© Copyright Stacy Beatty, 1998, 1999, 2000,
2001, 2002, 2003. All Rights Reserved.
The use of meta tags alone will not guarantee your site a high rank or listing in search engines. However, meta tags are very useful in controlling how search engines list your page!
tags should be placed between the <head> and </head> section
of your html. Meta tags should also be used on every page, including
all framed pages that load!! If you don't place them in each
individual page, you are missing out!
You should also tailor your keywords, description and title to each page on your website. When your site is indexed by the search engines, why would you want the same listing to appear for every page on your site? Unless you're trying to reach a HIGHLY TARGETED audience, you should make the keywords & descriptions differ from page to page. The more keywords you use, the more likely you are to get the higher placement in the search!
The following meta tags are the most commonly used on the web today. They include; "keywords", "description", "pragma", "expires", "refresh", "window target", "robots", "distribution", and "revisit-after".
Here's how to use them:
Probably the most important meta tags you will use on your website are "keywords" and "description", explained below.
"Keywords" tells the search engine which keywords to use and helps identify the content of your site to the user.
Example: <META NAME ="keywords" CONTENT="groovy, cool, awesome, etc">
"Description" is, simply stated, the description that follows the "title" in your search engine's listing. Be sure to include a few of your keywords in your description tag. Don't be too wordy and Don't USE ALL CAPS or Capitalize Every Word In Your Description! (Save that for the <title> tag)
Example: <META NAME="description" CONTENT="A *Visually Pleasing* groovy site offering free Groovycards, JAVA arcade games, tips for webmasters and more! Come see.">
"Title" (not really a meta tag) is the title of your page and what will appear in the top of the browser window. This is the underlined and bold content in the search engine and the link the users will click to visit your website. Make it catchy! Use your imagination!
Example: <title>Come See Groovynet!</title>
"Expires" tells the browser the date and time the document will expire. Dates MUST be in GMT format!
Example: <META HTTP-EQUIV="expires" CONTENT="Wed, 26 Feb 1997 08:21:57 GMT">
"Pragma" prevents Netscape Navigator from caching the content of the pages. To use this tag, the content must be = "no cache".
Example: <META HTTP-EQUIV="Pragma" CONTENT="no-cache">
"Refresh" specifies the time (in seconds) before the web browser automatically refreshes the page. Very useful if you have changed the location of your documents, you can specify a new page to load on refresh! You MUST place quotation marks " around the entire content value or the page will not refresh. In the example below, the 0; tells the browser to wait 0 seconds to send the user to the URL http://www.groovynet.com. Change the 0 to the amount of time you wish and change to URL to point to the page of your choice.
Example: <META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="0;URL=http://www.groovynet.com">
"Window Target" will open all links on your page in a different window. Very useful for pages with offsite links. Your users click the link, visit the site, and your site is still open in the background!
Example: <META HTTP-EQUIV="Window-target" CONTENT="_top">
The default setting for the "Robots" meta tag is "all".
"Distribution" specifies the level or degree of distribution of your web page. Global indicates that all content is intended for world wide viewing. Local, is intended for local distribution of your content and IU indicates your content is for internal use only.
Example: <META NAME="distribution" CONTENT=" global">
"Revisit-after" defines how often the search engine should revisit your website. (This is great if you add content daily!)
Example: <META name="Revisit-After" content="X Days">
These are the basics meta tags. There are many other being used by webmasters today, (author, copyright, abstract, etc) however, they are optional and may be added at any time. (I may end up writing another page on meta tags! Watch for it in the near future!)
Careful use of these meta tags should help you increase your traffic and reach the audience you want! Remember, meta tags are not an all inclusive solution to building traffic, they're part of the process!