Google Recognized Meta Tags

The following list includes the current Google recognized meta tags.

Description:
Title: The Title of the Page
Robots: and Googlebot:
“noindex”
“nofollow”
“nosnippet”
“noodp”
“noarchive”
“unavailable_after:[date]”
“noimageindex”
“none”
No Site Link:
No Translate:
Google Verification:
Content Type: and Character Set:
Refresh (Redirect):
Google Recognized Meta Tag Descriptions

Description meta tags provide a short description of the page, and should be unique for each page. A readable tag that contains important keywords and entices the searcher to click on your link is the goal. They can be any length; however typically will work best at 160 to 170 characters long. Anything longer will likely be truncated by the search engine so it is important to write quality description meta tags.

The Title of the Page

The title tag is not actually a Meta tag, however it is listed here because the title tag is most often used in conjunction with the Meta Descriptions. Like the description, the title is important because it will likely be shown as the page title in search results just above the description when searchers are provided their results. Read more about Google recognized meta descriptions and titles.

It is the robots meta tags that directs how the search engine crawling and indexing behaves. Above you see two examples. The “robots” meta tag is for all search engines while the “googlebot” tag is Google specific. By default, the values are “index, follow” which is the same as “all”. They do not need to be specified, however there are other values that must be added to the tag. If you are using multiple tags, they can be separated by a comma as shown in the above example =”…, …”. The following list of values are used to modify search engine behavior.

“noindex” – The page will not be indexed.
“nofollow” – The links from this page will not be followed.
“nosnippet” – A snippet will not be shown in the search results. In other words, the page will be removed from all search results.
“noodp” – The alternate description from the ODP/DMOZ will not be used.
“noarchive” – A cached link for the page will not be shown.
“unavailable_after:[date]” – Allows you to set a date to end crawling and indexing.
“noimageindex” – An image that appears will not show your page as the referring page.
“none” – This is used to apply both “noindex” and “nofollow”.

The site links search box is sometimes displayed for specific websites, as well as other site specific links. Using this meta tag will stop Google from showing this box for your site.

In some cases, the language your website uses is not likely to be the language the searcher would like it to be. When it is determined that this is likely the case, Google will place a translate link in the search results. While this is a great way to broaden your reach, there are sometimes scenarios when this is not preferred. In those cases, this meta tag will remove the translation link and any translation provided by Google.

Including this tag on the main or top page of your website allows you to verify ownership of it through Google Webmaster Tools. Google will provide you the input data for “name” and “content”. The site verification tag must match what is provided exactly and is case sensitive. Your site will then be considered “Google Verified”.

A site’s content type and character set are defined using these meta tags. It’s important to note that the content type value should be surrounded by quotes. Failure to do so may cause the character set to be misinterpreted. It’s also recommended by Google to use Unicode/UTF-8 when it’s possible.

In some cases, you may want a user to be redirected to another page or site after a set amount of time. This meta tag allows simple way to do this. The caution is that not all browser programs support this code and confusion can result. It is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium that this is not the best meta tag to use. Google instead recommends using a server-side 301 redirect in its place. If your site is built in WordPress we recommend the Simple 301 Redirects plugin.

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