HTML also includes a meta element that goes inside the head element. The purpose of the meta element is to provide meta-information about the document.
Most often the meta element is used to provide information that is relevant to browsers or search engines like describing the content of your document.
Keywords for Search Engines
Some search engines on the WWW will use the name and content attributes of the meta tag to index your pages.
Keywords or phrases are placed in this meta tag’s content attribute. You should specify the most popular search terms you believe someone would use to reach your web site. A few years back, you could spam this meta tag with any and every keyword possible to gain ranking on search engines. Repeated words, or words that do not pertain to the content of the site will not benefit you or those using a search engine. Here’s an example of proper usage for a site.
<!--This meta element defines a description of your page:--> <meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials on HTML, CSS, XML, and XHTML">
The intention of the name and content attributes is to describe the content of a page.
However, since too many webmasters have used meta tags for spamming, like repeating keywords to give pages a higher ranking, some search engines have stopped using them entirely.
You can read more about search engines in our Web Building Tutorial.
Unknown Meta Attributes
Sometimes you will see meta attributes that are unknown to you like this:
<meta name="security" content="low">
Then you just have to accept that this is something unique to the site or to the author of the site, and that it has probably no relevance to you.
- Its important not to repeat words in the description or keywords meta tags
- Meta is not the only way to have your site seen by search engines. Do not rely on meta tags alone to get your web site listed on search engines.
- If your domain (.com) ever changes, remember to place a simple “Our site has moved” message as the existing domain, and then use a redirect meta tag to make life easier for your viewers that already may have your site bookmarked.