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The Meta tags

The meta tags belong to the code of your pages. It is essential to know them and understand their roles if you wish to optimize the referencing of your pages.
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Meta tags can have several roles: to give a title to a page, to inform the search engines, to redirect automatically towards a new page, etc.

RelevanceSpirit is a free utility which enables you to visualize and to easily modify the Meta tags of your pages. Do not hesitate to download it!

If you do not use RelevanceSpirit to edit your tags, you have to know that they are located in the header of your HTML page, between <HEAD> (marking the beginning of the header) and </HEAD> (marking the end of the header).

Most of these tags are automatically created by your HTML editor (Frontpage, Dreamweaver, Golive, etc.) when creating the page. To be able to supplement them or modify them manually, you must edit the source code of your page.

This can be done through your HTML editor, or through any text editor (like Wordpad). Although that it is preferable, it is not absolutely obligatory to place meta-tags on the whole of the pages of your site. If they do not find them, the search engines will be satisfied to examine the content of your pages.

You can use Meta-tag "robots" to desallow the referencing of certain pages (see low). You can also use the file "Robot.txt" to achieve this goal. The free utility LinkSpirit, also downloadable on this site, enables you to create or edit easily the "robots" tag and the "robot.txt" file.

  Roles and syntax

The <Title> tag

For historical reasons (HTML code has a long history...), the title of the page is not presented as a Meta tag. It is simply announced by "<title>". We however made a point of making it appear here, because it plays a paramount role in referencing. This information is used at the same time by the navigators and the search engines. It is, in many cases, this text which represents your page or your site. Look after it!

Each page MUST have a different title.

Title of the page - 100 char maximum.

Don't forget </Title> a the end of your text.
Example: <Title>RankSpirit, analyze your web site traffic </Title>


<META NAME="..." CONTENT="..."> tags


Author of the page.
This tag is not obligatory.

Example: <META NAME="Author" CONTENT="Zapman, Luc Deborde">
(many authors are possible, with a comma separator)


Category of the page (for sites catalogs).
This tag is not obligatory.

Example: <META NAME="Category" CONTENT="Webmastering, SEO">
(many values are possible, with a comma separator)


Copyright(s) of the page.
This tag is not obligatory.

Example: <META NAME="Copyright" CONTENT="Zapman inc.">
(many values are possible, with a comma separator)


Langue of the page as an abbreviation (2 lettres).
This tag is not obligatory.
Examples of possible values: ''fr'' (French), ''en'' (English), ''de'' (German), ''es'' (Spanish), ''it'' (Italian), ''pt'' (Portuguese).
The "Content-Language" tag can also be used to indicate the language.

Example: <META NAME="Language" CONTENT="fr">


Description of the page.
Very important meta. Complete it!
From 100 to 1000 characters.
This description is often copy by catalogs indexing your pages. Don't put here a simple keywords list, even if your most important keywords MUST be included in your sentence.

Exemple : <META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Free and commercial softwares for webmasters, tips about web site optimization.">


Defines the level or degree of distribution of the page.
This tag is not obligatory.
Possibles values: Global (indicates that your webpage is intended for mass distribution to everyone), Local (intended for local distribution of your document), and IU - Internal Use (not intended for public distribution).

Exemple : <META NAME="Distribution" CONTENT="global">


Name of the software used to create the page.
This tag is not obligatory.

Exemple : <META NAME="Generator" CONTENT="Golive">


URL of your site.
This tag is not obligatory.
If you use it, put the same value in all the pages of your site!

Exemple : <META NAME="Identifier-URL" CONTENT="">


Keywords list
Very important tag, complete it!
RelevanceSpirit is the ideal tool to complete this tag. Remember that your keywords won't be considered by search engines until they are used and repeated into your page text.

Example: <META NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="SEO, Referencing, Web, Site, Optimization, PageRank, Webmaster">


Publisher of the site.
Important tag, complete it!
This tag is analyzed by Google.

Example: <META NAME="Publisher" CONTENT="Zapman">


Webmaster email.
It can be usefull. However, take care about spams! Spam engines usually explore the web to collect emails from that tag.

Example: <META NAME="Reply-to" CONTENT="">


Defines how often a search engine or spider should come to your website for re-indexing.
This tag is not obligatory. One thinks that it is obsolete.
15 days minimum. The ''2 weeks'' syntax seems to be accepted by some search engines, but you should better use the "days" syntax.

Example: <META NAME="Revisit-After" CONTENT="30 days">


Can desallow robots to index the page or to considere its links.
If this meta tag is missing, or if there is no content, or the robot terms are not specified, then the robot terms will be assumed to be "index, follow" (e.g. "all").
Possible values: index (the page will be indexed), noindex (the page will NOT be indexed), follow (allows the links on that page to be followed), nofollow (no links from the page must be followed)
"all" is equivalent to "Index,follow".
"none" is equivalent to "noindex,nofollow"

Example: <META NAME="Robots" CONTENT="all">

<META HTTP-EQUIV="..." CONTENT="..."> tags


Sets the character encoding for the document. Note that using META for this purpose rather than a true HTTP header causes some browsers to redraw the page after initially displaying it.
Default charset is "text/html; charset=iso-8859-1" and it will be used if no "Type" tag is found in your header.

Example: <META http-equiv="Content-Type"
content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">


Page Language .
Possible values:
fr : French
en : English
de : German
es : Spanish
it : Italian
pt : Portuguese

Example: <META http-equiv="Content-Language" content="fr">


Defines the number of seconds before refreshing your webpage:
<META http-equiv="Refresh" content="10"> (for 10 seconds)


Automatically redirect the browser to another page:

Example: <META http-equiv="Refresh"
content="10; URL=">


Indicates that cached information should not be used and instead requests should be forwarded to the origin server..

Example: <META http-equiv="Pragma" CONTENT="no-cache">


Read also our page about the "robots.txt" file.

If you copy the content of this article onto your own web site, please be fair and add this link to your page :

Original article by: <a href="">RankSpirit, creating your web site</a>. Discover other articles from this site!

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