A cursory look at the source for Stack Overflow sites shows that there aren't any pages on the site that uses the <meta> tag for things like description, keywords, robots et al.

Now, I'm aware that folks have opinions on the usefulness of meta tags and search engines, but there are definite uses for it (setting the charset to UTF-8, for example, as is done on Stack Exchange).

Can anyone provide any official commentary on why SE doesn't use meta tags?

  • 1
    No, it isn't a duplicate, you're talking about HTML <meta> tags.
    – alexia
    Feb 24, 2011 at 10:33
  • @Nyuszika7H: Lol! Yeah, just realised and removed the edit/updated the tag! Feb 24, 2011 at 10:34
  • 3
    Good point. This is the strongest piece of evidence I've seen so far that those tags really don't matter for search engine results!
    – Pekka
    Feb 24, 2011 at 10:38
  • 1
    @Pekka - That's not necessarily true. Google might've done some manual adjustments in their secret algorithms for site as big as SO. Feb 24, 2011 at 10:43
  • 5
    Another question is why doesn't MetaSO use meta tags? Feb 24, 2011 at 10:43
  • Proposed an edit.
    – alexia
    Feb 24, 2011 at 10:48
  • Related, if not a dupe: meta http-equiv.
    – Arjan
    Feb 24, 2011 at 11:33
  • @Arjan: Related, but definitely not a dupe. Please read @Nyuszika7H's answer as a reference. Feb 24, 2011 at 11:36
  • 2
    possible duplicate: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/74068/…
    – cregox
    Mar 3, 2011 at 17:53
  • 1
    @Cawas - This is indeed a dupe of that question. Mar 5, 2011 at 18:45
  • I agree with Cawas and Dan Atkinson this is a dupe. Apr 15, 2013 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


Meta tags have basically two usages: the main usage is enhancing information. The second though most used function is improving visibility in search engines. Both are evidently (implied in the question) suppressed by other means.

Quoting the first note about meta tags on w3.org:

Note. The W3C Resource Description Framework (see [RDF10]) became a W3C Recommendation in February 1999. RDF allows authors to specify machine-readable metadata about HTML documents and other network-accessible resources.

That already says a lot about using meta tags for its main purpose. Also there's no reason to add hidden relevant information on the HTML. It's better to just add them to a sitemap, faq, info, about, anywhere within the website structure, visible both for robots and people.

This website analyzes the SO page design in deep, and the guy also gives a good analysis on why not adding meta tags for search engine, and using Robots.txt instead. The SO folks do use robots.txt and also do some optimization for search engines. So, no good reason to insist on meta tags for SEO.

As for few more specific usages:

That's not to say meta tags are utterly and completely useless, but I believe they're used in Stack Exchange due to a mere lack of standard within the SO team and there's no real need for them.


So, I have this perfect use scenario, which is not a SEO, where the keywords would help a major deal:

I use Zotero to track various technical tips found on Stack Overflow and other places on the Web. Without keywords it makes it so tedious to enter the already generated, but missing from META keywords one-by-one by hand. Ufff...

Please, consider bringing the keywords IN!

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