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Metatags Made Easy 

Added: 03/22/2005, Hits: 2,924, Rating: 0, Comments: 0, Votes: 0
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Meta tags are words, phrases and instructions that are indexed by a search engine's spider. When they crawl your site, they pull these words out and add them to your listing in their database. This only works for Search Engines like Google, AltaVista, etc. Directories such as Yahoo do not use them and you have to manually enter these keywords when you apply for a listing with them.

There are a ton of different metatags that you can use and the majority are not supported by the major search engines. This tutorial takes a look at the common tags that you should know. The rest are for specialty search engines or are no longer supported.

If you right click on our main page (in one of the white areas) and select "view source", you will see the code for this page. Looking at the top section of our code, you will see the <Title> and below that are the meta tags. The metatags should always be in the <HEAD> section of your HTML document.

Code :

<TITLE> - Metatag Tutorial</TITLE>

This isn't exactly a metatag, however it is important and worth mentioning here. The title tag should contain the title of your site and it is a very good idea to include a very short description after the title. The information will not only be used as the title for your listing in search engines, it also appears at the top of the browser window as the title and will be used as the title if a visitor adds your page to their favorites. For this page we have used " - Metatag Tutorial" in the title tag and the image below demonstrates how this will affect the title displayed in your browser window.

Code :

<meta name="description" content="This tutorial discusses the different types of metatags and how to use them to increase search engine positioning.">

Many search engines will display this content under your title in their search results. Some search engines also search this field so the text that you enter can affect your ranking in the search engines. This is a very important metatag that still enjoys the support of most search engines.

Code :

<meta name="keywords" content="Enter keywords and phrases that relate to this page separated by a comma">

These terms are indexed by some search engines, but many have abandoned using them due to abuse. Many sites would enter keywords that had nothing to do with the actual content on their site or would use the same keyword over and over to increase their ranking. Search Engines such as AltaVista and Google no longer use these, but it is still a good idea to use them. The search engines that no longer support this metatag usually index the text of the page itself instead. Some search engines use a combination of the keyword metatag and the page's text.

Code :


This metatag would redirect users that access this page to after 0 seconds.

Code :

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Pragma" CONTENT="no-cache">

This tag would prevent Netscape from caching the page. This does not work with Internet Explorer.

Code :


By default, most search engines will attempt to index all of the pages of your site. The robots tag listed above, tells the search engine crawlers not to index this page.

How to use:
When writing your meta tags, you need to think about the search terms that you want visitors to find your site by in the search engines. You will want to utilize different metatags on every page of your site such that they reflect the content of that page. You can take a look at different pages of our site and see that the metatags are different. It is a pretty big project, but worth the effort. Please keep in mind that metatags only apply to search engines that have crawlers/spiders. TechTutorials, for example, is a Yahoo style directory and does not utilize these tags in our listings.

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