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Though most largest search engines do not 'spider' the keyword Meta Tags on your page, and in some cases ignore these completely, the use of Meta Tags on your page still serves an important purpose. There are literally hundreds, even thousands of smaller search engines scattered all across the Internet. Whilst the bigger engines tend to 'spider' whole pages instead and obtain their results from that, these smaller search engines don't have as much physical space to work with and must do things differently. It is in these particular engines you will find that Meta Tags are still very important.

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Last Post by stymiee
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And then, of course, there is our own DaniWeb directory, which fetches meta tags from the sites submitted to it and uses them to enhance search results. See! Meta tags aren't dead after all!

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And then, of course, there is our own DaniWeb directory, which fetches meta tags from the sites submitted to it and uses them to enhance search results. See! Meta tags aren't dead after all!

This is a perfect example of why you still want to use them.

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Though most largest search engines do not 'spider' the keyword Meta Tags on your page...

To think that the 'largest search engines' haven't had a little wee sneaky-peek into your meta tags is like thinking that the nurse hasn't seen your dirty shorts. I know that's a bad analogy folks but I'm tired of trying to think up a better one.

Ask yourself roxxy, if the 'largest search engines' in fact know what is in, for example, your keywords meta tag then do they use that information when deciding about what your site and web pages are about and how to position them in the SERPs? What do you think roxxy?

Always use the description and keywords meta tags and use them well.

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Don't forget, a lot of the larger search engines also use the meta tags to help determine duplicate content within your site. If you use the same ones across a couple of pages, then those pages will most likely never see the light of day.

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Don't forget, a lot of the larger search engines also use the meta tags to help determine duplicate content within your site. If you use the same ones across a couple of pages, then those pages will most likely never see the light of day.

Not true. Lots of websites have the same meta tag on every page and rank very well and have tens of thousands of pages indexed.

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Not true. Lots of websites have the same meta tag on every page and rank very well and have tens of thousands of pages indexed.

There will always be exceptions to general search engine behaviour.

The only important question to consider with this issue, as far as I'm concerned is whether the overly repeated meta tag web site stands the test of time. According to the search engine behaviour that I have been seeing, it should get eliminated fairly quickly as a significant contender in any meaningful keyphrase competition. Perhaps it would survive an obscure keyphrase arena.

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There will always be exceptions to general search engine behaviour.

The only important question to consider with this issue, as far as I'm concerned is whether the overly repeated meta tag web site stands the test of time. According to the search engine behaviour that I have been seeing, it should get eliminated fairly quickly as a significant contender in any meaningful keyphrase competition. Perhaps it would survive an obscure keyphrase arena.

I wouldn't be so quick to call them exceptions. Because Meta Tags have so little value in SEO anymore thanks to abuse, few webmasters go so far as to create unique Meta Tags for their pages. The majority of sites that use Meta Tags create one set that is used for every page in their website as they don't want to spend a lot of time on them and rightly so. There are just too many sites like this that are successful and have been successful for a long time to dismiss them.

It is also widely accepted that Meta Tags will never hurt your rankings in the SERPs. The sites that have the same Meta Tags on every page and the sites that have Meta Tags a mile long (a.k.a.a stuffed) prove this every day. Meta Tags and their influence on SEO have had their day come and go.

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I wouldn't be so quick to call them exceptions. Because Meta Tags have so little value in SEO anymore thanks to abuse, few webmasters go so far as to create unique Meta Tags for their pages. The majority of sites that use Meta Tags create one set that is used for every page in their website as they don't want to spend a lot of time on them and rightly so. There are just too many sites like this that are successful and have been successful for a long time to dismiss them.

It is also widely accepted that Meta Tags will never hurt your rankings in the SERPs. The sites that have the same Meta Tags on every page and the sites that have Meta Tags a mile long (a.k.a.a stuffed) prove this every day. Meta Tags and their influence on SEO have had their day come and go.

We may have to agree to disagree on this one. :)

I agree with Canada Fred, I think they are exceptions and will not stand the test of time. Especially after the BigDaddy update on Google. Many web pages went supplemental because their meta tags were the same (this is not to say that only pages that did this went supplmental, many pages went supplemental for other reasons).

I do think (and agree with you) that meta tags have lost tremondous value, especially the keywords tag. However, the meta description has some value, and that unique and appropriate meta tags become a factor when combined with other elements (unique titles, etc).

Just my 2 cents :)

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We may have to agree to disagree on this one. :)

Yep. :)

I agree with Canada Fred, I think they are exceptions and will not stand the test of time. Especially after the BigDaddy update on Google. Many web pages went supplemental because their meta tags were the same (this is not to say that only pages that did this went supplmental, many pages went supplemental for other reasons).

I'd love to see what evidence you have for this as this is quite a reach. If it is just an observation (from yourself or others) with no empirical evidence then it shouldn't be touted as fact.

However, the meta description has some value, and that unique and appropriate meta tags become a factor when combined with other elements (unique titles, etc).

Meta Description Tags have no value in the search algorithms. This is an SEO fact that no one disputes. The only time you will the search engines care about the Meta Description is when they use it to display the description of a page in their SERPs (typically done when there is no listing in DMOZ and/one one cannot be discerned from the page itself) . But don't confuse this with being part of their algorithm as they are two very separate and different things.

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A site can in fact perform incredibly well under practically every conceivable situation imaginable. Just when I think of something that couldn't possibly work well in the SERPs, an example of it working well in the SERPs pops up before me. This is all part of SERPs battles. Things sometimes work well but shouldn't technically and things sometimes don't work well but technically should work tremendously.

One must keep in mind, many times a web site appears to be doing something supernatural, yet upon a deeper analysis, it is often revealed that artificial importance has been assigned to the web site as a result of a cleverly implemented SERP manipulation scheme. Frequently these are brilliantly deployed and very difficult to detect even for the most seasoned code-cruncher. Are these the types of web sites that do not require meta data in order to competively challenge other web pages for meaningful keyphrases? Exactly what keyphrases are we talking about here that the keyphrase winners do not require meta data? Not any that I'm in that for sure. What are these keyphrases specifically? Are they in meaningful competitions or just obscurities?

The important thing for any webmaster is to consider should always rest on what it is that the search engines want and what it is that they say will reward the web site.

Have you thought about that lately or is that irrelevant?

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I'd love to see what evidence you have for this as this is quite a reach. If it is just an observation (from yourself or others) with no empirical evidence then it shouldn't be touted as fact.

Ok, fair is fair. :p I thought it was implied (by the usage of the words "I think" and "My 2 cents" that my statements were opinion). Since empircal evidence for SEO algorithims is difficult to provide since the algos themselves are proprietary in nature. Please correct my previous post to say that it is my opinion. And that all of the following below is my opinion.

I have seen first hand that creating unique meta description tags got a bunch of web pages out of supplemental results. I never said anything about the algo and the SERP. I believe they impact how your site is indexed (i.e. supplemental results) and if your pages are supplemental, they will most likely never see the light of day for any "normal" searches. Therefore, I do believe that they have some value.


BTW, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, you are making statements that are clearly being presented as fact., for example

This is an SEO fact that no one disputes. The only time you will the search engines care about the Meta Description is when they use it to display the description of a page in their SERPs

Where is your empircal evidence to back these statements up?

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One must keep in mind, many times a web site appears to be doing something supernatural, yet upon a deeper analysis, it is often revealed that artificial importance has been assigned to the web site as a result of a cleverly implemented SERP manipulation scheme. Frequently these are brilliantly deployed and very difficult to detect even for the most seasoned code-cruncher. Are these the types of web sites that do not require meta data in order to competively challenge other web pages for meaningful keyphrases? Exactly what keyphrases are we talking about here that the keyphrase winners do not require meta data? Not any that I'm in that for sure. What are these keyphrases specifically? Are they in meaningful competitions or just obscurities?

Once again, I agree with Canadafred :cheesy:

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The important thing for any webmaster is to consider should always rest on what it is that the search engines want and what it is that they say will reward the web site.

Have you thought about that lately or is that irrelevant?

It's not irrelevant. It's missing the big picture completely. Webmasters should be considering what their users want before they care what the search engines want. Why? Because all SEO really is is a well coded/designed website with good content. Technically, that should be every website. Obviously it isn't.

The one thing anyone who has been doing SEO for a while knows (and I hate that phrase "doing SEO") is that a website with good content ultimately ranks well for the phrases it chooses to rank well for. Why? Because good content by its very nature is what the search engines want. This is because:

1) Good content naturally contains the keywords users are looking for

2) The keywords will also be in the appropriate markup like <hx> tags and <em> tags, etc., because that's what the page is about

3) Good content encourages other websites to link to them unilaterally (a.k.a link baiting). We all know just how valuable this is in Google's algorithm and MSN as well.

4) If a web designer/developer takes usability and accessibility into consideration, and everyone should, their site will naturally be friendly to the search engines' crawlers as they are essentially no different then a screen reader or other accessibility-usability-needy user.

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A site can in fact perform incredibly well under practically every conceivable situation imaginable. Just when I think of something that couldn't possibly work well in the SERPs, an example of it working well in the SERPs pops up before me. This is all part of SERPs battles. Things sometimes work well but shouldn't technically and things sometimes don't work well but technically should work tremendously.

There are so many factors in search algorithms it can often be difficult to tell why a site ranks where it does for any particular search term. Only controlled experiments can really determine any real "facts" about how the search engines work. A good example of this is the article, "Search Engine Indexing Limits: Where Do the Bots Stop?". Another is the famous Miserable Failure Google Bomb.

I don't think any webmasters should have any expectations as to what works well and what doesn't. Good content ultimately works well, everything else doesn't. After all, that's what the search engines are after. As they continue to improve their algorithms crap and spam will be lowered in the rankings and good content will rise. Sure, along the way crap will succeed, but with every change they fall to the wayside.

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Ok, fair is fair. :p I thought it was implied (by the usage of the words "I think" and "My 2 cents" that my statements were opinion). Since empircal evidence for SEO algorithims is difficult to provide since the algos themselves are proprietary in nature. Please correct my previous post to say that it is my opinion. And that all of the following below is my opinion.

Fair enough. :)

I have seen first hand that creating unique meta description tags got a bunch of web pages out of supplemental results. I never said anything about the algo and the SERP. I believe they impact how your site is indexed (i.e. supplemental results) and if your pages are supplemental, they will most likely never see the light of day for any "normal" searches. Therefore, I do believe that they have some value.

Supplemental pages do suck. Being in them is only slightly better than being banned.

I'd love to see this expanded on multiple sites (ten or more) with supplemental results to see if these results can be duplicated. But your observations are good and make for an interesting theory and discussion.

BTW, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, you are making statements that are clearly being presented as fact., for example Where is your empircal evidence to back these statements up?

Much of what I have stated here is actually old news. If you frequent multiple communities that discuss SEO you'll see that the established members from each community all say the same thing. This information is based on years of observation from a variety of sources. One place where I have accumulated a lot of this knowledge is in the Search Engine Optimization FAQ I have written in another forum.

One thing that I've said many times is when you are looking for information about SEO is to never trust only one source for all of your information. How the search engines tick has not been revealed by the search engines so naturally much of what we know has to come from observation. This observation has to be widespread (many people are seeing the same things under similar/identical circumstances) and reproducible. Reproducing on your own websites is the best evidence of all.

The biggest headache in SEO is people making blanket statements based on little or no evidence or with little to no practical thought given to it. This kind of misinformation is littered all over the web and makes learning SEO difficult for the novice entering the field. If we could get these same people to stop posting misinformation and instead write tutorials fro writing good content, usability, and accessibility, everyone would be an SEO expert.

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1) Good content naturally contains the keywords users are looking for

2) The keywords will also be in the appropriate markup like <hx> tags and <em> tags, etc., because that's what the page is about

3) Good content encourages other websites to link to them unilaterally (a.k.a link baiting). We all know just how valuable this is in Google's algorithm and MSN as well.

4) If a web designer/developer takes usability and accessibility into consideration, and everyone should, their site will naturally be friendly to the search engines' crawlers as they are essentially no different then a screen reader or other accessibility-usability-needy user.

1. Great content contains keyphrases too, but additionally uses them in a variety of stemmed manners deriving from the roots of the keywords within the keyphrases, rigourously engages in the use of semantics and is in itself a masterly written work illuminating the use of correct spelling and grammar.

3. There is no need to stimulate developing authenticity for great content.

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They never actually were. Since the contents of the description tag are often displayed as snippets by Google you can use them to pop in a quick sales pitch. If it helps your client's ROI, all to the good. Plus of course you've got the new anti-DMOZ tag these days which can help a site's ROI also.

BB

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Although it is thought that these tags do not hold as much importance as they once did, I feel for myself at least to still put a high importance on them - can't hurt!

JB

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Although it is thought that these tags do not hold as much importance as they once did, I feel for myself at least to still put a high importance on them - can't hurt!

JB

No one said not to use them. Just don't use them with the expectations of having them affect your rankings.

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I have to say I never heard that one. I think you might be getting confused with the title tag (which is not a meta tag unless it's the meta name="title" variety).

BB

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Don't forget, a lot of the larger search engines also use the meta tags to help determine duplicate content within your site. If you use the same ones across a couple of pages, then those pages will most likely never see the light of day.

I must say I never heard that one etc etc :-)) sorry, all, I forgot to quote on that last one!

BB

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Don't forget, a lot of the larger search engines also use the meta tags to help determine duplicate content within your site. If you use the same ones across a couple of pages, then those pages will most likely never see the light of day.

Not true. This is only true with content on the page. In Google, similar page titles will result in the pages falling under, "In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the 5 already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included."

There are so many sites out there with the same meta tags on every page because of how worthless they are that is this was true tons of sites that currently rank well and are indexed well would be in trouble.

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Sounds like expert SEO advice to me. You obviously have sound insights into what it is the search engines are rewarding according to what they are instructing us to create.

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Sounds like expert SEO advice to me. You obviously have sound insights into what it is the search engines are rewarding according to what they are instructing us to create.

If you are referring to meta tags we've already covered that the search engines don't instruct us to create them.

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The one thing anyone who has been doing SEO for a while knows (and I hate that phrase "doing SEO") is that a website with good content ultimately ranks well for the phrases it chooses to rank well for. Why? Because good content by its very nature is what the search engines want. This is because:

1) Good content naturally contains the keywords users are looking for

2) The keywords will also be in the appropriate markup like <hx> tags and <em> tags, etc., because that's what the page is about

3) Good content encourages other websites to link to them unilaterally (a.k.a link baiting). We all know just how valuable this is in Google's algorithm and MSN as well.

4) If a web designer/developer takes usability and accessibility into consideration, and everyone should, their site will naturally be friendly to the search engines' crawlers as they are essentially no different then a screen reader or other accessibility-usability-needy user.

John this is the best post I have seen around for a long a time. Thanks man.

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Using meta-tags is still a good practice, the Title tag being the most important to the ranking of the page. Sites that have the same meta-tags on each page are most likely not getting ranked for all their pages like they could. Unique content on each page is key of course. I would suggest having a nice content rich homepage and then building out pages focused on different topics related to your site. Keep adding pages and your traffic will increase. Go out and get some backlinks and you are on your way!

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I agree that unique page meta tags are important. Is it true, though, that Google doesn't follow them at all anymore?

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Using meta-tags is still a good practice, the Title tag being the most important to the ranking of the page. Sites that have the same meta-tags on each page are most likely not getting ranked for all their pages like they could. Unique content on each page is key of course. I would suggest having a nice content rich homepage and then building out pages focused on different topics related to your site. Keep adding pages and your traffic will increase. Go out and get some backlinks and you are on your way!

The title tag is not a Meta Tag. Also, sites with the same meta tag on each page rank just fine because meta tags have no value to search engines.

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