By:Mark Angeletti, Published:2003-8-1

What are META Tags?

Tags that describe various aspects about a Web page.

What do they do?
Meta tags are used to describe a pages data to a search engine. Most site developers focus primarily on the description tag and the keywords tag. Some search engines may use the description tag to describe the site in their listings. Some search engines may also use the keywords tag to reinforce the main topics of the page. However, not all search engines use meta tags, and the growing trend is a move away from meta tags

These meta tags, such as the keywords tag, have been subject to much abuse over the years. As a search rating factor gets abused, the natural reaction for the search engines is to de-emphasize the offending factor. This seems to be the case with meta tags, it’s likely that in the future meta tags will serve no purpose.

Should I use them?
Why not, at least the description and keywords meta tags. But it’s not likely to help your search engine ranking.

What’s the code again?

meta keywords:

<meta name = “keywords” content = “keyword1,keyword2,keyword3,phrase of keywords1,etc.ect.ect.”>

notice I don’t have spaces after my commas! This is just personal preference, but it saves room.

meta description:

<meta name = “description” content = “search engine optimization and web marketing tools for web development.”>

It’s been suggested that you keep your description at less than 25 words. Thinking that you’ll really get noticed if your description is the longest one returned, you might be tempted to put in a whole paragraph or more, but don’t waste the kilobytes. Search engines use a set amount of characters in the descriptions they return. If yours is too long, it will be cut off abruptly.

The rule of thumb is to try and create a sentence that will make users want to click through to your site. Crafting a simple sentence that can do that effectively will serve you better than rambling your way through several lines in an attempt to list everything, including the kitchen sink, about your site.

Should I use commas or spaces?

It really doesn’t matter, it’s personal preference. I use commas with no spaces after them simply because it makes it easy for me to read it and saves a little space.

Where do they go?
They belong between the <head>…place here…
</head> tags in your code.

What’s the difference between HTTP-EQUIV and NAME META tags ?

HTTP-EQUIV tags are equivalent to HTTP headers. Some servers may actually generate HTTP headers from the HTML tags, as suggested by the HTML 3.2 specification. Therefore, do not invent new HTTP-EQUIV tags unless you understand the HTTP specification. Use NAME tags instead.

What if my website does not have Meta Tags?

Most search engines will determine your page’s ranking by analyzing factors such as the words in a page’s text/content and the number of incoming links to that page (and the Lose Weight Exercise of those links). In the absence of meta tags, a search engine may create a description from the first lines of text on your webpage.

Can Meta Tags be put on several pages of my website?

Tailoring your Meta Tags for each individual page’s content is a highly recommended. Unique tags for each sub-page gives the page a better chance of being found by its keywords. This is especially helpful if your company’s website showcases separate products or divisions on different pages of your website.

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