All about META Tags - Part 1
By Afonso Ferreira Gomes
This article was first published at http://www.wise-designs.com where more than 200 useful articles and tutorials can be found
In these articles I'll try to explain all there is to know about META tags and their important role in any website.
META tags are extremely useful for your site as they help it get listed in search engines, identify the creator of the page, what HTML specs the site has, etc etc etc. Meta tags can even help to avoid the page that has it being framed! These were just few examples of the wide range of uses meta tags can have. Their information most common uses are: by browsers to display the site correctly; and by search engines spiders to better list your site in their index. Read more to get to know them better one by one, how to use them and in what search engines they are recognized.
Where to put the META Tags?
Meta tags are always inserted within the <head> </head> container. To get a better perspective how it is done you can check the source code of any given web site! Usualy you can do this by right clicking your mouse on the site and chose "View Source Code".
Categories of META tags
You'll find two kinds of META tags available for use! The HTTP-EQUIV and the normal (usual) META tags.
Let's start with the nomal ones and let the HTTP-EQUIV for later! Within the regular META tags let's start with the most importat ones for Search Engines indexing... the ones that are considered the vital ones in order to achieve better results and better rankings.
- Description Tag
Syntax: <META NAME="description" CONTENT="bla bla bla... ">
This tag is used to provide search engines with a description of the page they are indexing. If you analyse the results of any search at Google or Yahoo you'll notice that there's the title of the page in bold and a small description below! The title of the page is take from the <title> tag and the description is taken from this META tag! This tag is on the top 3 most important for a site as it will assist search engine's robots to better index you. They'll just put in their index any sentence you write for that specific page. If you don't have this tag present on the page the robot will use the text from the first paragraph of the text within the body area of the page. It's recommended that you use less than 144 characters for this tag tho Google and other major search engines only use about 60-80 to display!
- Keywords Tag
Syntax: <META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, keyword50">
First of, Google don't use this tag for indexing... but Yahoo and more engines do! This tag is used for you to make the spider know the words that logically best describe your site and the content of the page! You can use a single word or a small phrase with 3 or 4 words separeted by commas (avoid using "and", "for", "or"... these are known as stop words). The lengh of this meta tag can vary but it's advisable by many Search Engine Optimisation experts that this tag has less than 1024 characters, with no word repeated more than 7 times. Also it's recommended that the keywords are listed by order of importance.
- Distribution Tag
Syntax: <META NAME="distribution" CONTENT="global">
This tag specifies how the document using it shall be index. "global" is a normal indexing directive that allows the document to be index by the major internet search engines. If you want to avoid this indexing just change the word "global" to "local" and the document will only be indexed by an intranet indexing engine.
These three (plus the title tag of your site) are the ones you need to be an expert at in order to get great results. Managing the keywords present in each of this tags gets you higher and higher on Search Engines Positioning and therefore lots and lots of visitor.
In the 2nd part of this article I'll explain all other tags that are not that important to Search Engines but sometimes useful for controling the performance of your site when being displayed to your precious visitors.
I sincerely hope that you find this article useful to you and also that you feel ready to do that upgrade needed in your site! For more articles please check our webmaster's resources and templates site at http://www.wise-designs.com
About the Author
Afonso Ferreira Gomes is the webdesigner for Wise Designs Webmasters at http://www.wise-designs.com . The site's objective is to help any webdesigner in his work by providing templates, tutorials, articles, scripts, graphics and all the resources anyone can think of! -=- Free reprints granted as long as all clickable links remain intact! -=-