This can be found at as of 11-30-03

  • Tutorial: Meta Tags

This tutorial is going to help clarify the different kinds of <meta> tags and their significance in a successful website. Firstly, if you do not understand the format of an HTML document then you should read my tutorial on basic HTML before continuing with this one.

-Character Set Meta Tag-
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">

This tag appears in most of the HTML documents on the web. This defines the character set that the site uses to the search engine. The above example is standard English/American. I do not have any other information on this tag, so any information would be appreciated.

-Description Meta Tag-
<meta name=”description” content="Your description">

Both the “description” and “keyword” meta tags are vital to a website. They are the primary tags that search engines use when deciding whether or not to post your site in someone’s search results. If someone searches for anything that matches one of these two tags then your site will likely appear in their result. For the “description” tag, simply place a description where the above example says “Your description.” Try to keep it under 250 characters (this includes spaces) as most search engines do not search farther than that and some only search for the first 100 characters. Make them count.

-Keyword Meta Tag-
<meta name="keywords" content="first, second, third">

As stated above for the “description” tag, this is one of the primary tags used by search engines. Typically words are separated by a comma, and no space (as demonstrated in the content of the above tag).

-Language Meta Tag-
<meta http-equiv="Content-Language" content="en">

This is the “Language” meta tag. This tells the search engine and/or user what language the site is viewable in. Below is a list of codes for languages:
BG (Bulgarian)
CS (Czech)
DA (Danish)
DE (German)
EL (Greek)
EN (English)
EN-GB (English-Great Britain)
EN-US (English-United States)
ES (Spanish)
ES-ES (Spanish-Spain)
FI (Finnish)
HR (Croatian)
IT (Italian)
FR (French)
FR-CA (French-Quebec)
FR-FR (French-France)
IT (Italian)
JA (Japanese)
KO (Korean)
NL (Dutch)
NO (Norwegian)
PL (Polish)
PT (Portuguese)
RU (Russian)
SV (Swedish)
ZH (Chinese)
The above list is by no means all-inclusive. It is merely a small list of the major languages of the world. The “language” meta tag is compatible with all RFC1766 compliant languages.

-Author Meta Tag-
<meta name="Author" content="Author Information">

Most search engines will not scan for the “author” meta tag. However it is useful in identifying the creator of the document.

-Copyright Meta Tag-
<meta name="Copyright" content="Copyright Statement">

Again, many search engines will not scan for this tag. However it does help by indicating the terms of ownership or licensing arrangements in the <head> of your document.

-Abstract Meta Tag-
<meta name=”Abstract” content=”Abstract phrase”>

Most search engines will not scan for the “abstract” meta tag. However it does add a generalization of your document, and may aid in the categorization of your website with search engines.

-Refresh Meta Tag-
<meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="X;url=>

The “refresh” meta tag can be used to do two things: One, it can be used to refresh the current page at set intervals. Or two, it can be used to redirect someone to another website after a specified time. Note that in the above tag, “X” is the time in seconds, and the url “” should be replaced with the site you wish to redirect to. If you do not wish to redirect, you can delete everything after the “X.”

-Revisit Meta Tag-
<meta name="Revisit-After" content="X Days">

The “revisit” meta tag is used to tell a search engine how many days it should go in between revisiting and re-indexing your site. In the above tag, “X” is to be replaced with the number of days you wish to tell the search engine to wait for.

-Expires Meta Tag-
<meta name="Expires" content="Fri, 13 Oct 2001 16:20:01 GMT">

This tag is used to tell search engines when they should remove your site from their database. It is good to use this tag in pages such as polls that have an ending date or in pages where the content will no longer be relevant after a specified date and time. The above tag has an example of the format that should be used.

-Robots Meta Tag-
<META name="Robots" content="index,follow">

The “robots” meta tag is used by search engines as a means to indicate how and where a spider should scan in your site when indexing it in the engine’s database. Many search engines look for this tag and will only index/spider the pages you want to be indexed.

That’s that, a basic tutorial to Meta Tags. I hope it helps you in your quest to create a successful webpage.


This Tutorial ©2003 FallenZen. If you wish to use this tutorial on your site, please leave this credit intact.
Check out The DigitalZen (