- Web Development Tutorials

Using Meta Tags for Search Engines

How to add meta tags to your page
Meta tags are used to help some search engines index your page, especially if your page has frames. Meta tags should be placed between the <head> and </head> tags of your document. The most common meta tags are going to look like this:

<title>Meta examples</title>
<meta name=" " content=" " />

The name=" " will indicate what type of meta tag you are using. The content=" " will be the content of the tag you provide for the search engine. To make more sense of this, lets look at the meta "keywords" tag.

Meta Keywords Tag

<meta name="keywords" content="meta tags, search, homepage, web sites" />
1. name="keywords"
Informs the search engine's spider that a group of keywords should be in this tag.

2. content="meta tags, search, homepage, web sites"
Your list of keywords and key phrases. In the "keywords" tag, you separate each keyword or key phrase by placing a comma between them.

Be careful not to repeat the same thing too many times here, and be sure the keywords are relevant to the content on your page. The Search Engines are attempting to crack down on people who use these tags to repeat the same word over and over in order to get a better listing, or using keywords that have nothing to do with the content of the page. For instance, if I were trying to get more traffic, I might use the phrase "Hannah Montana" to get more people to stumble onto this page. As you can see, this page has nothing to do with Hannah Montana, this is an HTML tutorial!

Meta Description Tag

The next useful meta tag gives a description of your page. Here it is:

<meta name="description" content="How to add meta tags to your page." />

1. name="description"
Tells the search engine's spider a description of the page is to follow.

2. content="How to add meta tags to your page."
Your very own description of your Web page. Type in what you want the description of your page to be, and use some of your key phrases as part of the description. Many of the search engines use this as the description that will appear in their listings.

Other META Tags

The above tags are the two most useful and popular meta tags. There are a couple more that I will mention here, just in case you want to use them.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en-us" />

This tag allows you to specify the language the Web page uses. In this case, en-us stands for United States English. For a listing of other language options, see Language and Country Codes.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" />

This one declares the content type and character set.

<meta name="author" content="Your Name" />

This tag lets you specify the author of the Web page. Just insert your name and anyone viewing the source code will know you wrote it. I haven't seen a search engine make use of this tag for indexing purposes yet.

<meta name="generator" content="Notepad" />

This tag lets you tell everyone what program you used to create your page. Now that you are a Notepad coding machine, go ahead and let everyone know you did it yourself! I haven't seen this used for indexing purposes either, but maybe the engines will let us narrow searches to documents that were coded by hand...

Well, that does it for the meta tags. So, on to the next section: The Meta Refresh.

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