What are Meta tags?
A Meta tag is a tag (coding statement) in the Hypertext
Markup Language (HTML) that describes some aspect of
the contents of a Web page and is placed near the top
of the HTML in a Web page as part of the heading.
Why Meta tags?
Meta tags are used to give search engines instructions
on what a web page is about and how they should treat
it. These Meta tags are not displayed to humans surfing
a site, but can be used to influence the way a site
appears in the search results.
What are the different Meta tags that can be present
in a web page?
There are several Meta tags that can be incorporated
in a web page of which only two tags are of high relevance
for search engine optimization. They are the Meta keywords
and Meta description tags. These two tags should be
present in every page of the web site.
How to define Meta content for a web page?
Let us now have a close look as to how the Meta tags
need to be defined and organized.
Meta Keywords tag
The keywords Meta tag should contain words or phrases
that best describe the contents of the page. These words
can be separated by commas, spaces or both. This tag
is not shown to the people visiting the site, nor do
the search engines display it in their results, but
many search engines do read the keywords tag and give
a slight boost to the page's ranking for the words that
are mentioned in it.
Generally, include words and phrases that are mentioned
on your page and avoid using any word more than three
times in the keywords tag. All of the words in the keywords
tag should be relevant to the document. The order of
the keywords and phrases should be in a manner such
that the most important and relevant keywords should
be positioned first. The importance of Meta keywords
in determining top search engine rankings is fast diminishing,
however some search engines do use Meta tags to determine
search engine rankings. So go ahead and use Meta keywords,
they wont harm you. Good companies providing search
engine optimization services use Meta keywords intelligently
to derive some mileage from this out dated technique.
Meta Description tag
The Meta description tag is used to display a brief
one or two sentence description of the page. The content
of the Meta description tag is displayed immediately
after the title in the search engine results. This tag
also aids in people clicking our site if proper and
meaningful content is displayed. So necessary care should
be taken in phrasing content for the Meta description
Limit the description to a maximum of two to three
lines as the search engines do not display the whole
of the content but only the first few words. Place the
most relevant stuff at the beginning of the sentence
as it helps in better search engine ranking. The description
should be short and at the same time be informative.
Limit the length of the description to approximately
150 to 200 characters.
Present day relevance of Meta tags in Search
In the past when the search engine optimization concept
was new, almost all the search engines used to give
top priority to the Meta tags in ranking a web site.
The keywords and description tags used to be a very
important part of search engine optimization strategy.
Now that the emergence of more sophisticated search
engine algorithms, the usage of these Meta tags has
been reduced to a minimum. A good Meta tag can give
you a small boost in many engines, but you can get top
search engine rankings even without one.