Using HTML Meta Tags

Meta Tag Information and Meta Tag Generator - Creating Meta Tags - Do's and Don't of Meta Tag creations


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Now that you have built your website, you are now looking at getting listed with the search engines and everyone is telling you that you need Meta Tags to improve your rankings, so what are they?  They are simply lines of information inserted into the "head" area of your web pages. Other than the title tag, information in the head area of your web pages is not seen by the visitors to your website but instead is designed to communicate information to a browser or search engine robot. Meta tags, for example, can tell a browser what language the page is written in, what character-set is being used, or how a page is rated as to the content of the page itself.

In the late 90's, most search engine programs learned that they can not trust the Meta Tag information on such things as keywords, or even the description.  Back then you had web masters putting words in the keyword Meta Tags like "church" when in fact, the web site had nothing to do with a religious organization but instead was a scam or pornography web site.  Going by experience, most if not nearly all of the major search engines now don't even look at your Meta Tags except for the Title and the Robots Tag.  With that said, we have found through experience, that Google will, on rare occasions use a portion of our description Meta Tag.

So why use Meta Tags?  If 95% of all search engines do not use the keyword Meta Tag or the description Meta Tag, is it worth my time to create them?  We think so for two reasons.  First of all, they will target the 5% of the search engine robots to get our pages listed.  Our second reason is, it allows us to track our own pages and provide information about a particular page when needed for our web site promotions.

Tags we use and a description of each -

<html><head>
<title>Dallas Fort Worth Business and Entertainment Guide</title>

Your title is one of the most important tags you need. This not only is the title to your page, but is the title that is used when you get your web site listed with a search engine.  It also is the title used when someone bookmarks your web page.  Keep your title short and less than 65 characters in length.  Use keywords when creating your title for a page.  Keywords are considered words that people will search for in a search engine.  As an example, less say you are a lawyer in Dallas and you want to create a title for your homepage.  You could use something like this. "Jonathan Allen Alexander practicing law for 30 years".  With a title like that, the only thing you did was to write your name down as the title, and no one except maybe yourself is going to do a search using your name.  Did you use any keywords for which a prospective client might use to search for you?  If I was looking for a lawyer in the Dallas area, I might use the words "dallas lawyers" or "dallas attorneys" as my search phrase.  With that said, a good start for a title might be "Dallas Attorney - Lawyer J.A. Alexander Dallas attorneys at law".  Here we used the word Dallas twice, and also used other possible keywords that a person might use to seek us out.  When creating a title for your page, give it a lot of thought because this is one area the search engines use to a high degree in your rankings if done right.

<META Http-Equiv="Cache-Control" Content="no-cache">
<META Http-Equiv="Pragma" Content="no-cache">
<META Http-Equiv="Expires" Content="0">

Use these 3 tags if your pages change often.  This code just keeps your pages from being stored on a visitors browser and forces their browser to seek the new page when entering your web site.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="ImageToolbar" CONTENT="No">

Use this tag to prevent IE from showing the image toolbar when the mouse moves over an image.

<META NAME="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" CONTENT="True">

If you don't want Microsoft products to automatically generate smart tags on your web pages, then simply include this tag. It must be included on each page of your site for which you do not desire this feature.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

This is an example of the character set used in the United States.  You should use this tag.  Most web page programs will create this tag for you when you first create the web page itself.  Keep this intact when generated by your design program. 

<meta name="language" content="en-us">

This just tells a browser what language your web site is written in.  Use this tag. 

<meta NAME="keywords" CONTENT="use,keywords,seperated,by,comas">

Even thought many search engines do not use this, it doesn't hurt to list your keywords using this tag.  It may still help, but it sure won't hurt.  Use as few keywords as possible (300 characters or less), but if you're the type of person who feels this is how you get ahead in the search engines, limit your keywords to 600 characters.  Too many keywords could be consider spamming the search engines and this could disqualify you from being included in a search engines results altogether. Most search engines will only index the first 64 characters in this Meta tag if they use it at all.

<meta NAME="description" CONTENT="place a well written description here">

The description tag is not as popular with the search engines as what it was; however, some search engines still use this, and even Google from time to time will look at this tag.  When writing your description for this tag, keep it short and use as many keywords as possible about the web page it is placed on.

<meta name="Robots" content="index, follow">

The Robots tag just tells the robot what you want it to do.  Here, we are asking the search engine robots to list this page, and then follow the links we have on the page.

Some examples:

<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,follow">
<meta name="robots" content="index,nofollow">
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow">
<meta name="robots" content="all">
<meta name="robots" content="none">

The defaults are INDEX and FOLLOW. The values ALL and NONE set all directives on or off: ALL=INDEX,FOLLOW and NONE = NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW

<meta http-equiv="PICS-Label" content='(PICS-1.1 "http://www.icra.org/ratingsv02.html" l gen true for "http://www.town-mall.net" r (cz 1 lz 1 nz 1 oz 1 vz 1) "http://www.rsac.org/ratingsv01.html" l gen true for "http://www.town-mall.net" r (n 0 s 0 v 0 l 0))'>

Wow, what a tag.  So what's this for?  (do not copy this tag, you will need to create your on PICS-Label)  Today, many people are using child protective software or what is called filtering software, and this tag just tells the software about your web site.  It's simply a ratings system.  Without this tag on our web site, we could loose many visitors to our web site that block out unlabeled pages.  For more information on this tag, go to http://www.icra.org 

<meta NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="15 days">

This tag in our opinion is senseless today.  The tag just tells the robot when to come back.  Most robots visit your web site on a scheduled basis when they are scheduled to index the World Wide Wide, not when you suggest.

<meta name="distribution" content="GLOBAL">

Distribution - Tells the search engine who the page is meant for and can be set to; global, for everyone, local, for regional sites, and UI, for Internal Use.

<meta name="expires" content="never">

This meta tag is used by responsible web masters to let the search engine know when the page expires and that it can be removed from the search engines directory. It can either be set to never, or a date in the format of "17 July 2002"  An example of use would be if you were having an event and you had a web page telling about the event, you may want to expire the page on the day of the event.

<meta name="rating" content="general">

This tag is used to self-rate your page. The ratings are, general, mature, restricted, and 14 years.  Best to use the PICS label as listed above.  Both can be used and is a good idea.

<meta name="author" content="James Watson">

Used to identify the author of the web page

<meta name="copyright" content="1996, Impact Solutions, Inc.">

Identifies any copyright information for the web page

<meta name="Reply-to" content="youremailaddress@yourdomain.com">

Used for placing your email address on your website.  I for one have a problem with this tag.  Some search engines, very few by the way, require this tag, but my problem is not with them.  My problem is with the low life people who have created their own little search robots to surf the web and seek out email addresses.  Once, their little program finds your web site, it looks at your code and gathers email addresses and then puts you on a email list.  In short and without getting on my soapbox, this tag can bring you in a lot of junk email.

<link rel="shortcut icon" href="http://yourweb.com/favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" />

This tag creates a shortcut icon when people bookmark your web page.  When you create the graphic, you must give it the name of "favicon.ico".  With this icon placed on your web site, it will make a little picture beside the bookmark in their browser and instead of using the default icon on the address bar, it will use your custom made icon as shown above in the example.  For a live example, go to our home page at http://www.town-mall.net and then bookmark us.  Once bookmarked, go to another web site and then come back to us using the bookmark.  To create this icon, you need a special graphics program. For such a program, search for "favicon.ico" or visit Microsoft here for more information

Example of what your Meta Tags may look like

<html><head>
<title>Dallas Fort Worth Business and Entertainment Guide</title>
<META Http-Equiv="Cache-Control" Content="no-cache">
<META Http-Equiv="Pragma" Content="no-cache">
<META Http-Equiv="Expires" Content="0">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="ImageToolbar" CONTENT="No">
<META NAME="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" CONTENT="True">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<meta name="language" content="en-us">
<meta NAME="keywords" CONTENT="use,keywords,seperated,by,comas">
<meta NAME="description" CONTENT="place a well written description here">
<meta name="Robots" content="index, follow">
<meta NAME="revisit-after" CONTENT="15 days">
<meta name="distribution" content="GLOBAL">
<meta name="expires" content="never">
<meta name="rating" content="general">
<meta name="author" content="James Watson">
<meta name="copyright" content="1996, Impact Solutions, Inc.">
<meta name="Reply-to" content="youremailaddress@yourdomain.com">
<link rel="shortcut icon" href="http://yourweb.com/favicon.ico" type="image/x-icon" />
</head>
<body>

Meta Tag Generator


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