What are Meta tags?
A Meta tag is a tag (coding statement) in the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that describes some aspect of the contents of a Web page and is placed near the top of the HTML in a Web page as part of the heading.
Why Meta tags?
Meta tags are used to give search engines instructions on what a web page is about and how they should treat it. These Meta tags are not displayed to humans surfing a site, but can be used to influence the way a site appears in the search results.
What are the different Meta tags that can be present in a web page?
There are several Meta tags that can be incorporated in a web page of which only two tags are of high relevance for search engine optimization. They are the Meta keywords and Meta description tags. These two tags should be present in every page of the web site.
How to define Meta content for a web page?
Let us now have a close look as to how the Meta tags need to be defined and organized.
Meta Keywords tag
The keywords Meta tag should contain words or phrases that best describe the contents of the page. These words can be separated by commas, spaces or both. This tag is not shown to the people visiting the site, nor do the search engines display it in their results, but many search engines do read the keywords tag and give a slight boost to the page’s ranking for the words that are mentioned in it.
Generally, include words and phrases that are mentioned on your page and avoid using any word more than three times in the keywords tag. All of the words in the keywords tag should be relevant to the document. The order of the keywords and phrases should be in a manner such that the most important and relevant keywords should be positioned first. The importance of Meta keywords in determining top search engine rankings is fast diminishing, however some search engines do use Meta tags to determine search engine rankings. So go ahead and use Meta keywords, they wont harm you. Good companies providing search engine optimization services use Meta keywords intelligently to derive some mileage from this out dated technique.
Meta Description tag
The Meta description tag is used to display a brief one or two sentence description of the page. The content of the Meta description tag is displayed immediately after the title in the search engine results. This tag also aids in people clicking our site if proper and meaningful content is displayed. So necessary care should be taken in phrasing content for the Meta description tag.
Limit the description to a maximum of two to three lines as the search engines do not display the whole of the content but only the first few words. Place the most relevant stuff at the beginning of the sentence as it helps in better search engine ranking. The description should be short and at the same time be informative. Limit the length of the description to approximately 150 to 200 characters.
Present day relevance of Meta tags in Search engine optimization
In the past when the search engine optimization concept was new, almost all the search engines used to give top priority to the Meta tags in ranking a web site. The keywords and description tags used to be a very important part of search engine optimization strategy. Now that the emergence of more sophisticated search engine algorithms, the usage of these Meta tags has been reduced to a minimum. A good Meta tag can give you a small boost in many engines, but you can get top search engine rankings even without one.