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Cms Generating Superfluous Meta Data


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9 replies to this topic

#1 qwerty

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 12:02 PM

Here's a snippet of code from a client's page:
HTML
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd">
<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en">
<head>
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />
<meta name="title" content="blah blah" />
<meta name="description" content="yadda yadda" />
<meta name="keywords" content="words, words, words" />
<meta name="robots" content="index, follow" />
<meta name="language" content="en" />
<title>blah blah</title>
<link rel="icon" type="image/png" href="/favicon.png" />
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

I pointed out to the client that the meta "Content-Type" tag comes up twice, the meta robots tag is superfluous if it has that content (as it does on every page of the site) and that if you've got a <title> element, you have no need for a meta title element (and yes, they have identical content).

They passed this information on to their developer. He removed the extra Content-Type tag, but sent the following comment regarding the two titles:
QUOTE
[The CMS] generates meta title in two different formats to ensure compatibility. If a spider or a browser understands one type, it simply ignores the other.

I've seen pages with either version of the title tag, and as far as I know, both versions are understood by every spider and every browser. As I understand it, it doesn't really matter which one you use, because both will work. If I'm right about that, there's never a reason to use both. And for what it's worth, neither one was ignored by the tool that pointed them out to me (the SearchStatus extension for Firefox). I requested the page's meta data, and it returned two copies of the title.

Apart from just being superfluous code (which I try to avoid whenever possible), I don't think the extra title is doing any harm (as long as we never get into a situation with two different titles battling each other for attention, and it doesn't look like the CMS would do that), but is there any truth to this idea that a page needs both versions, in case there's a user-agent out there that doesn't understand one of them?

#2 Jill

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 12:45 PM

As far as I know, there is no actual thing as a Meta = Title tag. So it will likely be ignored completely regardless.

#3 Randy

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 01:52 PM

What Jill said. A meta name="title" sounds every bit as useful and logical as the meta name="googlerank" one I made up several years ago to have some fun with competitors. giggle.gif

Here's one I know you'll just love Jill...

Did you know there's been some considerable thought given to removing meta name="keywords" as a valid, registered entity in the specs for HTML 5? In fact, at one point the HTML 5 developers had it removed from the mix as a failed proposal. Then some silly willy filed a bug report and squawked that the search engines still used meta keywords in their algorithms, based solely on the fact that some (non-search produced) pages at each of the search engines included the tag. How silly is that as a method of proof!

Feel free to enjoy and/or contribute to the discussion if you'd like. The HTML 5 specs wiki is here and you can click through to the bug report from there along the right side. The only approved name values at the present time are are application-name, author, description and generator. I think we should flood the Wiki with comments supporting the removal of the keywords meta, especially since the final decision makers were already leaning that way. It would be the right thing to do, rather than let some nincompoop get his way based upon illogical leaps to a wrong conclusion, no?

#4 qwerty

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 02:01 PM

I'm certain I've seen pages that used the meta version of the tag (and didn't use the standard version), and I'm pretty sure the content of the tag displayed properly in a browser window. I don't recall whether I checked to see if search engines picked it up or not. Guess it's time to create a test page, just to satisfy my curiosity smile.gif

But I guess it's safe at this point to tell the client that they absolutely don't need both versions.

#5 Randy

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 02:03 PM

You can even tell 'em the "title" meta isn't going to be in the next version of HTML, since it's not one anyone has proposed to have added to the specs. wink1.gif

#6 Gerry White

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 03:32 PM

the problem is that metadata has no standard for support - for example the UK government "supports dublin core metadata, and insists on its implementation, this has been pretty much insisted on for a long time ... but soon pan government systems will be able to take advantage of this information ... (soon?)

I know that on one of the biggest UK.gov websites the metadata, including the keywords are used in rankings within the internal site search...

DC.title is a valid part - but shouldn't be "SEO'd" so you wouldn't have additional keywords / site names etc.. above the actual resource name.

#7 qwerty

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Posted 18 December 2009 - 04:15 PM

I published a test page and it clearly doesn't work, at least not on a page with an HTML 4 Strict DTD: the contents of the "meta title" don't appear in the title bar of a browser window, and when I run the page through the W3C validator it tells me the <head> is closed before the element is complete. It even specifies that,
QUOTE
...the <head> element must contain a <title> child element


<Edit: "complete," not "incomplete". Sheesh embarrassed.gif>

Edited by qwerty, 18 December 2009 - 04:54 PM.


#8 Jill

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 09:23 AM

I don't think they should remove the Meta Keywords tag from the HTML specs as I'm sure it comes in handy for site-specific search engines.

#9 MauriceWalshe

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:10 AM

QUOTE(Gerry White @ Dec 18 2009, 09:32 PM) View Post
the problem is that metadata has no standard for support - for example the UK government "supports dublin core metadata, and insists on its implementation, this has been pretty much insisted on for a long time ... but soon pan government systems will be able to take advantage of this information ... (soon?)

I know that on one of the biggest UK.gov websites the metadata, including the keywords are used in rankings within the internal site search...

DC.title is a valid part - but shouldn't be "SEO'd" so you wouldn't have additional keywords / site names etc.. above the actual resource name.


yes the dublin core meta data sounds like good idea but is normaly not implimented well or dodges the hard parts I looked at the dublin more for music related docuemnts and there was NO element for Tempo (ie Allegro or BPM) or even the Key - both of which are key peices of information.



#10 Scottie

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 06:11 PM

Reminds me of back when I used to have two different formats for my meta elements... I don't even remember what they were now but it was the same data written with slightly different formats because I wasn't sure which one was correct!

Man, I used to spend a lot of time on meta-data... lol.gif




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