This article covers the most important aspects of Meta tags in relation to website optimization or SEO.
What are Meta tags?
Meta Tags are the information inserted in thearea of the HTML code of your web pages, where apart from the Title Tag, other information inserted is not visible to the person surfing your web page but is intended for the search engine crawlers. Meta Tags are included so that the search engines are able to list your site in their indexes more accurately.
What can I include in a Meta tag?
There are basically four major Meta tags that you can use:
* Open tag META name=”resource-type” content=”document” Closed tag
o The only resource type that is currently in use is “document” This is the only tag that you need to put in for indexing purposes, but use of the others is a good idea.
* Open tag META name=”description” content=”a description of your page” Closed tag
o Depending on the search engine, this will be displayed along with the title of your page in an index. “Content” could be a word, sentence or even paragraph to describe your page. Keep this reasonably short, concise and to the point. However, don’t be so mean with your description that its not an appropriate reflection of the contents!
* Open tag META name=”keywords” content=”a, list, of,keywords” Closed tag
o Choose whatever keywords you think are appropriate, seperated by commas. Remember to include synoyms, americanisms and so on. So, if you had a page on cars, you might want to include keywords such as car, cars, vehicles, automobiles and so on.
* Open tag META name=”distribution” content=”one of several” Closed tag
o Content should contain either global, local or iu (for Internal Use). To be perfectly honest, I can’t quite get my head around this one; its supposed to list available resources designed to allow the use to find things easily, but I still don’t quite get it. My advice is to stick to “global”.
Using Meta Tags in HTML is not necessary while making your web pages. There are many websites that don’t feel the requirement to use Meta Tags at all. In short Meta information is used to communicate information to the search engine crawlers that a human visitor may not be concerned with. Infoseek and AltaVista were the first major crawler based search engines to support Meta keywords Tag in 1996. Inktomi and Lycos too followed thereafter.
Why are Meta Tags used? – Want to get a top ranking in search engines
Meta Tags were originally designed to provide webmasters with a way to help search engines know what their site was about. This in turn helped the search engines decide how to rank the sites in their search results. Making Meta Tags is a simple process. As the competition increased, webmasters started manipulating this tool through spamming of keywords. In turn most search engines withdrew their support to Meta keywords Tag, which included Lycos and AltaVista. From being considered as one of the most reliable and important tool, Meta Tags are now often abused. In the present day scenario a vital feature that the Meta Tags provide to the websites is the ability to control, to a certain extent, how some search engines describe its web pages. Apart from this, Meta Tags also offer the ability to specify that a certain website page should not be indexed.
Using Meta Tags, however, provides no guarantee that your website page would rank highly in the search engine rankings. Due to the rampant abuse and manipulation of the Meta keywords Tag by webmasters, most search engines don’t support it anymore.