What Are Meta Tags?

A short information about the meta tags and tips on their usage

The purpose of the meta tags is to provide additional information about a web page. The meta tags are hidden html tags that are not displayed in a browser, but provide search engines with useful information needed to analyze, categorize and rank your web page. Meta tags are included into the header on a web page. Proper use of the meta tags can substantially increase your search engine traffic to your website.

 

Here is a basic set of meta tags used by the search engines:

Title

The HTML title tag is not really a meta tag, but it is one of the most important factors in how a search engine may decide to rank your web page. The text included in the title meta tags will appear in the top bar of the web browser when the web page is loaded. Almost all the search engine robots get the text of title tag as the text they use for the title of the page in your listings, which usually is displayed as a clickable link. In addition, the title tag is also used to describe the page when it is added the "Favorites" or "Bookmarks" lists. The length that the different search engines accept varies, but we recommend that your title tag be between 50-80 characters long, including spaces.

Example:
<title>MetaTagsCheck.com - meta tags check, optimization and submission services.</title>

Description

The description meta tag is used to give a short description of the content of the web page. Like the title tag, the description tag is going to be displayed to people, so it has to be enticing and have to invite a click. You should use at least five or six of your most important keywords in the description tag. However do not overload your description with only keywords. A keywords-overloaded description can cause an exclusion from a search engine's database. We recommend that your description tag be between 150-200 characters long, as most of the search engines will index approximately the first 200 characters of the description.

Example:
<meta name="description" content="Meta tags check up, optimization and submission services.">

Keywords

The keywords are the words people use in searching for a site like yours. The keywords meta tag is used by some search engines to index your document in addition to words from the web page body. What are do do's and dont's to achieve a good search engine ranking and traffic to your website?

1. Do list keywords in order of importance.

2. Do consider adding variations of your keywords - synonyms or frequent misspellings. e.g. optimizaton, optimizaiton, optimiztion, etc.

3. Don't use keywords that do not relate to the content of the site. The more correct your keywords are, the better the chance that people who find your site through search engines will actually benefit from it, or they just will waste your bandwidth.

4. Don't use keywords that are not likely to be searched, nor particles like "the" and "and", etc.

5. Although that some of the search engines permit up to 3-5 repetitions, we recommend you to try not to repeat keywords and phrases at all, as some search engines will consider that as an attempt to spam. However, keywords used in phrases or combinations may be repeated more often (see the example below).

 

Example:
<meta name="keywords" content="meta tag check, meta tag analyzer, submission, optimization, optimisation">

Robots

The robots meta tag is used to the search engine robots how to index your web page. The following directives can be placed in a robots meta tag:

INDEX: search engine robots should index the page
FOLLOW: robots should follow links from this page to other pages
NOINDEX: search engine robots should not index the page
NOFOLLOW: robots should follow links from this page to other pages

There are also, two global directives that can specify both actions:
ALL=INDEX,FOLLOW, and NONE=NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW.

NOARCHIVE: Google uses this to prevent archiving of the page. See http://www.google.com/remove.html

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">

For more information about meta tags, visit The global structure of an HTML document and Performance, Implementation, and Design Notes.

To check your meta tags use our free Meta Tag Check (SEO Check).