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Meta tags are HTML or XHTML tags that are used to provide structured metadata about a web page. These tags must be placed in the head section of an HTML or XHTML document. They can be used to specify page description, keywords and any other metadata not provided through the other head elements and attributes. A meta element has four valid attributes: content, http-equiv, name and scheme, and of these, only content is a required attribute. Here are some examples of meta elements:

  • <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html" />
  • <meta name="keywords" content="copywriting, copywriter, content writer" />
  • <meta name="zipcode" content="45212,45208,45218" />
  • <meta name="copyright" content="Michael J. Mason">
  • <meta name="description" content="Professional copywriting service in the Southeastern United States">

Meta elements provide information about a given Web page, most often to help search engines categorize them correctly. They are inserted into the HTML document, but are usually not directly visible to someone visiting the site.

At one time the most commonly used meta tags were keywords, having been popularized by search engines such as Infoseek and AltaVista. However it is interesting to note that with respect to Google, thirty-seven leaders in search engine optimization concluded in April 2007 that the relevance of having your keywords in the meta-attribute keywords is little to none, and indeed as recently as September of 2009 Matt Cutts of Google announced that they are no longer taking keywords into account whatsoever. However Yahoo! still makes use of the keywords meta tag in some of its rankings and claims support for the keywords meta tag in conjunction with other factors for improving search rankings. Although important, meta tags are of little use unless backed up with some good web content, and that is where the importance of a good web content writer comes to the fore. If you are looking for good content on your website, contact me here.

© Michael J Mason 2009

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