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Meta Tags Explained

   By: Stephen Cope

Meta Tags Explained

Meta Tags are used to describe information about the document to search engine robots, browsers and other automatic programs. Here we will examine the most important Meta tags and how to create them. Although they are not difficult to create manually there are tools available for generating and checking Meta Tags that make it easier for those not familiar with HTML.

Meta tags are contained between the tags near the top of the page and are invisible to the end user. Although there are many meta tags we really only need to concern ourselves with the 4 commonly used tags:


Title Tag
Although not strictly speaking a meta tag, the title tag is the most powerful tag for search engine optimisation hence it is considered here. Text you place in the title tag appears in the top bar of the Web browser and is usually the first line displayed by search engines. Because of its importance to search engines the title tag should contain your keywords and should reflect accurately what the page is about The recommended length is 5-8 words.


This is the page Title

Description Tag
The page description should accurately describe your Web page and is usually displayed by the search engines along with the title. The description should be less than 200 characters and ideally less than 140 characters. It should contain one or two of you keyword/keyword phrases with the most important one appearing near the beginning.



Keywords Tag
This tag was previously used by search engines to determine page relevancy it is no longer used by the major engines. The tag is a list of keywords and phrases. Each Keyword or keyword phrase is separated by a comma.

Try to limit the length to about 10 words, less is usually better. Don't be tempted to enter 100's of keywords just because you are allowed. Don't repeat your keyword more than 3 times as some search engines and indexes will penalise you for spamming.



Robots Tag
The robots tag is not normally used. It is used to tell search engines how to index the Web Page. Web pages will be indexed by search engines unless explicitly being told not to. Normally you will want your page to be indexed by the search engines and hence you will not need to include this tag. Include the tag only when you want to stop a Web page being indexed.


Meta Tags Example

Building a Website-A beginners Guide

Meta tag Generator

Although it is very easy to create your own Meta tags most Web page editors have a built in meta tag generator so that you don't need to enter the HTML yourself. If yours doesn't then there are several free online meta tag generators that you can use. You simply fill out an on line form and the HTML code is created for you. All you then need to do is to copy and paste the code into your Web page ( while the editor is displaying HTML).

Meta tag Checker

To ensure your Meta Tags are correctly formatted before you submit them then use the CSE HTML validator tool or Trellian Code pad. They will check the HTML on your Web page including the Meta tags. There are online tools available if the page you want to check is already online.

Website Ranking/Position and Meta Tags

Although not all search engines make use of the Meta Tags in the same way Meta Tags are still important for achieving a good website ranking. As it is a difficult an time consuming process of tracking which search engine uses what Tag and the importance it places on that tag then simply assume they all use them equally and make the best use of them. Please don't leave them blank!

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