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How to Use META Tags in an HTML Document


This is a free META tag tutorial demonstrating HTML code examples of how to use META tags in your HTML document in the head section of the document.

This META tag tutorial also discusses how to use some of the Dublin Core META information in your HTML document to optimize for the search engines, robots, spiders and achieve a higher search ranking. META Tag information will not enhance your positioning with the directories using manual submission of URLs to their database. Pages are reviewed by people working for the directory and they do not use sophisticated software to find the Web pages. Most Web authors just call the META information "META Tags" and they are included in the HEAD section of the document, before the BODY section begins.

The page is a follow-up page to the META tutorials. I will try to give you a few examples of META tags used in actual Web documents. How and where you use the META tags will affect the position of a Web page in the search tools, search engines, robots, spiders. Certain rules must be followed. If some of the rules are broken, your URL might be totally discarded by a search engine.

These are the META tags that I used for this Web page. I placed them into the <HEAD></HEAD> section of the HTML document and you may also see them if you click on View, Source in Internet Explorer:
This line refers to the document type data being used, which the HTML 4.0, English.
The above line also specifies that HTML is used and the language is "US" English.
<HEAD PROFILE="http://purl.org/metadata/dublin_core">
The format of meta tags is the "Dublin Core Meta Data"; this is a technicality for the search spiders, search engines, meta crawlers.
<TITLE>Using The Meta Tags in Your HTML Document</TITLE>
The title in the HEAD section matches the title in the body section.
<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="meta, using meta tags, meta data, HTML document, optimize, optimizing, search, tool, directory, engine">
Keywords must not spam phrases repeately or the URL will be discarded by the search engines. Keep it simple and use words that pertain to the text in your page. A short list of key words is often better than a lengthy list. The words have to be relevant to what is actually on your page. Avoid using the words of another corporation in the key words.
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="How to use Meta tags in your HTML document to optimize for the search engines and achieve a higher search ranking.">
The description is the one that will be used by the search engine to describe the content of your page.
<META NAME="rating" CONTENT="General">
The General rating means that there is no objectionable material on this web page and that the material presented is suitable for families.
<META NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="14 days">
This is the period of time that I would like the search spiders, software to return for an update of this page. If I do not intend to update this page for a while, the period of time could be specified as 45 days, 60 days, and so forth.
<LINK REV=made href="mailto:webmaster@hitmill.com">
This is simply my email address, so that it may be included in information about the page.
<META NAME="VW96.objecttype" CONTENT="Document">
This object is a document.
This tag allows robot searches through the web site. No pages are excluded and robots are not excluded.



Two Functional Types of META Tags

There are two basic types of META Tags. One type gives information to the browser and the other type presents information to the search engine spiders and robots so that your page can be found on the Internet... optimizing for the search engines is an important endeavor.

The <META HTTP-EQUIV=[value here] CONTENT= [value here]> gives information to the browser, tells the browser how to handle the Web page. For example, <META HTTP-EQUIV="Pragma" CONTENT="NO-CACHE"> prevents a browser from caching a Web page locally.

<META NAME="KEYWORDS" CONTENT="history of computers,history of computing"> is an example of giving information to the search engines, spiders and robots. Keywords are used by someone hunting for your page and the key words are indexed by the search engines so that someone can find your page according to the keywords in their own search... try to use keywords that another user would use to find your Web page.
Think of an old Ford car... and the keywords which obviously should not be limited to "Ford". Be more specific in using KEYWORDS "1955 Ford Thunderbird". Try that one in Google and see what you get. I see a statement at the top of the page about returning 329,000 in this search for 1955 Ford Thunderbird. (That was the first year of Thunderbird production.)
Deciding which keywords to use is like doing a backwards search. You already know where your Web page is located and what the content is... the trick is to decide which keywords another user will use to find your page. Go to Google.com click on advanced search and type in the exact phrase find keywords. There are services and software available to help webmasters find the right keywords for each page. Do not deliberately misspell a keyword thinking that will get you a higher page ranking. There are search algorithms that try to match keywords to page content and if the keyword is present but the content does not reflect the information, your rank will be lower.
When all is said and done about KEYWORDS, it is also a good idea to ask other sites with related information to reciprocally link back and forth. You link to them and they link to you. The important thing here is that the reciprocal sites have related information. Why? Think about this: what happens if an autobody shop Web site is placed onto a page about sewing. All the links on the sewing page except one, are related to sewing. Will a seamstress want to click on auto body thinking it might be an automatic mannequin or body? Probably not. Most seamstresses know that auto body is about cars so they will not click on this link. Link reciprocally to any related information and your chances are good of getting more visitors to your site. Alexa.com has an area at the top of its home page where you can type in your web site URL and check to see what your Alexa traffic ranking is. You can then click on the Traffic Details link to see a chart of your Web traffic. Finally, at Alexa you can also type in the name of another URL and compare your site's traffic to that of another site... Both graphs will be superimposed. Traffic growth comes gradually, so you may be discouraged by looking at site statistics each day when you first upload your files to the Web server. You should see a gradual increase in traffic in a period over 3 months. If you have been up online for 6 months without a significant gain, ask me or another webmaster for ideas, help in boosting traffic. Post on a newsgroup and ask questions about generating more Web traffic but do not ever use your main email when posting messages in a newsgroup, because you will more spam.... use a free email service or another email service just for posting to a newsgroup.



Related Links about Using The Meta Tags

Are Search Engines Dead?
by Charlie Morris for WDVL.Com
Advocates the use of the Dublin Core XML Meta information…
How Search Engines Rank Your Pages  (onlinebizresources.com)
Meta Tags Target Your Pages (ZDNet)
Dr.Tom's Meta Data Guide (IMS Project)
Using Meta Tags for Search Engines (PageResource.Com)
Using Meta Tags to Improve Your Search Ranking (LSE)
Optimizing Your Key Words (WebPromotion.co.uk)
Key Word Related Sources (SearchEngineWorld.Com)
Optimizing Documents for Search Retrieval (OPC.on.ca)
Meta Tag Information (MetaPerfect.Com)
Reverse Searching for Meta Tags (SearchEngineWorld.Com)
HTTP-Equivalent Meta Information (U.Toronto)
Meta Tag Research (FreeServers.Com)



The Meta Generators and Analyzers

Analyzes your page for keyword count and relevancy
META Mechanic Meta Generator (NetMechanic.Com)
Free on-line Meta Tag Analyzer (ScrubTheWeb)
Meta Tag Generator (WebSmart1)
Meta Tag Builder (ScrubTheWeb)
Hands on, working with your own page


The Dublin Core Meta Data





Updated 26 February 2006
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