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Website BuildingTutorials → Meta Tag Tutorial: Part 2


This tutorial continues on from Meta tag Tutorial: Part 1 and shows some of the less well known but often more interesting tags.

The Googlebot Tag

<meta name="googlebot" content="nosnippet">

You know all those extra features like caching & excerpts Google has in its search? Now you can actually control them!

  • nosnippet - From Google help: "A snippet is a text excerpt from the returned result page that has all query terms bolded. The excerpt allows users to see the context in which search terms appear on a web page, before clicking on the result. Users are more likely to click on a search result if it has a corresponding snippet." This value of NOSNIPPET removes the text snippet.

  • noarchive - From Google help: "Google keeps the text of the many documents it crawls available in a cache. This allows an archived, or "cached", version of a web page to be retrieved for your end users if the original page is ever unavailable (due to temporary failure of the page's web server). The cached page appears to users exactly as it looked when Google last crawled it. The cached page also includes a message (at the top of the page) to indicate that it's a cached version of the page."


  • Some of the smart guys out there might think if they use the NOSNIPPET value then they will have their meta description tag shown, unfortunately, this is not the case.

  • Also, if you wish to use multiple values you can stack them using commas, e.g: <meta name="GOOGLEBOT" content="nosnippet,noarchive">

  • You can also include the standards robots tags (below) so that you have nosnippet,noarchive,nofollow.

Finally, remember Google states that this tag is for restricting access to content, thus a tag like the following is both foolish and unprofessional: <meta name="GOOGLEBOT" content="index,follow">

<meta http-equiv="cache-control" content="no-cache">

Possible values here are:

  • Public - Page may be cached in public shared caches
  • Private - Page may only be cached in private cache
  • no-Cache - Page may not be cached
  • no-Store - Page may be cached but not archived

<meta name="copyright" content="© 2005 Benjamin Wigoder">

A very self-explanatory tag, who the copyright of the page belongs to (webmaster? ceo? company?)

<meta http-equiv="expires" content="Fri, 13 May 2006 22:30:07 GMT">

When the page content expires and search engines should either delete the page or revisit it. Day of week must be first 3 english letters, time must be in 24 hour format with seconds and it must be GMT.

<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">

Similar to the cache control but is more compatible with older http formats. It indicates no cache information should be used and all data requests should be forwarded to the origin server.

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;URL=">

A very useful tag - so much more compatible and reliable than Javascript redirects. The first number is in seconds and then you type the URL (can be relative: e.g. page2.html instead of http://www...)

<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">

The Googlebot tag was based on this one, possible values are:

  • all - The default, the same as index,follow.
  • noindex - Do not index the page.
  • index - Index the page.
  • follow - Follow all links from the page.
  • nofollow - Don't follow any links from the page.
  • none - Robots can ignore the page (same as noindex,nofollow).

Robots values can be stacked using commas, e.g: <meta name="robots" content="index,nofollow">

<meta name="publisher" content="Benjamin Wigoder">

Not a very well known tag, often matches the value of the author and copyright holder, but not always.

<meta http-equiv="Reply-to" CONTENT="">

I really do not advise this tag unless you like spam...

<meta name="creation_date" CONTENT="03/06/2005">

The date on which the page was created.

<meta http-equiv="Window-target" content="_top">

In the newest browsers this means no more Javascript to stop other sites framing your pages - just insert this and your site cannot be framed! Do NOT use on frame pages!


Well, there you have it, almost every meta tag in existance in one place! I excluded some because they were too specific (like some Microsoft ones...) If you missed it, the first Meta tag tutorial part is available on my site and features the more important and more common meta tags. Remember, metas are not dead - just under-estimated!