HTML meta tags don’t change the way a web page looks, but give additional information (metadata) about the page and the website as a whole. They show what the page is about, who is the author of the page, what is the page title, what type of content is on that page, which protocol the browser should use to retrieve the page content and more. The HTML tags are important for search engines because they point out what the page is about and which keywords are relevant for the website. The meta XHTML or HTML tags must be placed in the header section of the web page. The length of the meta tag descriptions and titles is also important, they shouldn’t be too long (the recommendation is for no more than 66 characters in the title and less than 156 in the description of the page). The HTML meta tag or element has various attributes. Some of them are mandatory, some of them aren’t, but are still important for your site and some of the HTML meta tag attributes are suitable only in certain cases.
HTML Tag Attributes
The “description” tag attribute is especially important because it provides something like a summary for the web page. The meta description is also often used by search engines as a snippet in the search results. The “title” tag is not strictly a meta tag, but it should be included in the page because it defines the title of your web page, which is displayed in browsers’ tabs and in search results as well. The “keywords” tag attribute, which contains the targeted keywords for the page, is gradually losing its importance for search engines, especially for Google. You’d better pay more attention to the meta description. The “http-equiv” meta tag specifies the type of content on the page and the used character set. It’s mandatory. Useful (but not obligatory) meta tag attribute is “robots”, which is recognized by search engines. It can be used to prevent the search engines from indexing the page, crawling the links in it or using snippets in search results, etc. However, a more reliable and widely used method for preventing a page to be indexed is the robots.txt file.