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Meta Keywords & Robots: On Page SEO Basics

Steven 2 responses SEO

This post is a follow-up of last week post about SEO: On Page SEO: Meta-data 1/2. I invite you to read this previous post as well. If you would like to have a whole picture of my WordPress SEO guide, you can check the series from the very first post: Comprehensive introduction to SEO.


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The Meta Keywords tag

SEO specialists are still discussing the importance of this tag. In the past it appeared to be used a lot by the Search Engines to rank the pages for given keywords, but due to some abuse by Black Hatters, its importance has been lowered.

Moreover, if you decide to use them, the same rule as Meta Description applies. It seems to be used to detect duplicate content, so it should be unique for each page.

The Meta Robots tag

This tag is used to tell the Search Engines Spiders (robots used to index your pages) if they should index your pages or not, and if they should follow the links on a given page.

You can put 2 values for each variable: index/noindex (it will index your page or not), follow/nofollow (it will follow the links on this page or not).

The Robots.txt file has a similar use, which makes this tag optional but it can be useful if you want to prevent the indexing of a single page.

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  1. Jeffrey Kang

    Just for clarification for anyone who is just starting to understand the basic html structure of a webpage – programmers can customize each webpage to do very specific things, such as provide a label that is used to help search engines store information about the site.

    Many of you may ask ‘why on earth would I not want a search engine to rank a page on my website?’ Because sometimes your post my have nothing to do with the topic of your site. And since Google, Yahoo and MSN rank results, by default, according to its relevance to the search term, you don’t want to confuse the search engine on what your website is about.

    So if your site is about ‘making money online’ then you should not have subjects in your posts that have to do with camels and llamas. But if you MUST have a post about camels and llamas, you can use the nofollow attribute in the robots tag.

    1. I’m not sure to understand the part about “provide a label that is used to help search engines store information about the site”.

      About the fact of having some of your pages noindexed and nofollowed by search engines, I disagree. The search engines don’t really care if you have a page which is off-topic. They are advanced enough to not penalize your blog for such a thing.

      The major issue with having too many posts far from your main topic is that you are going to lose your readers because they won’t see what is the true purpose of your blog.

      Why would you want to close the door on the few extra visitors who might be interested by camels and llamas? They may do a search about camels today and be interested by “making money online” the rest of the time… You never know. You should never noindex your posts, no matter the subject.

      The noindex and nofollow attributes are generally used if you want to hide some content from search engines and visitors. For example admin pages, technical pages…