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Tips and tricks for a successful Website - META TAGS


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How to Optimize your META tags

A vital part of making your pages on your website more 'accessible' to the search engines are the META tags. There are a number of different ones. However, for purposes of this introduction, only the META DESCRIPTION and META KEYWORDS will be examined as they are the most important as as as site placing is concerned.


The META DESCRIPTION tag of this page looks like so:

<meta name="DESCRIPTION" content="The text you want goes here.">

These are the words that will appear in the text of the listing of most [not all] search engines when you do a search. Use interesting words because this is what your reader will see.

Consider the following - which one would you click on if your were looking for a holiday home?

  1. Nice holiday home.

  2. Happy holidays! Breathtaking Ocean view with beautiful garden and outdoor entertainment area.

Make the description interesting and relevant. No point in telling your would be visitor you have a sea view when you sell trucks!


This tag look like this:

<meta name="KEYWORDS" content="happy holidays tranquil surroundings peaceful accommodation  holiday home">

Some rules for META DESCRIPTION tags:

  1. You should not go more than about 500 characters or some search Engines will ignore them or worse still, penalize you for spamming.

  2. Do not repeat keywords more than three times or you will be penalized.

  3. Most advise you should separate the keywords with commas. Personally the writer has found that leaving the commas out works better.

  4. Make sure your keywords are relevant to your pages' content.


By far the most important
tag is the TITLE. This is the heading people will see in the Search Engines and is what will make them click on your link or not. Be sure to make your Title as interesting and eye catching as possible.

The format for the TITLE tag is like so:

<title>Secrets of META TAGS explained.</title>



Your meta tags on every page of your website should be different. Sure, this is a lot of work but it is essential. You should spend as much time and effort thinking of what your visitors are likely to be typing into the search box at the search engines as what you spend on designing your pages.

We did an experiment on on of our large websites about a year ago. This is what we did:

  • We made two identical pages (images and text),
  • We put invisible links (made the links the same color as the background) from the main page to both pages so the search engines would find them,
  • On the one page we carefully selected out META TAGS, on the other we did not.

The result?

  • The page with the 'untweaked' META TAGS got 128 hits after 6 months.
  • The page with the carefully selected TAGS got 56,295 hits in the same period!

The title of the web page is perhaps the most important of all meta tags
<title>Laugh until you cry</title>

<meta name="keywords" content="free, webmaster, resources, articles, tools, tutorials, reviews, graphics, scripts, download, CIW, freeware">

<meta name="description" content="If you want to laugh till you cry, Click here. This stuff is really funny!">

The page description should be less than 100 words

The name of the person who authored the page

<meta name="author" content="Emory Rowland">

The contact person's e-mail address. Don't put this in unless you want SPAM!
<link rev="made" href="nospam@mydomain.com">

The copyright year and the name

<meta name="copyright" content="2002 by Laughter">

How often to tell the spiders to come back

<meta name="revisit-after" content="14 days">

This field must contain a URL that refers the page to another link in a specified number of seconds

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="120; url=http://www.killer-laughter.com">

The date when the content expires

<meta http-equiv="expires" content="Wed, 39 Jan 2004 26:29:02 GMT">

Global Used for major entry points
Local Used for local entry points

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

Web spiders can be restricted using the following Robot meta tags. Recommend you do not use these but your a robots.txt file instead.:

All Robots may traverse and index the page
No Index Robots may traverse but not index the page
No Follow Robots may index the page but not follow it
None Robots may neither index nor traverse the page

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">

14 Years

<meta name="rating" content="14 years">

Character set
The most common character set is ISO-8859-1 The following is a rough list of the languages contained in the ISO 8859 series

ISO-8859-1 Western Europe and Americas: Afrikaans, Basque, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, Faeroese, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish

ISO-8859-2 Latin-written Slavic and Central European languages

ISO-8859-3 Esperanto, Galician, Maltese, and Turkish

ISO-8859-4 Scandinavia/Baltic

ISO-8859-5 Cyrillic

ISO-8859-6 Arabic

ISO-8859-7 Modern Greek

ISO-8859-8 Hebrew

ISO-8859-9 Western Europe and Americas: Afrikaans, Basque, Catalan, Danish, Dutch, English, Faeroese, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Turkish, Irish, Italian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish

UTF-8 - Unicode

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

Choose a language or add another under Other in Front Page (or whatever you use)

<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="en-us">

Page caching
Browsers cache pages by default Select the No-Cache option to stop caching of your page

<meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">

The name of the program used to create your web page

<meta name="generator" content="Home brew 1.0.0">

Window Target
Useful for preventing page framing

<meta http-equiv="window-target" content="_top">

A brief summary of the description meta tag, under 100 words

<meta name="abstract" content="Viewpoints, Tools, and Content for Webmasters">

Comments are not actually meta tags Some search engines have used them instead of meta tags You may also want to add a comment as a self note.

<!--bla bla bal Remember to buy bread-->

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