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Meta Tags Are Back In Business

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 by Lee Wilson tagged

HTMLThis week Google raised an interested glance (actually, I would go further to state that Google has waved a metaphorical fan to gauge the levels of interest of the Meta Tags; as in the traditional days of initial courtship) at the use of Meta Tags for websites with the announcement of two additional tags which can be used to help determine source and syndication of news articles.

Pretty much anyone that has had any level of involvement in search engine optimisation, online marketing, website design and development or is web savvy to any great degree would have a degree of familiarity for the term Meta Tags.

I’m not going to spend time meandering through the historical tangent shifts of Google’s algorithmic emphasis on Meta Tags (and associated attributes) as it has all been said many times before, although I have always had a secret penchant for Meta Tags and just wish that they had not been abused so much by so many spammers.

I am going to tell all of you closest Meta Data appreciators out there – YES, I know I am not the only one; that Meta Tags are coming back into fruition.

Yes, I said it and I’m not going to take it back either.

I’m not saying that Google is going to start placing SEO emphasis on the Meta Descriptions Tag, Meta Keywords et al (although some search engines still do to a lesser extent – on the Meta Keywords) and I’m not encouraging anyone to start stuffing these tags with spammy information – please don’t!!!

I am saying look after your Meta Tags, treat them with respect and theme them accordingly. If you want to add some value to this (very often under tapped SEO resource) particularly if you either syndicate content from another source/provider or syndicate your own content to other sources you want to be making use of the source attribution Meta Tags.

The following snippet is taken directly from Google:

“Both tags are standard HTML metatags, and should be added to the <head> element of the article page:

<meta content=”http://www.example.com/wire_story_1.html”>
<meta content=”http://www.example.com/scoop_article_2.html”>

Please note that in both cases, the content attribute contains a URL. The URL of the current page can be used to indicate that it should receive credit with either tag. Our expectation is that you should only need to use one of these tags for a particular article, since they address different scenarios. If a publisher uses both syndication-source and original-source on one article, we’ll pick one of the two to use.”

So why am I so excited about this???

Firstly, Google has been very explicit in its language in regards to these tags – “we’ll pick one of the two to use” which tells me as an SEO opportunity seeker that this is more important in regards to authority than is being made out.

Secondly, Google state that “Our expectation is that you should only need to use one of these tags for a particular article” which suggests to me that they are already looking to set aside parameters for assessing these areas and I would go further to state that this indicates an algorithmic shift in recognition of these adds adding tangible authoritative value.

I’m going to leave it there and say – Go seek out the implementation opportunities for these tags, position any syndicated content to ensure credit is gained and revisit your perceptions of the meagre Meta Tags.

Also please note:

This is in testing phase by Google so the success of this is to some extent (a topic in its own right) dependent upon all of our usage – so please use appropriately.

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About the author

Lee Wilson

Lee Wilson

Lee joined Vertical Leap as an SEO Campaign Delivery Manager in 2010 and heads up the SEO team after successfully managing the online and direct marketing development of a financial services company for over seven years. Lee is a certified web applications developer (Cert WAD) and a regular LinkedIn user. Follow me on Google Plus