What Meta Tags Do Search Engines Use?

It is well known that all search engines no longer use the meta keyword tag, but what other tags are currently in use? I read an article recently that said Google was not even using the meta description tag, so what are search engines using?

First, it is true, the meta keywords tag is dead. Don’t bother loading in page keywords or adding that tag. I don’t think that it will come back either. Search engines are just too sophisticated now to be spoon fed your selected keywords. They will find their own in your content.

Second, in the Google Webmaster Help website, Google states that it understands the meta description tag, the title tag, the meta robot tag, Google site verification, and refresh tag. What they didn’t say was they were using them all.¬†As of 10/14/11 Google was using my own meta description tag as my information in a Google.com search AND they were using my meta title tag.

Third, how about Bing.com? Bing is using my meta description tag, but not my meta title tag, they are creating their own from my content. In fact they are using one of my H1 tags verbatim, but not from the top of the page but rather from the middle of the page.

Another thing of note to mention at this time is that some browsers such as IE9 now don’t show the meta title of a page in the top chrome of the browser just above the address bar, they used to, but not anymore.

Things change on the Web. Over the years I’ve seen the meta description tag not used and then after a year or two used again by Google, but I don’t think that the keywords meta tag will come back. When you do a search for your own business, do you see your meta description tag?

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One Reply to “What Meta Tags Do Search Engines Use?”

  1. This just found today about Bing and the keyword meta tag by Bing’s Senior Product Manager, Duane Forrester:

    “I’ll make this statement: meta keywords is a signal. One of roughly a thousand we analyze.

    “Getting it right is a nice perk for us, but won’t rock your world. Abusing meta keywords can hurt you.”

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