What is a Meta Tag? If you
want to attract visitors to your website then they are the most useful tool
imagineable! They are used by a majority of search engines when they send their
spiders to your site to scan it to build a list of keywords. They also look for
some content, which is what you frequently see under a website's address
when you use a search engine. Sites that don't organise a useful set of Mta
Tags can end up with what looks like garbage to many, but is basically the HTML
commands and text at the beginning of the site. Not all the information in Meta
Tags is for search engines however, they are, for example, a place where
details of the site can be stored without being made public.
Meta Tags are inserted in the Header section, between <HEAD> and </HEAD>. Where the Meta Tag is a list of words, the words should be separated by commas
Some of the more popular ones are set out below:
<meta name="robots" content="all, index"> which is supposed to invite robots to visit your site and index it although I have never been able to ascertain how well it works!
<meta name="description" content= ... "> where you write a brief description of the site, eg. We are a restaurant specialising in .....
<meta name="keywords" content=" ... "> where you can list all the keywords pertaining to your site, eg. restaurant, food, dinner, lunch, breakfast, meal & etc.
<meta name="content-language" content="en-gb"> which is quite self-explanatory - it tells a search engine the lanquage, and if necessary the version of a language, used on the site. In this example it is English as spoken in Great Britain.
<meta name="revisit-after" content=" ... "> which invite robots to return to your site after a specified period, eg. 4 weeks. But, does it work? I hope so as I use it on all my sites!
<meta name="title" content=" ... "> where you would write the title of the site.
<meta name="owner" content=" ... "> where you can either write your name or someone else's if you have written the site on their behalf.
<meta name="author" content=" ... "> where you would write your e-mail address.
<meta name="copyright" content=" ... "> a most important one where you the name of the copyright owner.
<meta name="rating" content=" ... "> where you can give the site a classification, eg. general.
<meta http-equiv="expires" content=" ... "> where you enter the date and time of the last update to the site, eg. Sat, 29 July 2000 00:00:00 GMT. This tag can be very useful as browsers such as Internet Explorer have the very annoying habit when you re-visit a site of loading a cached version from a previous visit. This Meta Tag tells it not to load the cached version but to take the later one instead.
Another useful Meta Tag is:
<meta http-eqiv="refresh" content=" ... ; url= ... "> which tells a browser to refresh a page, how long to wait and where to find the new page. Eg. content="5;url=index.html"> where the browser will wait five seconds, then refresh with the page "index.html". This very useful tag can also be used to fetch a page from a different site, so if, for example, you need to re-direct people from an old address to a new one all you need do is place this command on the old site with the address of the new one. You can include a message if you wish, or if you simply want the browser to jump straight to the new page, set the time to zero and have no message. Don't have zero time with a message though as there is nothing more annoying than having something pop up briefly on-screen that can't possibly be read!
Not a Meta Tag as such, but equally useful, is: <base href="http:// ... "> where you fill in the domain name of your site, eg. <base href="http://www.mywebsite.co.uk">. This forces a browser to use the specified URL as the prefix when linking from one page to another. Supposing you were linking from page1.html to page2.html in your site, all you need is <a href="page2.html"> ... </a> but using this tag will force the browser to display the full address, ie. http://www.mywebsite.co.uk/page2.html