META Tags Are A Waste of Time. Really?

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.

Here’s why:

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 and browsers view and treat your site.

For example, the ‘robots’ META tag gives the spiders instructions on whether to index a page or not, whether or not to follow outgoing links and whether or not to archive your page.

If there is no instruction the robots will index the page, follow links and archive it – that’s the default behaviour.

But if you don’t want people to find a page via the search engines – maybe it’s the page from which a freebie is downloaded after opting in to your email list – 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 the keyword META tags – but of course the Search Engines recognise the spammy keywords and ignore them.

But they don’t ignore 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.

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 best practice to use them.

Different Search Engines place different emphasis on different META tags now from a couple of years ago. But, as we know, search engines are forever changing their algorithms and what they focus on.

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 the page you’re building.

And, if you’re using WordPress, you can install one of the SEO plugins. They all give you fields into which you type data, such as your keywords, SEO title and META description, and they will generate the relevant tags for each page.

So there’s no reason at all not to use META tags – and every reason to do so. It’s simply best practice.

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.

Martin Malden

Martin Malden
Owner – WealthyDragon

Website owner: Martin has been working online since 2006 and focuses on two areas: 1) affiliate marketing and 2) designing and building websites based on WordPress. He has his own WordPress agency, and serves clients in Hong Kong, Australia and the UK.