I'm trying to make an up to date chart of meta tags, for all of us, with their purposes, their use and their good (or bad) effects on search engines and being found. Also any body knows new or promising meta tags? I will add yours into my list so this chart is a result of live discussion and up to date. Also, it would be creative to invent your own useful meta, because we are the ones making the web, or aren't we?

P PURPOSE? What does this meta tag do in 2011, if anything
N NECESSARY? Does every site really needs it or not?
G GOOD wether it will have a good effect for your site to be found
I INVENTED meta tag, who knows it will be accepted in a year!


#### important
meta "title" = P consice summary + teaser - N very - G extremely
meta "description" = P description + teaser - N yes - G very
meta "robots" = P if needed, to skip default dmoz/yahoodir listing - N no - G?

#### new & promising! Thanks for input (John, )
meta "original-source" P url of whoever broke the news gets credits - N? - G?
meta "syndication-source"  P url for syndication of published news - N? - G?
meta "canonical" P? - N? - G?
meta "google" = P to hide the [Tranalate this page?] set it to "notranslate"

#### seems obsolete
meta "keywords" = P some keywords - N+G not for google but yahoo likes them
meta "language" = P overrule guesswork by defining language - N no - G? 
meta "page-topic" = P topic/theme - N? - G?
meta "abstract" = P short summary - N? - G?
meta "copyright" = ?

#### invented by me
meta "audience" = P filteres audience: "+seniors, +parents, -children, -youth"
meta "mood" = P specifies textual style: "discussion, informative, commercial,
              sexual, fictional, scientific, romantic, therapeutic, technical"

6 Answers 6


If to rank 1st it would suffice to cheat with the meta tags, Google results would be just an infinite long string with one single result because we would all rank in 1st position.

IMHO META TAGS are old stuff for SEO, except for one the META DESCRIPTION.

This is ignored by Google for ranking, but it's shown as a snippet in Google results. When it's well written it might lead to more people willing to click on the result that brings to your site.

To go specifically to your table, keywords are ignored by Google too. And taking care to be 1st with serach engine other than Google is waste of time for two good reasons:

  1. if you look ta the stats of any of your websites I bet only 1 on 1000 accesses come from a search engine that is not Google.

  2. When you are 1st in Google you usually rank excellent also on other search engines.

You don't need to set index/follow in a meta tags robots either, search engine look 1st if you have a robots.txt file unless you Disallow some pages there they will go on crawling your site, it's not that writing follow makes Google say: "ohh, let's follow it because he suggests me to do it!"

The language tag can bring some benefit but I think Google is able to detcet the language of your page on its own, I use it to easily detect page language from JS, so I use it anyway without thinking at SEO.

  • thanks Marco, from your input, i put description for now at the very top of the list
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 13:38
  • It was me, and was a mistake. Sorry, corrected. :) Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 13:48
  • @Vergil Penkov: no problem, at least you have the courage of your doings. Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 13:55
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    I disagree about the robots. Pages like search results, tag/category overview, date-based archives etc. can often produce duplicate content and shouldn't always be indexed. Following them however would be a good idea to allow spiders to get to all your pages. I use nofollow,index a lot. Nobody says follow forces google to follow it. Doesn't make the tag entirely useless though.Also, even though it's not called 'meta' literally the <title> is also meta information of a page and very important :P Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 13:59
  • Exactly what I said, you use "nofollow", but do you use "follow" for SEO purpose? I'm saying that "follow" is useless for SEO purpose, SE do follow stuff on their own unless Disallow or noindex. But he is asking what is useful to rank well on SE, not how to disallow SE to pass PR or to index a page. Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 14:03

Very informative article.I agree that meta tags are irrelevant now a days.It gives list of your targeted keywords to your competitor very easily.Instead of using meta tag keyword use meta tag description.Use your specific keyword phrase just once within the description tag.


I consider only the description and robots tag for useful. The rest of them hardly add any value.

Even the meta description tag is sometimes ignored by Google (unless a robots="noodp,noydir" is specified) and uses description and/or title from the DMOZ and Yahoo! directories. I can give this as an example (check out the first result).

  • robots tag is not useful, unless you want to Disallow something, but NOT to force the bot to follow something. Crawlers follows pages/links on their own, UNLESS DISALLOWED! Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 13:48
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    noodp, noydir values in the robots tag prevent search engines from getting titles and descriptions from the online directories I mentioned. So it has other uses, too. See the example I provided. Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 13:49
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    @Vergil: good example, but he is specifically asking for "New META TAGS with POSITIVE effects for seo ranking..." Do you think noodp,noydir will have positive effect on ranking? Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 14:07
  • Thanks, i have updated this, i believe now, into the question.
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 18:07
  • My statement was that these meta tags add some value. What they do is not improve your SERP rankings but allow you to put some text which would convince the users that your website is right for them instead of any other SERP result. So they don't directly affect rankings, but are still a must. Commented Dec 3, 2010 at 7:26

I think this article really sums the current status of meta tags up well: The wonderful world of meta tags


I'd agree with the abuse potential if this were part of the organic ranking algo - but it's confined just to google news sites. That is a controlled, small set of all sites. Any site needs to apply and be accepted first and abusers can be dropped once they are identified.

  • @Indian, you are specifically talking about original-source? or syndication-source? or both? PS where you found out that only news-generating websites should use original-source? i thought i read that any original content generation "NEW" stuff propagating site that potentially is harvested, coudl/might/should use original-source to protect its intellectual properties by the proof of being the first of that news/invention/article/story.
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 23, 2010 at 16:34

Dude, I'm really trying to not be a pain in the ass guy but... This seems to be useless just invent things.

Yeah, I know, this can be one of two: just for fun (and see what other people that make web think) OR a real intention to create something to be used.

If you are on the second option, I need to inform some paths you seem to ignore at this point: meta tags are standardized. And who makes standards at this moment are W3C and WHATWG.

So I'd recommend you to:

  1. Read current specs and working drafts
  2. Read development storyline for those specs. Sometimes you are proposing something that have been already denied, and for a good reason.
  3. Join the mailing lists and propose what you think that should be good.
  4. Before step above, read how people use to propose things. That will make other people hear you better.
  5. Keep in mind that SEO isn't one of the concerns from standard-makers.
  6. It would also great you know a bit of history of WHATWG. In a short: the leader is Ian Hixie, one of google heads.

Good luck.

  • 1
    -2 ?! OK, my answer wasn't an enthusiast with the proposed idea, however I pointed out the right and useful way to get ideas working at a pro level. I would really like to know why I got down votes. Nothing against being down voted, but knowing what went wrong is helpful for everybody, including me. Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 16:39
  • I didnt give any negative vote, but i, as a just graduated architect, see my world being created, not being followed by some lazy ass, extremely slow scientists at W3C who make the ugliest of all websites that noone really enjoys anyways. So I think being creative and establishing our OWN ideas is a vote for websusers like me, you, our parents and children. Waiting for some w3C to take action is like waiting for Aliens to send a message to us in understandable, agreed-upon standards-compliant language! On the other hand thank you for keeping us realistic and not allowing us to drift offtopic!
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 17:43
  • Sam, I see your point. I was there in same shoes few years ago. And I agree that bureaucracy isn't cool (and w3c sites is ugly). But when I talked about getting to know WHATWG history, it has something in commom to what you said. In short, organizations that makes web (Apple, Google, Mozilla, Opera, Yahoo!...) were extremely disappointed to directions W3C were working in the last years and resolved to make their own way. These organizations founded WHATWG and started working on new specifications they would like W3C to do. Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 18:03
  • [continuation] OK, so if who crawls and makes sites, and who makes web browsers are united, W3C becomes obsolete. This got so far, that W3C dropped their works on XHTML2 and adopted what WHATWG was making - W3C just publish a revised version of what WHATWG publishes on HTML5. People who makes internet work are reinventing the internet basis, and WHATWG processes are further quick than W3C. So, yes, they are already doing what you are trying to propose here. This is why I gave direction I gave. Commented Dec 2, 2010 at 18:07

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