What are the meta tags contained in the
<head> ? What are and what is each one for and what are the pros and cons of using them?
<meta charset="UTF-8"> <meta name="description" content="descrição com palavras chaves"> <meta name="keywords" content="palavras chaves"> <meta name="author" content="nome do autor"> <meta name="copyright" content="nome do criador" />
Meta tags are very important for two things:
- SEO, ie: Search Engines;
- The way your browser will interpret it.
When we talk about SEO, its use is of paramount importance so that your website can be indexed correctly.
Meta Tag is a command implemented in the code of web pages, inside the Head area of the website (between the tags and ) to pass instructions to external programs or simpler actions, such as informing who is responsible for developing the page. Some Meta Tags are used to give search sites such as Bing and Google instructions on the page title and a brief description to be displayed in search results, which pages should or should not be indexed, among other instructions.
Importance of Meta Tags for SEO
Meta Tags are an important communication tool between webmasters and search engines, as we will see in the examples below. For many people though, SEO is just that, Meta Tags. This is far from true. Google uses close to 250 variables to determine search results, and meta tags are just a few of them.
There are several meta tags, the most important are:
title field is not a meta tag, but it is the most important command in a webpage for SEO.
<title>Project management software, online collaboration: Basecamp</title>
Meta Description (meta name="description")
It is the meta description that usually defines the description displayed in Google results. Describe the content of the page in a way that stimulates people's interest in knowing more about the content on the page, to increase your site's visits.
Example of a Meta Description:
<meta name="description" content="Veja no Terra as últimas notícias e as melhores coberturas ao vivo do Brasil e do Mundo, Esportes, Diversão, Vida e Estilo, assista os melhores vídeos no TerraTV e ouça as melhores músicas no Sonora." />
Meta Keywords (meta name="keywords")
Many years ago, search engine algorithms had some difficulty interpreting the relevance of websites to certain keywords and used meta keyword content to help them interpret the content of pages. Webmasters quickly realized that it was enough to include an infinite number of words in this tag to appear in searches, even for words not related to the content of the page.
The user experience was compromised when being directed to a page that ultimately did not have the content sought. Search engines have evolved and today they ignore the meta keyword. Since the meta keyword is not displayed to the user at any time, either in search results or in website content, there is really no logical reason for Google to consider it a relevancy factor.
On the other hand, we use meta keywords to research the keywords of unsuspecting competitors. Enter the sites of your main competitors and see through the meta keywords which keywords they tried to optimize their sites.
Example of a meta keyword:
<meta name="keywords" content="climática, previsão climática, desenvolvimento, tempo, clima,"/>
Meta Robots (meta name="robots")
This meta tag was created to provide guidance to search engine robots. Every page must have its meta robots. See some of the parameters that can be passed:
_index_: index this page – display it in your search results;
_noindex_: do not index this page – do not show it in search results. Useful for pages such as login and intranet access;
_follow_: follow the links on this page to discover new pages (review Googlebot, robots);
_nofollow_: none of the links on this page should be followed;
_nosnippet_: instructs the search engine not to display the page description in the search results;
_noodp_Google not to use the DMOZ directory description in its results (snippet);
_noarchive_: instructs Google not to display the cached version of the page;
_noimageindex_: do not index any images on the page.
Examples of Meta Robots:
<meta name="robots" content="index, follow">– most common meta robots syntax – directs search engines to index page content and follow all links to discover new pages
<meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow">– tells search engines not to index the page content and prevents it from following links to discover new pages
Note: the command to tell Google not to index a page can also be given in the robots.txt file.
There are meta tags that are very important to tell your browser how to render your browser
meta name="viewport"is very important for your site to run at different scales and devices;
meta charsetis the encoding that the browser should use to render the site;
meta http-equiv="content-language"indicates the site language.
Meta information can also be used by plugins, software and social networks…