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Meta Tags

Updated on August 6, 2009

What is a Meta Tag

A meta tag is an HTML line that contains metadata about a webpage. Meta tag information won’t be seen by the website viewer, unless they are viewing your source code. In other words it don't affect how a page looks like at all. The main purpose of meta tags is to inform the search engine bots about your page.

These meta tags are placed within the <HEAD> </HEAD> tags of the HTML code.

There are two common meta tags
1) description
2) keywords


Description tag:

As the name implies, the meta description tag describes what the page is about in one or two short sentences.

This is how the description tag of this page should look like:
<META name =“description” content="This page contains all the information on Meta Tags">


Keywords tag:

The meta keywords tag lists some words in it which are used time and again in the page and show what page is really about.

This is how the keywords tag of this page should look like:
<META name ="keywords" content="meta tags, meta, seo, keywords, description, optimize ">


Can Meta Tags rank you higher in SERPs?

The short answer is 'yes' for certain search engines and a 'no' for others. Google currently don't seem to give much value to them but in future they might have a look at them. Optimizing them can save you from falling in SERPs. In addition to keep you from ranking low, they also improve your search engine rankings(of some search engines) and rank you high for the rite queries which send targeted traffic to your site. I understand they have lost their importance because of spamming which not all but only a few webmasters did, but still many search engines give value to them.


What if I don't have Meta Tags on my pages?

That is no more a problem. They are no more as important as they were 3-4 years ago. But if you have them, you should optimize them or remove them. Its either optimized meta tags or no meta tags at all. But as I say before there is no harm in following the guidelines given by search engines and according to their guide lines you should have meta tags. There is a saying in SEO: "You should use everything available to you that the engines might give some weight, and therefore you should certainly use meta tags." So do use them wisely.


How to optimize Meta Tags

The only way to optimize them is to write them wisely. Write a genuine description in the description tag. The description should be short and related to the page. Choose keywords wisely. Don't over stuff the keyword tag. Don't put words like 'there' and 'end' in the keyword tag, just the keywords that are related to your topic. Remember never repeat keywords in the keywords tag or it will be seen as spam.


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      SEO UK 8 years ago

      A couple of top tips:

      1) Ignore meta keyword tag...they are no loner used, especially with MSN and Yahoo integrating.

      2) Make your your Meta Description under 160 words for Google to show it intact in the SERPS (though this is dependent on the user query).

      Hope this all helps.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image
      Author

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      I am glad you liked it bingskee. Thank you for yout nice comments.

    • bingskee profile image

      bingskee 8 years ago from Quezon City, Philippines

      very interesting! learned a lot. this has been a hanging question to me. the great challenge is to optimize the meta tag.

      thank you for sharing. love this hub.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image
      Author

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      I am glad Jay, you liked these points. Meta tags can get tricky sometimes. Make sure you handle them with due care.

    • profile image

      Jay 8 years ago

      Thanks for the advice UH. These are some good points and I will surely keep them in mind.

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image
      Author

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      Hey, thanx for the comment rb11. So then we should definitely use meta tags.

      There is a saying in SEO: "You should use everything available to you that the engines might give some weight, and therefore you should certainly use meta tags."

      Taken from the hub above my friend.

    • rb11 profile image

      rb11 8 years ago from Las Vegas

      I read the same as your hub points out, only a very few search engines use the meta anymore, but I do notice Google will put the description from a meta in their organic search results. Go figure...

      Regards

    • Ultimate Hubber profile image
      Author

      Ultimate Hubber 8 years ago

      Thanx for the nice comment Dohn. I am afraid this article might be misleading for some but wanted to write the facts.

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Great advice, UH. This is without question important to know. Thanks.