I read a post recently in a forum that argued quite strongly that META tags are a waste of time.
The argument was that they don’t serve a useful purpose any more, with the exception of the Title and Description tags.
I disagreed quite strongly with that position.
META tags are part of the agreed standards for building web pages and sites.
They’re clearly defined and used for managing the way the search engines view and treat your site.
For example, the ‘robots’ META tag gives the spiders instructions on whether to index a page or not, and whether or not to follow outgoing links.
If there is no instruction the robots will index the page and follow links. But if you don’t want people to find a page via the search engines – for example, if it’s a download page – telling the robots they cannot index it is one of the ways of protecting it.
One of the arguments against using them (in that forum post) was that people have started spamming the META tags, as a result of which the search engines now ignore them.
Of course you can spam keywords into META tags – but of course the Search Engines recognise these and ignore them. The spammy keywords, that is, not the META tags.
I do agree that the Title and Description tags are ones you should always use – they’re currently used in the natural search results and displaid to searchers. So a good title and description can grab attention and entice people to click through to your site.
But all the META tags are there for a reason, so it’s both sensible and in keeping with agreed standards to use them.
Different Search Engines do place different emphasis on different META tags now than they did a couple of years ago. But, as we know, search engines are forever changing their algorithms and that also applies to how they view and use META tags.
So who knows how they’ll use them in 2 years time? I suspect not even the search engines do (yet).
There are a lot of META tag generators available online. You simply fill in the answers to the questions they ask and they will generate the code for you to paste into the HEAD section of your page.
So there’s no reason at all not to use META tags – and every reason to do so.
They are part of the agreed standards for building pages and sites, and it’s so easy to generate them that they should always be included in any and all pages.
After all – if they’re all included it won’t matter how much or how often the search engines change the way they view and use them in the future.
Whatever they do, your META tags will be in place, which will increase your site’s resilience to any changes they make.