Useful SEO Tags – Part 2

Meta tags are the backbone of SEO. I explore the usage of these tags in the Alexa top 1000 websites in this post.

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meta_distribution

In the first part of the blog, I looked at the pattern of use for the  tag. In this blog post, I’d like to focus on the meta tags. If you’d like to see all the possible options, please refer the meta-tags website.

Meta Tags that matter

Moz has an excellent article by Kate Morris on the set of meta tags that matters. In this, it lists just 2 tags as essential. These are:

  1. meta-description
  2. meta-content-type

There are bunch of others that are listed as being optional and should be used only if the default behaviors have been changed.

With this knowledge in hand, I wanted to check if the Alexa Top 1000 websites are sticking to the best practice or if there is a heavy use of the tags with no real returns.

Meta-Tag distribution

Let’s start by looking at the top 25 meta-tags being used. I have published the entire distribution here: https://gist.github.com/akshayranganath/ad0b170550714e2a77612bf0f81057da.

Attribute Count
content 14574
name 6205
itemprop 4316
property 3301
http-equiv 1219
charset 439
itemscope 214
itemtype 214
itemid 212
data-reactid 161
id 94
class 47
data-app 42
value 37
data-type 36
lang 23
data-react-helmet 17
data-ephemeral 17
data-dynamic 13
xmlns:og 12
scheme 11
data-page-subject 7
xmlns:fb 7
data-ue-u 7
prefix 3

meta_distribution

This is a simplified check since some use of the meta tag is by a combination of values. For example, the meta-description would look like this:

<meta name="description" content="This page is on SEO stuff.">

My first version of the script is does not capture this dependency but, I hope to add that capability over the next few weeks. At a very high level, it looks like most sites do follow the best practice. Schema.org tags are being heavily used and this makes sense due to the growing importance and the ability to control the behavior of results in SERPs.

Strange Use-Cases

I did see the meta tags being put into use for some strange uses. For example, and are not even required but, are quite heavily used. Here’s a use that seems to make absolutely no sense

<meta content="id" name="language" />

Conclusion

Meta tags appear to have been used by the top 1000 sites in the right intended manner, for most part. I plan to re-visit this and explore the usage oftag and break into the usage pattern. Stay tuned.

Author: akshayrangananth

CDN Specialist, Web performance evangelist, and SEO tinkerer.

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