Business Administration Education Guide

Monday, July 16, 2007

Google’s Unavailable After META tag

Tell Google spiders to stop indexing a web page. At the annual SEMNE (Search Engine Marketing New England) conference Dan Crow, director of crawl systems at Google introduced Unavailable After. It’s a time sensitive META tag that that tells Google spiders when a particular page is no longer available for crawling.

The new META tag provides a way for webmasters to insert instructions that basically say a web page’s information is valid for a specifically set of dates, such as from July to August. The META tag comes as a useful resource for consumer product businesses that frequently lists sales on their website.

During a political campaign the website subject wants as much exposure as possible. However after a campaign (if s/he loses) the subject may not wish to upkeep the website which does not provide a needed community service. The Unavailable After META tag could be a useful tool in discontinuing the Google ranking development.

Anther way the “Unavailable After” can be a resourceful tool is for articles that are free for a particular amount of time, but then get moved to a paid-subscription area of a website. The article can use the META tag in specific marketing campaigns while listed as a Free Article drawing potential readers to the site.

The tag seems to have limited uses, but as the tag is used and experimented with I can see other uses for the new META tag. In theory, those looking for a new career or job could use the Unavailable After tag for their resume on personal websites. This may not be the best use for the tag considering the potential pitfalls of never knowing what opportunities could be missed if the resume is unavailable and not searchable.

However, employers could use the tag for career opportunities “currently available”. The Unavailable After would eliminate the need to manually remove online career opportunities ads after a period of time. Thus ending a flood of emails with resume attachments.

In the past, if a web master wanted to discontinue a web page from being indexed a web master would have to maintain a very large and time consuming robots.txt file. Now Unavailable After META tag can erase the long-drawn-out process. The new tag will not be supported by other search engines immediately, but considering that Google is at the top of the spider food chain, I believe that other search engines will support it soon enough.


Source: Garett Rogers - Google will soon support “Unavailable After” META tag

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