This plugin will automatically generate and include HTML Meta Tags and Technorati Tags based on the full text of your post.
What’s it for?
The explosion of people with their own websites (often called ‘blogs) has gone hand in hand with the rise of automated aggregation systems, which attempt to filter out the irrelevant majority so that the end user sees more content that is useful. The digital equivalent of separating the wheat from the chaff.
Sites such as Technorati have taken this concept further by introducing the concept of tags. A tag is a word or phrase that describes what a particular web page is about. It’s essentially a proprietary version of the HTML meta tag – this plugin manages both kinds of tags for you.
To use it:
- Download this file – this is the stable release, which is what most people want – if you’d like to try an advance copy of the next version then scroll down
- Unzip the file and copy it’s contents to your
/wp-content/plugins/directory (so that it’s path is
- Enable it on the plugins page.
- Look for the AutoMeta menu which appears on the plugins page once the plugin is enabled.
- Click the “Add the index” button to create the necessary indexes.
- That’s it.
Automatic Tag Generation
This plugin will automatically generate and include HTML Meta Tags and Technorati Tags based on the full text of your post. When you save your post (and before you publish it) the plugin checks to see if any tags have been associated with it.
If no tags are found then it generates them based on the content of the post.
Hand Written Tags
Automatic extraction of words can never be perfect, so once tags are generated they can be edited and improved by hand.
If, like me, your article goes through several drafts before publication then you’ll notice that the words are generated the first time you save the document, but then they remain unchanged as the finished document evolves. The plugin will automatically regenerate the tags whenever there is no
autometa custom field, so if you click on the
Delete action, you’ll get a fresh set of auto-generated tags that you can refine by hand.
I don’t recommend that you use the plugin without hand-tweaking the tags; instead, think of it as a useful guide. If you wish to include tags with a space such as “world wide web” then you should insert dashes where you’d like the spaces to be, i.e. “world-wide-web”.
- Where can I see the tags/keywords in my output?Meta Keywords are added to the document header for each post (you won’t see them on the index page), so load one of a recent post in your browser (one that that you’ve written or saved since the plugin was installed) then view the source of the page. Near the top you’ll see a message detailing the version of autometa that’s in use, and a list of keywords. Technorati tags are either added to the footer (so scroll to the bottom) or, if you’re using a more recent release, the tags may have been included in the document body, so you’ll see them without looking at the source.
- The plugin is installed and appears to work, but I see just a set of empty quotes where the list of tags should be; what’s wrong?99 times out of 100 you are hitting a bug that existed for a very short time in WordPress 2.0 – it’s been solved as of WordPress 2.0.1, so the problem should disappear when you upgrade.
- How do I show the Technorati Tags in my sidebar/theme?If you want to add the tags to your sidebar, then that add
<?php AutoMeta::includeTechnoratiTags();?>to your theme wherever you want the taglist to appear.
- Can I customize the output a bit?Yes, you can customize the output a lot. Use the more parameterized
<?php AutoMeta::echoTechnoratiTags("headline", "tail", "line prefix","line_suffix", "no_tags_message");?>, modifying the parameters as necessary to fit your theme. For example:
<?php AutoMeta::echoTechnoratiTags("<h1>Technorati</h1><ul>", "</ul>", "<li>","</li>", "Zarro Taags!");?>
- Do I have to have the tags on my page?No. Technorati can discover your tags from the feed (where the tags are included as categories), so (based on experience) it appears that you don’t need visible tags on your page, so just include them if you want to.
- I want to be as lazy as possible, can the plugin do it’s work when I publish without me having to save it?Yes, that’s the default behaviour, but there is a caveat. If you want to be lazy and just publish then that’s fine, you can, the plugin will still extract the most important words from the article and turn them into tags/keywords. The downside is that if you’ve not mentioned a term in an article then it cannot appear as a tag – so if (for example) you write an article about iPods and don’t mention Apple, then “Apple” can’t be a tag, so there’s an audience group that you’re possibly missing. This is why hand-finishing your tags is recommended.
- Can I create keywords/tags that are not just single words, like “mostly harmless”, “ford prefect” or “chesterfield sofa”?Yes. These can be created using either the minus or plus characters to separate the words you wish to join. The tags “ford-prefect” and “ford+prefect” both turn out as “ford prefect”. It is recommended that you use the “+” character; the “-” is a hangover from an earlier version and (if people request it) could one day be removed to allow for hyphenated tags.
I don’t have time to extend this at the moment, but I’d like to to have:
- default set of metadata/tags for use in non article pages
- a better admin interface
- user editable tag list length
- user editable the minimum word length
- user editable stop list
- thesaurus lookup, so similar words could be group scored
- Optional Visible/Invisible technorati tags
- Tag list in Admin side bar
Embrace and Extend
If anyone would like to extend it, or use the code elsewhere, it’s released under a GPL license. Derivative works must also be free and must credit this work.
A development version of the next release is sometimes available too [nothing is currently available]. If you’re familiar with PHP and comfortable with wordpress hacking, then please, be my guest and help with giving it a jolly good shake to help get all the bugs out. If you’re feeling creative, invent a feature, or try implementing one of the ones listed above. Many hands make light work!
Ideas, opinions and descriptions of problems are what can help this plugin get better – share your sparks of inspiration on the forum (or just describe the mists that are clouding your way).