The standard wordpress installation doesn’t come with meta tags. That’s the way ‘the way of the web’ is heading towards anyway, and wordpress being cutting-edge technology doesn’t include them. However, meta tags are still useful, so here’s my take on the subject.
Meta tags aren’t what they used to be. A few years ago, they were a mandatory task in a web developer’s project. They helped with search engine placement, recognition and provided the browser with important bits of information. However, they’re not as widely used anymore because of the fact that many people abused this functionality to gain unfair advantages. Still, although a lot of search engines don’t use them anymore, you can still benefit by including meta tags in your blogs core files.
There’s two ways you can do this. The manual way, which means editing template files, or you can just go download a plugin that will do it all for you. Hmm, in this case, I opted for the manual coding. The reason for my decision is that I like to keep my use of plugins as low as possible. Having a lot of plugins running in your installation can increase load times, and for such an activity as adding meta tags, I thought a plugin just wasn’t worth it.
Available Meta Tags
Following is the syntax for the most common meta tags:
Putting Meta Tags Into WordPress
If you want to put some static meta tags back into your wordpress blog, put them in header.php of your theme’s template files. At the top, after the DOCTYPE tag you should see the
Content on web pages and posts is always different and dynamic. Therefore, having meta tags that give the same information for every page limits you. A good idea is to use ‘generic tags’. Again, these go into your header.php file but the main difference is that these tags, such as ‘description’ and ‘keywords’ are aimed at describing ALL your pages and posts. So, for example, your ‘keywords’ meta tag could contain keywords appearing across all your site.
Using Meta Tag Plugins
There’s some great plugins available too that can do all this for you in real time. I use the All In One SEO plugin because it’s one of THE most popular plugins for wordpress blogs. You can customise the page title, description and keywords of each page or post in a very convenient area allocated at the bottom of your admin screen. Sometimes I do wonder if a plugin for my meta tags is justified, but I think it’s very important because the All In One SEO plugin is favoured by seasoned professionals.