August 2, 2007

"Nobody seems to realize that the Unavailable_After tag is the new sliced bread."

Google announced last Friday that they have created a new meta tag for webmasters to use with the Google bots. The tag is properly named "Unavailable_After" and it allows web masters to set a date and time when a specific web page will no longer appear in the Google search results. There has been quite a bit of talk among SEOs regarding the tag and I'm surprised it has gotten such attention.

The typical response from both SEOs and webmasters is that the new meta tag is practically useless.

To anybody who thinks they have an idea of what the "unavailable_after" tag is, or isn't, I say: phooey. Nobody seems to realize that the "Unavailable_After" tag is the new sliced bread.

When Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread slicing machine back in 1912, bakers told him it was useless. They told him that the sliced bread would go stale too quickly and that the bread slicing machine basically served no purpose.

Here we are, 95 years later, and you can't walk into a gas station, a grocery store, or even a bakery, without finding a loaf of sliced bread for sale. Bakers all over the world own a bread slicing machine. You can buy a bread slicing machine for your own home. Imagine how all of those bakers that shunned the seemingly useless invention would feel if they walked down the bread aisle of a local Wal-Mart today.

The point isn't that the "unavailable_after" tag is going to be so popular that we will see it on every website. The point is that you don't know how useful, or useless, something will be until you give it time. Until we realize whether or not the tag is going to be very useful, we can't accurately state anything about it. Likewise, you don't know if - someday down the road - you'll have a great need to use the tag.

For everyone who is still stuck on the idea that the tag was a waste of time, or is indeed the next best thing since sliced bread, good for you. If you have no use for the tag now, don't use it. It was created for people who will need it. It wasn't created to please everyone.

Besides the point, you never know when the unavailable_tag might come in handy for you.