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<META> tags to bring visitors to your site, Part 2

July 26, 2006

Continued from Introduction to META Tags.

Single-Purpose Tags

Again, you may argue this isn't a META tag. Correct. But it is meta-data, or data about data, and as such, these tags belong in this section. These tags are relevant only to those of you wanting to generate Google ads specifically targetting areas of content on your page. Other Web-based advertising schemes may well use similar tags.

Google AdSense serves up advertisements that it believes most relevant to your site; it determines relevance by analyzing your entire site contents. But sometimes it comes up with strange matches ... To target only a specific area of content, precede it with <!-- google_ad_section_start -->, and follow it with the <!-- google_ad_section_end --> tag.
This section targetting can incorporate as many sections of a page as you like. For it to work, you need significant amounts of content within the tags - something a search engine can actually analyze. And it should emphasize real content - using these tags to generate potentially higher-revenue but irrelevant content violates AdSense policies.

If you use google_ad_section tags, be certain to include your page's metadata within these tags, or AdSense targeting will ignore these fields, and could go completely off.

You can also designate sections you'd like to have ignored by adding a (weight=ignore) to the starting tag:

<!-- google_ad_section_start(weight=ignore) -->
This tag also requires the <!-- google_ad_section_end --> at the end of the code you wish to disregard. Useful if you have menus with titles of other articles on your site, for example, which might trigger ads that have nothing to do with the page's main content.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Language" content="EN">
This tag isn't as relevant for most of us as it might seem. Most web content is in English, and search engines assume English unless otherwise specified. Use it for all non-English pages. Supported languages and their codes are too numerous to list here; check ISO 3166-1 Country Names and Codes for specifics.
<META name="Robots" content="noindex, nofollow">
The Robots META Tag tells search engines whether a page is allowed to be indexed, and whether the engine is allowed to crawl your internal hyperlinks. If you want every page indexed, omit this tag: by default, a crawler will attempt to index all your pages and follow all internal links. Use the tag only if you want to hide web pages from a search engine, on each page you want hidden.
While this tag works with most web crawlers, it is unnecessary if you have a robots.txt file in your web file directory. The latter is more efficient: you don't need tags on each and every page.
<META name="Copyright" content="Copyright Statement">

This tag is not used by search engines. But if you want to mark the web page with copyright statements, trademark names, patent numbers, etc., then you can do so here. There is no specific format for the text between quotation marks. Fill 'er in.
<META name="Expires" content="Tue, 01 Jun 2006 23:59:59 GMT">

This tag gives the expiration date and time for the document. Useful for limited-time events, or for content you know you will delete by a given date: search engines will delete the page from their database after the specified time.

<META name="Abstract" content="Abstract phrase">

The Abstract META tag is very similar to the Description Meta tag: think of it as a condensed Description, a one-line overview of the entire page. I don't know of a single search engine that still looks for this tag.

<META name="Distribution" content="Global">

The distribution META tag defines whether your page may be viewed globally, locally, or internally, i.e. not for public distribution. Thus, the only content forms allowed are "global", "local", and "internal". It isn't particularly useful - if you truly wish to limit access to a document, it should be kept in a controlled-access web site or directory. Skip it.

<META name="Revisit-After" content="X Days">
In theory, the Revisit Tag defines the frequency with which a search engine re-indexes your page. It was developed for Vancouver Webpages and their local search engine searchBC; it was never adopted by anyone else, and is no longer used even by its creator. Ignore it.
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