What are Meta Tags?

Meta tags are hidden HTML tags used to describe various aspects about a Web page. The two most important meta tags are the 'meta description' and 'meta keywords' tags. Let's take a closer look at each meta tag. Sample meta tags:

<HEAD>
<TITLE>Meta Tags</TITLE>
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="Guide to what meta tags are and how you should use them.">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="meta tags, free meta tag generators.">
</HEAD>
<BODY>

Meta description tags

The contents of meta description tags are indexed by some search engines as the page description in its search engine results. However, meta description tags is often misused, with misleading or even false descriptions about a page. As a result, the relevancy of search results are often compromised, so search engines have begun to de-emphasize the importance and even totally ignore the contents of the tag.

Some search engines still index the contents of a meta description tag for its search results. But if the meta description tag is missing, the search engine will usually extract a description from the body text. In general, search engines will index the first 135-249 characters of the meta description tag contents. Write a description that sells the page. Include the most important keywords at the beginning of the tag. But, don't just fill the description tag with keywords.

Meta keywords tags

The contents of a meta keyword tag is used to help define the important keywords of a page. It sounds good in theory. However, in practice, the meta keywords tag is often misused, including the addition of excessive or irrelevant keywords. So much so that virtually all search engines ignore the contents of the meta keywords tag. So it's not worth wasting any time on.

Should you separate keywords with commas?

This is a question that has come up a lot and one that I have wondered about myself. Some search engine optimizers recommend leaving out the commas, so that it creates more keyword combinations for the search engines to index.

I'm actually testing both techniques at the moment to see which, if any, helps improve rankings in search engines that still indexes the tag. I have yet to see conclusive proof that one technique is better than the other. So I can't recommend one or the other. I suggest you try both techniques to see if which, if any, produces better results.


Table of Contents

  1. What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
  2. What are meta tags?
  3. How do I optimize HTML Tags for SEO?
  4. What are keywords?
  5. What is link popularity?
  6. How do I submit to search engines?
  7. What are pay per click (PPC) search engines?
  8. What's the best SEO software?