to Use Meta Tags for Search Engine Optimization
2002 Herman Drost
Statistics show that only one of every four Web Sites have
Meta tags. However using these tags can give your site
an advantage over other sites that do not. Meta tags enable
most visitors to initially find your site from the search
What are Meta Tags?
These are HTML tags that provide information
that describes the content of the web pages that the visitor
will be viewing. Web Site owners use this resource to
control their positioning and descriptions in the search
engines. Most search engines incorporate reading meta tags
as part of their indexing formula.
Where to Place Meta Tags
They should go in between the <head>
and </head> tags in your html page.
Types of Meta Tags
The Doctype tag The DTD (Document Type Definition) tag
precedes the opening <HTML> tag. It is generally
the first element to be used on any page. It distinguishes
the version of HTML in use from other versions of HTML and
tells the browser what tags to expect when laying out the
<!doctype html public "-//wc3//dtd html 4.0
If a browser doesn't understand a tag, it just ignores it.
This, in effect, renders <!doctype> useless. For the
proponents of strict standardization, a statement like <!doctype>
would ensure standardization. If a browser didn't recognize
the statement, it could ignore the page.
META Tags and
The syntax for the <meta> tag is:
101 Highly Effective
Strategies to Promote Your Web Site
<meta name=”namevalue” content=”contentvalue”>
<meta http-equiv=”namevalue” content=”contentvalue”>
The <META> tag requires the CONTENT attribute and
the NAME or HTTP-EQUIV attribute. These define the general
information you are creating or changing in the document,
the CONTENT attribute defines the value of the general
<META HTTP-EQUIV> tags are equivalent to HTTP
To understand headers, you must understand the process
that occurs when you use a Web browser to request a
document from a Web server. You request information using
browser and the Web Server receives your request via HTTP,
standard Web protocol. When the server finds the page you
requested, it generates an HTTP response. The initial data
that response is called the HTTP header block. This header
the Web browser information useful for displaying the
Common Examples of the HTTP-EQUIV
Language META Tag
This is an optional tag. It declares to users
the natural language of the document being indexed. Search
which index websites based on language often read this tag
determine which language(s) is supported. This tag is
particularly useful for non-english and multiple language
The Content-Type entity-header field indicates the media
of the entity-body sent to the recipient. This is an
Expires META Tag
An optional tag that defines the date when the file will
expired in cache and a new page will be generated. Only
your website is running a limited time event or there is a
when your document will no longer be valid.
<meta http-equiv="expires" content="Tue,
04 Dec 1993 21:29:02 GMT">
Refresh META Tag
An optional tag used as a way to redirect or refresh users
web page after X number of seconds.
This META tag is often used as a "bridge" page
which is accessed
first by users and are then redirected to another web
<META> tags with a NAME attribute are used for
information types that do not correspond to HTTP headers.
Common Examples of the HTTP-NAME
Keyword Tag Search
Engines that support META tags will often use the keywords
on your pages as a means to categorize your website based
search engines indexing algorithms (proprietary algorithms
index your website in search engine databases).
Ensure you choose keywords that are relevant to your site.
excessive repetition as many search engines will penalize
rankings for attempting to abuse their system. Search
give priority to the first few words in your description,
focus on your main keywords and then elaborate further by
synonyms or other related words.
<meta name=”keywords” content =
Keyword values are usually separated by commas. The
keyword allowance is 1000 characters, however, it is
that anything over 255 characters is ignored.
Search engines that support META tags will often display
Description META tag along with your title in their
When creating your META tags, make the first sentence
of your description field capture the attention of a user
use the rest of the description tag to elaborate further.
<meta name=”description” content=”This camping
site is about
Keep this description to no more than 25 words (maximum
allowance is 150 characters). Not all search engines
Don’t let your site be one of the four web sites on the
do not have Meta Tags. Optimize it now, so you have
a greater chance to be listed in the search engines.
listed, will bring more traffic which may mean more sales.
Herman Drost is a Certified Internet Webmaster (CIW) owner
author of iSiteBuild.com
Low Cost Hosting and Site Design
Subscribe to the “Marketing Tips” newsletter for more
] [ Hosting ]
] [ Articles
] [ Portfolio ]