers. The content attribute "noindex" contains the information that indexing is prohibited. If you only want to prevent indexing for certain robots, you can do this by choosing an alternative name attribute such as "googlebot".

Follow

The standard behavior of a web crawler is to follow the outbound links of an HTML page. If this is desired, this can be expressed using the following meta-robot information:

This meta tag is also basically redundant, since the crawlers of all major search engines usually follow hyperlinks automatically, unless otherwise specified.

Nofollow

If you want to prevent a search robot from reaching subordinate pages of a website via hyperlinks or referring to other domains, you can do this using the following meta tag:

In future, crawlers will treat the website as if any links were not there. However, the meta element does not prevent search robots from transferring the content of the corresponding HTML file to the search database.

The meta tags Index / Noindex and Follow / Nofollow can used individually or in combination become. For example, you can specify that a page may be included in the index, but the crawler should ignore the hyperlinks. Alternatively, both actions of the search robot can be prevented or allowed.

HTTP equivalents

With the help of the “http-equiv” attribute, meta elements can contain equivalents to information in the HTTP header. This information is read out as an alternative, for example, if the web server has not been configured accordingly. The rule is that a HTTP header of the same name versus HTML meta tags prefers becomes.

Cache control

In order to ensure fast Internet operation, it is common to have websites cached on proxy servers or in the browser cache so that they can be loaded more quickly for subsequent calls. This process can be prevented by the meta tag "cache-control" with the value no-cache:

Web pages that are provided with this meta tag must be reloaded from the web server each time the page is accessed. This slows down the page retrieval, but can be quite useful, for example if a website has continuously changing content.

Expires

Instead of completely preventing the temporary storage in the cache, you can use the “http-equiv” attribute to create a Expiration time for the retrieved HTML data define. The following meta tag is used for this:

Meta tags can be used to assign any expiration date to HTML pages. If the defined period of time has expired, a web browser is prompted to load the corresponding HTML documents from the original address. If the content is to be loaded from the original page in any case, an expiry time of 0 seconds is selected. With an expiry time of 12 hours, website operators choose 43,200 seconds.

Alternatively, any time periods as well as exact dates and times can be defined. These must be given in international format and in accordance with Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Refresh

Meta tags with the attribute "http-equiv" offer the possibility of setting up a simple form of forwarding. Similar to the expires tag, an expiry time is defined by means of the refresh tag. If this is reached, user agents such as web browsers or search engine crawlers are forwarded to a previously specified URL. In the example code, you will be redirected to the IONOS home page in 10 seconds.

However, since the refresh tag is not supported by every web browser, the committee for the standardization of technologies in the World Wide Web (World Wide Web Consortium, W3C) recommends a server-side implementation using the HTML status code 301 instead of forwarding via meta tags.

Meta tag generator

Website operators can find numerous meta tag generators on the Internet with which meta tags can be created quickly and easily automatically. A free tool is available at www.metaner.de, for example. Here you only need to enter the relevant information in the mask of the meta tag generator. The software then translates the information into the corresponding source code. You can then transfer this directly to the HTML header of your website.

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