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The Revisit-After META Tag Myth Continues
During my years of metadata research, I've come across thousands of resources who discuss, recommend, suggest, mandate, and even generate a multitude of metadata elements. Many of those resources suggest the use of the revisit-after META tag and will even generate one for you based on the revisit interval.
Here is an example of how one webmaster resource promotes the use of the META revisit-after tag.
The Revisit META tag defines how often a search engine or spider should come to your website for re-indexing. Often this tag is used for websites that change their content often and on a regular basis. This tag can also be beneficial in boosting your rankings if search engines display results based on the most recent submissions.
The Revisit META Tag is used by search engines as a means to indicate how often a web page should be revisited for re-indexing. This tag is supported by many search engines and should be made use of if your content changes on a regular basis.
The above statements are just not true except in the case of Vancouver Webpages searchBC. It has no relevance with any other search engines that I'm aware of. This type of published misinformation is how the revisit-after META tag myth continues.
The revisit-after META tag is not supported by any major search engines, it never was supported and probably never will be. It was developed for, and supported by, Vancouver Webpages and their local search engine searchBC.
searchBC is a search engine for British Columbia. It is fed by the VWbot_K Robot which confines its activities to sites in the .bc.ca domain, sites in the .com, .net and .org domains which are listed by InterNIC as being located in BC, and sites in the .ca domain which are not part of another Provincial domain.
searchBC is a regional search engine which uses a number of common tags such as Keywords. Revisit is used as a hint for scheduling revisits.
<meta name="revisit-after" content="15 days">
The correct syntax for the META revisit-after is shown above and below. It is specified in the number of days. For example, if you need to specify an interval of 3 months, the correct syntax would be specified in days, not months...
<meta name="revisit-after" content="93 days">
The META revisit-after tag is specific to Vancouver Webpages searchBC. There are no other search engines that I'm aware of who have created a reference lexicon called a profile to support the revisit-after directive. I'm basing this statement on years of metadata research.
The revisit-after META tag is obsolete according to the creator Vancouver Webpages...
Revisit Interval (Optional)
Controls how often your document is re-visited (by the searchBC robot).
Value = [integer][days¦weeks¦months]; e.g. "4 days". Obsolescent.
The revisit-after META tag is of no value when it comes to developing metadata for a search engine marketing campaign. Adding the code for irrelevant metadata shifts the text to html content ratio which may be that one little thing that moves you into the top positions in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
Anybody care to bite? ;)
This is a very important tag as it tells the search engine how often to spider your page. Generally you should set this to between 30 days and one year.
Contrary to popular belief, it seems that meta Revisit-After DOES work. I decided to add it to my pages with a value set to 1 day a month ago, and today decided to take a look at my logs. Sure enough, my logs show that Googlebot did come to revisit my site every single day of the month.
lol, when you see comments like this posted at various resources, what is a webmaster who doesn't no any better supposed to do?
I've had people literally take a firm stance telling me that it does work. So much so that they were YELLING AT ME VIA EMAIL!
Where did the rumor start?
I'm going to guess that one of the popular online META tag generators picked this tag up when searchBC first started utilizing it (years ago). From that point forward, the misinterpretation by the first META tag generator created a snowball effect and now almost every tag generator out there includes it.
Not only that, but you get webmasters who are reviewing the top search results and viewing the source of those sites. Sometimes that revisit-after tag is back there and they just copy what they see.
<meta name="revisit-after" content="12 Hours">
Here Google, Google, Google...
I want you to come back and spider my content every 12 hours. It must be working because I see you in my logs every day! ;)
P.S. The above is incorrect syntax, you cannot specify hours. I've seen some very creative syntax used in this tag.
Webmasters try to SEO their site much as possible, so they use it thinking it does work. You can't blame them for trying.
I have seen it die out some.
You can't blame them for trying.
Oh yes I can! From my perspective, this is amateur SEO. Anyone promoting the use and/or utilizing this tag is subject to scrutiny from their peers and potential prospects.
I have seen it die out some.
I'm actually seeing the exact opposite. Since I am involved in the reviewing of potential SEO companies for a directory that I manage, I get to see the various strategies that are being utilized on a variety of sites.
In the past 30 days, 7 out of 10 URI submissions we've reviewed contain the revisit-after tag. What does that tell you about the state of our industry? ;)
I'm with PageOneResults on this one -- you can "blame" them for not researching. You can blame them for not thinking clearly, as in the example he mentioned above where someone mentioned that they used the tag, and Google spidered the site, therefore the only conclusion is that one was the cause of the other (that is, didn't even think to remove the tag for a few days to see what happened before reaching the conclusion).
I also think he's right on how the rumor spread and how it's been kept alive: some well-known meta tag generator probably used it, and other just copied them. Remember, it's in the best interest of someone who's promoting a meta tag generator to create the impression that there's a large set of confusing meta tags that you need in order to be successful. The more the better.
Same thing, on both counts, for a lot of amateur SEOs, including some who are selling their services. Talking about stuff that's really simple but gives them a long list of things to say that they can do (whether it actually works or not) is how many market their services. And no doubt a good number of them also believe that it works -- because just like the guy referenced above, they've never bothered to simply test it themselves. And that's characteristic of many -- don't bother to test, just accept whatever you read.
OK, that's my rant for the day. :)
It says that amongst the many operators out there, some are less technical than others. And since SEO is never purely a technical discipline, this is forgivable.
This search on WebmasterWorld
is hardly conclusive, with one moderator actually asserting that it *does* work.
Admittedly, the post concerned is from 2001, but that is easy to miss if you are skim-reading.
I wish I could set something that simple and have that much control over googlebot. Just not the case. The best thing you can do to keep bots coming back is to keep fresh content for them to see and to freshen the site's homepage.