Some META tags are used on a daily basis to fine tune a website page for the search engines. There are however, several META tags that many people have never heard of, yet should probably either have in their knowledge cabinet to use where appropriate, or have already used if they knew they existed.
There are times when you do a search only to find the results are either out of date, or no longer available. A good example would be a blog or website that runs a competition. Once the competition has been completed, do you really want that page indexed and being found in the search results? Stale pages can often be a downer when it comes to your reputation.
META tags that experienced optimization experts employ if needed is the “unavailable after” tag. This is used in the following format:
META NAME=”GOOGLEBOT” CONTENT=”unavailable after: 31-Dec-2007 23:59:59 EST”
Used in the pages header, this instructs Google to remove the page from the index at 11:59 pm on the 31st August 2008 (note the date format).
This can be an important tag for pages used for special promotions like Valentine’s Day, Christmas or any other event. It can take a day for the page to be removed from index. These pages often contain little in the way of value when it comes to search engine optimization strategies. Rather than remove the pages altogether, using this tag maintains the page but removes it from the search engine index.
The second META tag that is often ignored is the “No Archive” tag. If you have a page that is constantly changing, for example you may be publishing sports or news results, or topically for today, reporting on the Olympic Games medal counts.
Search engines, when they index a page, take a snapshot that is archived. This is available to anyone to view when they do a search. If you are constantly updating your page, using the Olympic Gold medal tally as an example, your archive page will be out of date the moment your update your content. The search engine may not come back for 24 hours or more to re-index and take another archive snapshot.
The “No Archive” tag prevents the search engine from taking that snapshot. This means you won’t have any stale pages sitting in the search engine archives. Placed in the header, the META tag would look like:
META NAME=”GOOGLEBOT” CONTENT=”NOARCHIVE”
These are little known and little used META tags that can have an influence on your search engine optimization strategies. Using them in the right place at the right time can prevent problems down the track – particularly when it comes to searchers and your reputation.