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This is one of those things that are right in front of you, but you don't see its use. When we start out to make web pages, the first thing that we're told as a way to optimize it is to use <meta> tags. These tags virtually contain the data that you want to feed to search engines and any other application which quickly skims through your page to find the relevant details. All algorithms give priorities to <meta> tags and the details held in them. So, how does that account towards your blog?

Blogger default

Blogger in itself provides us with the <$BlogMetaData$> smart tag, which when inserted generates all the necessary meta content for your blog. Remember filling up the title, description and what nots when making your blog? Yes, those get translated to code here! This is all good, but the problem is, this gives Blogger the upper hand as it predecides some things when generating those details. Why not take back your META content and truly show your blog the way you want it to be shown?

Hacking the META

If you are using a pre-designed Blogger template, chances are its meta content comes from Blogger using the smart tag. If you view the source markup of your main page, you'll see that the <$BlogMetaData$> is replaced with a bunch of code that looks something like this:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" />
<meta name="generator" content="Blogger" />

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="" />
<link href="" rel="image/x-icon">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="f" type="image/x-icon">

<link rel="service.post" type="application/atom+xml" title="" href="" />
<link rel="EditURI" type="application/rsd+xml" title="RSD" href="" />

the Yep! Now you know where that came from. Its these lines that we're going to be fiddling around with to get them to hold the data we want them to hold. The first three lines should be left as they are. They are of no immediate concern. The first line is very important, as it will allow foreign characters to be displayed correctly on your blog. So leave these lines be.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8" />
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" />
<meta name="generator" content="Blogger" />

The next line decide the address of your feed which is passed to applications.

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS" href="?" />
If you use Firefox or Opera, you'd have noticed the feed icon pop up in the address bar to the extreme right on blogs, which you can click to add Live Bookmarks. Where do you think Firefox gets to know where to find your feed? Yep! It's here! Why not change it to point to your Feedburner feed, and get all the benefits they have to offer?

These two contain the URL to the Favicon which you can use. Follow that link to find out more.

<link href="?" rel="image/x-icon">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="?" type="image/x-icon">

The last two lines should be left as they are as well. You should copy them straight from the ones generated by Blogger. I don't know what they do, but I doubt they're not important. As pointed out by Phydeaux3 in the comments, the two lines in question (link rel="service.post" and link rel="EditURI") are necessary for ATOM discovering. They point third party apps to the ATOM API so that they know where to post! :) These lines are generated by the same smart tag, but are not a part of the meta content. Since you aren't using your smart tag anymore, its better to add these in:

<style type="text/css">
    @import url("http://www.blogger.com/css/blog_controls.css");
    @import url("http://www.blogger.com/dyn-css/authorization.css?blogID=21610108");
</style>
  <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.blogger.com/js/backlink.js"></script>
  <script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.blogger.com/js/backlink_control.js"></script>
  <script type="text/javascript">?</script>

The last line will again be blog specific, hence you'll have to copy it from your blog's source upon page load.

Ofcourse, if anything messes up, you can always include that one itsy-bitsy tag in place of all this, and you'll be back on your way. Meta content can really make or break a pages ranking and visibility. So make sure yours are good and really explain your blog well. My meta content being the way it is, if you search for Aditya Mukherjee, my blog will show on the front page, which is good! :) So you can see how well they work!

So go ahead! Try it out!


19 Comments

Nice overview. On those two lines that you said you weren't sure of what they do - the
link rel="service.post" and
link rel="EditURI"

I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong) that those are for ATOM Autodiscovery. Like the ones for the feed autodiscovery, these point 3rd party apps that post to Blogger through the ATOM API the correct links to do so. I believe that something like FLICKR post to blogger uses them. So they are perfectly ok to do without if you don't need that, but they don't hurt nothing to keep either.
    Anonymous phydeaux3, on Sat Jun 24, 09:53:00 PM  

Thanks for the headsup Phyd! Post updated! :D

Just noticed.The RSS 2.0 feed has been added to the BlogMetaData tag.

Hmm,I feel a major Blogger revamp is on its way.Take a look at the new BlogMetaData tag.A post feed has also been added but it is password protected.

@Manas:
"A post feed has also been added but it is password protected. "

Care to elaborate a little? And what do you mean by new <$BlogMetaData$> tag? It's always been there... Although, yes, a Blogger revamp is definitely on the way, Avatar and I have been speculating for weeks now.

I expect a post from him about it soon. If he doesn't, I will! :D

I mean some new attributes have been added to the BlogMetaData tag such as this one I saw in my blog,

http://www.blogger.com/feeds/25589144/posts/full

But I am unable to open it as it asks for an username and passowrd.

@manas: sorry to shot down that guess but i had seen that and i explained part of it in a post, but what you are seeing is the master feed control source for the rss feed:

meaning it directing to the feed generator of blogger, the feed cache that always has 100 post stored there as the atom master feed does and it well known, but this master feed is the same as the RSS feed,a dn that meta data tag updating is past of the feed testing. it has password becuase it point to the direct server gate where it is being generated.

@Aditya: oh i will do a post about it when i have confirmed some actual new features that i talked about not long ago.

[quote]
....
@import url("http://www.blogger.com/css/blog_controls.css");
@import url("http://www.blogger.com/dyn-css/authorization.css?blogID=21610108");
....
[/quote]
i think the one in blog needs to be replaced too, in specific to our own blog ;)

*the one in BOLD ! sorry mistyped, please correct it, and delete this post

Adi,

The 2 additional lines of meta code that you're looking at in the first couple of comments here control Blogger's "e-mail this post" and "one-click edit" features... The icons in the post footer that allow you to do additional stuff w/ the post without being logged in. I imagine that "service post" helps the e-mail along, and "edit URL" opens the edit window. They're important when you upgrade to Feedburner, because you have to leave them alone to avoid breaking the features, & only edit the link rel="alternate" line. For more on setting your Meta tags up to work w/ feedburner, see Freshblog.

I hate to disagree with John, but I will. :-D

The "e-mail this post" icon and the "one-click edit" are turned on/off by the css files spit out by the BlogMetaData tag. Other than that, they are pretty much normal links to a blogger page when shown. The edit icon just toggles on/off based on whether you are logged in or not.

The service.post and editURI links are for the interacting with the API.
    Anonymous phydeaux3, on Fri Jun 30, 01:02:00 AM  

Just to beat a dead horse :-)
I was looking for this link the other day but just refound it, explains in detail the EditURI link and what it does for RSD (Really Simple Discoverability), albeit for a different blog service but it works the same in Blogger. Shows how it works with Technorati's Quick Claim-
RSD: The Magic Behind Quick Claim
    Anonymous phydeaux3, on Fri Jun 30, 03:37:00 PM  

Thanks for all the input guys! I won't edit the post, as I hope people will see 14 comments and scroll down to see what the ruckus is all about! :) Thanks for that link too Phyd!

Hola

Hey Aditya, check it out one of the rare ones!!! the hello-hello.. and is from.......MEXICO!?

aw man....

welll, gustavo you better come visit me at Bloggeratto

Hehe! You guys are everywhere aren't you! :P Welcome to my blog Gustavo! :)

Adi,
What about keywords? Seems like all we have control over is the favicon, description, and feed. Isn't there more we can do to promote/control what is read by search engines?

@Jen: I was only listing out the META options which Blogger offers and how you can change them to suite your own blog.

Yes, SEO using the META tags is also a good way to gain visibility on search engines. You can use the format:

<META NAME="" CONTENT=""> (no closing tag)

The two values for NAME which you're concerned with is DESCRIPTION and KEYWORDS. Respective information goes into the CONTENT part! :)




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