In the early days of search engine optimization the <META> tag
was considered very important. Today this conception has been replaced with
with the idea that it is of much less importance. However, one should not
listen to anyone who says they are dead. That is absolutely not true.
There are search engines that use it entirely for their site rankings.
They are known as Meta Search Engines. MetaCrawler and DogPile are examples of meta search engines.
Google also pays particular attention to the <META NAME="Description"> tag for their site placement. Although it is not nearly as important to Google as it once was, it is still not a tag to eliminate.
Important Meta Tags and their uses in Search Engine Placement:
I am interested in explaining the tags used for placing sites in the top of search engines searches. The following tags are discussed in order of importance.
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Search Engine Placement">
This tag describes the content of the site. Today it is the most important tag in the search engine optimization process. Google pays particular attention to it when used properly. A good description uses 75 to 100 characters (about 30 words or 2 short sentences). This tag should not be used for spam. It should be targeted to your most desired keywords, yet should be in sentence format, not in keyword format. Your most important statements should come first. Keyword density of your meta tags is important. So do not use it as keyword spam. Limit its use to capture one to three keywords on each particular page. Every page should have a different description as well as a different title and content. Every site should have different meta description tags. Do not use a tag on a different site, even if the site was a high ranking site, because it will not work properly for you. Do not place the same tags on every page of your website. Each page is different and requires different tags.
<META NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="Search Engine Placement">
The Keyword tag once reigned as an almighty tag until Google decided to ignore it due to webmaster spam. Webmasters flooded it with every keyword they could think of, relevant and irrelevant keywords were used to eventually render this tag worthless. It is still used by other search engine with more priority then Google. Google will consider the tag if it has limited usage. A good useful keyword tag should have a limited number of keywords. Somewhere between 5 and 20 words is a good range.
<META NAME="robots" CONTENT="index, follow">
Equivalent to the robots.txt file. Tells the search engine spiders what to do with your site. "index", "noindex", "no-archive", "all", or "none" are the most commonly used. The meta tag used above tells the search engine spider to index the page and follow the links. "all" would do the same as "index, follow". If "noindex, nofollow" were used the spider would not index the site or follow it, "none" or "no-archive" would do the same. Check for these pages on sites that you are considering trading links with. If you see any of the "none" variables, do not trade links, as the link is not indexed it has no value. You should also note that if you use a robots.txt file that tells robots not to index certain pages, then the pages will not be indexed regardless of the robots meta tag. Robots.txt files are read first and they take priority over any meta tags, so be sure that your robots.txt file isn't telling spiders not to index the site.
Nosnippet (GOOGLEBOT Specific - Doesn't Help Ranking)
<META NAME="GOOGLEBOT" CONTENT="nosnippet">
The "nosnippet" tag is for Google only so the GOOGLEBOT is targeted by the meta name. Nosnippet removes any text used by Google in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) listings. All that will remain in the SERPs is the DMOZ (Open Directory) description and category if the site is listed in the Open Directory. If the site is not listed and the "nosnippet" tag is used, only the Title will remain in the Google Results Pages.
Pragma (Doesn't Help Ranking)
<META NAME="pragma" CONTENT="nocache">
Used to keep the search engine from keeping a Cache (indexed copy) of the page in its database. The theory behind this tag is that it will force the spiders to re-visit your site more often. (No longer necessary). This tag is commonly used by Search Engine Optimization Software that is suppose to help you auto-generate tags and pages that will rank well. The tag is really a waste of space and causes a lowered value of your Keyword Rich Text, as it moves it lower down the page.
<META NAME="Copyright" CONTENT="Search Engine Optimization Image™: SEO Image LLC, All Rights Reserved.">
Used to copyright web page. Not useful in search engine ranking. Very limited usage by any Search Engine. Rarely helpful for search engine placement, and only recommended if you need to copyright something and have it archived online. Like this tutorial.
The rest of the tags are not necessary, although if your a medical site you might want D.C.Meta Tags, If your Family Friendly you may want the Ratings (Pics-label) meta tag (meta http-equiv="pics-label") like those of icra.org. Overuse of any meta tag could be considered spam or overuse of meta tags. Take a look at our tags, specifically for this page as we have used it to target very few keywords, as a matter of fact we are really only targeting 3 keywords. "Search Engine Placement" and "Meta Tags" and "Meta Tutorials". There are still many other meta tags, none are worth mentioning. Remember there are 3 important tags to use the rest we can live without.
See seoimage for more ideas about search engine optimization.