Using META Tags


NOTE:  The content on this page was originally developed by Doug Schubert, maintainer of the Idaho Boise Mission Alumni Page.

META tags are informational tags added to the header section of your HTML file between the <HEAD> and </HEAD> tags. Information that can be passed by the author of the web pages to browsers, search engines, and even other people.

The three most important META tags that relate to search engines are the ROBOTS, KEYWORDS, and DESCRIPTION tags. These three provide the basis for how your site in "scored" by most search engines.


The ROBOTS tag:

Six variations of this tag are:

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NONE">
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="ALL">
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW">
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="NOINDEX,FOLLOW">
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="INDEX,NOFOLLOW">
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="INDEX,FOLLOW">

The content tag controls what is indexed by the search engine and how far it goes through your site. The INDEX or NOINDEX indicate if you want the page that is being looked at added to the database for future searches. INDEX means yes and NOINDEX means no. The FOLLOW and NOFOLLOW tag indicate if you want the search engine to follow the links in your page or not. Once again FOLLOW mean follow every link on the page and NOFOLLOW means exactly that. A note about FOLLOW is that it will follow every link on the page, even hidden ones. The NONE is the same as NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW while the ALL tag means INDEX, FOLLOW.

The best tag I believe for mission alumni page use is:

<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="INDEX,NOFOLLOW">

It indexes the page and skips all of the links on the page.


The KEYWORDS tag:

Proper format is:

<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="keyword one, keyword two, keyword three, ...">

The key for using keywords is the order. Using keywords like LDS and mormon are too common for mission alumni pages. The best word choice is: country or state, city, mission, country or state city mission, and any others you want to add.

An example would be:

<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Utah, Provo, Mission, Utah Provo Mission, alumni, missionary">

Avoid placing a direction like north or west in the keywords as that are too common in street address found on other web pages. Order of the words is important. Switching two words may raise or lower the "score" by has many as twenty hits.


The DESCRIPTION tag:

Proper format is:

<META NAME="description" CONTENT="A sentence describing my web site">

The sentence entered here will be the sentence shown to the person who finds your page. Without this tag the search engeine will grab the first 100 or so characters, whatever they are, and display those.


Final Notes:

Final example using all three tags:

<HTML>
<HEAD>
<TITLE>Disney World Mission Alumni</TITLE>
<META NAME="ROBOTS" CONTENT="INDEX,NOFOLLOW">
<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="Disney,World, Mission, Disney World Mission, alumni, missionary">
<META NAME="description" CONTENT="A site for the missionary alumni of the Disney World Mission.">
</HEAD>
<BODY>

We are the Disney World Mission Alumni.

Goofy, Mickey, and Donald Duck.

</BODY>
</HTML>

A person entering "Disney World Mission" as the words to search for would find something like this faked Altavista output:

           Disney World Mission Alumni
           [ URL: mission.net/disney/world/ ]
           A site for the missionary alumni of the Disney World Mission.
           Last modified 29-Feb-96 - page size 4K

Online META tag resources:

HTML META tags
Search Promotion at stars.com



Last Updated: Thu Sep 5 11:40:33 2002
Visited at least 1 times since Sat Jul 29 20:37:03 2000.