Meta Tags are bits of code that are inserted at the top of an html document or web page that are not intended to be seen by human visitors but, rather, are intended to communicate with your browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Safari, etc.) and with search engines (Google, Yahoo, AOL, etc.)
<title>Good Deals on Great Rubber Boots</title> <meta name="description" content="Your one-stop source for information on rubber boots."> <meta name="keywords" content="boots, rubber boots, Wellingtons, wellies, rain boots, galoshes">
A simple example of meta tags.
Search Engines use meta tags to classify and to describe your website to its users. Having good meta tags and a good title tag do not guarantee better placement in search engine results. The contents of these tags combined with the content of your page, combined with the "quality" of sites that link to you will decide your ranking by search engine. However, your meta tags and your title tag can hurt your ranking if you are dishonest. Search engines will actually "penalize" websites that try to portray themselves as something they are not. The "trick" of putting keywords about sex in the metatags of a website that sells rubber boots hasn"t worked since 1995.
To see real live metatags in action, right-click on this webpage and choose "View Source" or "View Page Source". Look at the tags that come right after <head> tag.
There are many kinds of meta tags, but the ones that concern search engines the most are "keywords", "description" and "title".
Technically, the <title>
tag is not a meta tag. Keep your title to under 60 characters. Make sure that it is relevant to the content, and try to work in 2 or 3 keywords. The title tag provides the title of your site"s entry in many search engines" search results. For example, here is how Google displays "myevent.com":
1. comes from the
<title> and 2. comes from the "description" meta tag.
The "description" tag should be 150 to 200 characters in length. It should be a human readable description of what your web page is about. Many search engines will use your "description" to summarize your site in its search results.
You can have as many "keywords" in your "keyword" tag as you like, but bear in mind most search engines probably don"t read past the first 20 words.