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Avoiding Duplicate Content In Meta Keyword & Desc Tags


chibineku
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How important is it to avoid duplicate content in your keyword and description meta tags when considering the way search engine spiders penalize duplicate content? Do I really need to have different meta tags for every page? It's easy when it comes to product detail pages and product category pages because I can get them from my database, but do the tags need to have different descriptions/keywords on my login page, my root page, my registration page, etc.? If so, what is a good way to programmatically generate unique meta tags? Create an array and choose randomly? Create a database table and choose randomly? Or just hard code and try not to repeat myself?

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I actually don't think the keywords tag is very useful. Google uses special algorithms to extract keywords from your site's content.I don't think having the same description tag for different pages will cause too much trouble as long as the rest of the page isn't an exact copy of another one.

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This subject will always be debated but the truth of the matter is you never know which search engine is going to produce a hit until after it produces it. So, it doesn't matter if google is one (maybe the only one) that doesn't really care about meta tags - as long as there is one that does, it is good practice to utilize them - if for nothing else to give you (the content manager) a good snap shot about what should be in that page.Having said that, here are some approaches I typically take:

  • dynamically populate <title> tag from database - partially. I'll create a convention like "MyDomain Industry Function | Online Store | MyTtitle"
  • dynamically popoulate the keywords with two sets of data, one from a core set of keywords associated with the site and then a second with those specific to the content being loaded
  • dynamically populate the description with a specific non-html text abstract of the content being loaded - yes my database has a ntext for html but a nvarchar for short description where I do not allow html code to be inserted

This approach ensures your site has different combinations of title, keywords, and description that are specific to the content on the page - that is how it should be. Blanketing use or even random use is simply not going to produce the results you want.And, as a final note regarding google, it still uses the description (if defined) in its search result page so it still has some value.Hope that helps.P.S. When in doubt, use things as they are intended and you'll tend to reap the benefits.

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Thanks for the in-depth reply. It's always nice for a beginner to see the thought process or practises of a professional. So, say you were loading a page with a registration form, what would you populate the keyword and description tags with? Do I want to have my registration page indexed at all? Well, indexed yes, because it contains links to other pages that I do want indexed, and that's a good thing, but perhaps not to be very search engine friendly. Who wants to arrive at the registration page? Hm, I still feel a bit uncertain. I have time to toy with it, anyway, as the next task is to find and integrate a payment provider. Meta tags are a little low on the ol priorities list

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Thanks for the in-depth reply. It's always nice for a beginner to see the thought process or practises of a professional. So, say you were loading a page with a registration form, what would you populate the keyword and description tags with? Do I want to have my registration page indexed at all? Well, indexed yes, because it contains links to other pages that I do want indexed, and that's a good thing, but perhaps not to be very search engine friendly. Who wants to arrive at the registration page? Hm, I still feel a bit uncertain. I have time to toy with it, anyway, as the next task is to find and integrate a payment provider. Meta tags are a little low on the ol priorities list
First off, you're welcome and I'm glad the initial reply was helpful. Secondly, why not utilize the registration form page - again, you never know what keywords someone is going to use to access your site. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we can analyze statistical data and have a pretty good idea how one might come to our site, but that should never be assumed to be the absolute.Having said that, just get a little creative. Lets say you are registering users for a class. Then your keywords might be a list of all your courses with the word "registration" and/or phrase "online registration" included at the end of your list. Your description would simply be a marketing statement like, "Online registration for ASE auto mechanic certification classes". A description should describe the page - so just describe what visitors are registering for. I know I often search using the word "registration", in fact I just did yesterday "youth tennis registration chicago,il". And to answer your question, I (for one) don't mind landing on a registration page since they most often have the vitals like cost, location, dates, etc. which keeps me from tearing apart a site looking for it. And if its not there, then at least I'll know I have some sort of contact point to the business - I mean doesn't a registration form imply interaction with a business? Landing on a registration page (from a search) can actually be very favorable.Integrating a payment option does open a new can of worms to explore - good luck and post new topics on that subject should you need help there as well.
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Skemcin: okay, you make good points about the registration page, so I will while away my time hardcoding some descriptive descriptions. As for the payment integration, you can count on there being one or two threads from me once we have the company bank account set up. I am aware of the new legislation regarding storing and transferring details like credit card numbers, and my cousin who is in the web design industry said it's too much beaurocracy to go the whole hog and integrate the payment forms into your site, so we will likely simply hand off customers to something like Worldpay or Nochex for payment, which means it shouldn't be that tricky, but I don't usually post tricky problems, I usually post largely correct code with stupid syntax errors, heh.The Scientist: my product details page keyword tag looks like:<meta name="keywords" content='aromatherapy products, <?php echo "$keywords, $title";?>'>I will have to change that actually, because the keywords variable holds a comma delimited list of words, but the title one contains a string of words not delimited...I might explode it and then implode it to turn spaces into commas... Anyway, that's mine, it's really simple but every product generates its own relevant content

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The Scientist: my product details page keyword tag looks like:<meta name="keywords" content='aromatherapy products, <?php echo "$keywords, $title";?>'>I will have to change that actually, because the keywords variable holds a comma delimited list of words, but the title one contains a string of words not delimited...I might explode it and then implode it to turn spaces into commas... Anyway, that's mine, it's really simple but every product generates its own relevant content
And that's pretty much what I do - although I would have "aromatherapy products" set as a string that my content administrators can also edit. I try to remove as much hard-coded content as possible, even if that's in a config.xml file and I read it from there. You can lower the risk of you (or any other developer) messing up your application code if you get into the habit of separating content, from design, from function. If you keep each of those separated, all in one, then you've got a pretty robust application.
Oh Noes! :) :) :) Google doesn't use the Meta Keywords tag.http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com...s-meta-tag.html
Correct. But, as I've mentioned, it will snag your description for search result listings. Again, its only important that you understand google (in particular) doesn't use keywords or description for rankings, but that doesn't mean others follow the same rules. Therefore, I would suggest to continue to use them as designed - but that's just me. I might not put as much emphasis on them as I used to - but I still use them (again as I've said) for at least nothing more than describing what should be on the page.
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