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Are you confused about web page design and don't know where to start? Feel free to learn HTML and how to design your very own web site by using our FREE Online HTML Tutorial.

HTML Tutorial Part 12:
Using Meta Tags on your Web Page


Improving Search Engine Results...

When a search engine finds your page, it will need to index it (that is, add it to its searchable database) with some information off the page. Many search engines now support the <META> tags, which allow you to give keywords and a description to your page. This gives you more control over how your page will show up during a search, and will often cause more traffic to your page.

The <META> tag can be used for a few different purposes. Usually, you should place the <META> tag within the <head> tags at the beginning of your document. To improve search engine results, we will use two specific attributes within the meta tag. Here is an example:

<meta name="description" content="description of page goes here">
<meta name="keywords" content="keywords go here">

When a user searches a search engine that supports meta tags and they query a phrase (search for a keyword) related to your page, your page may show up in the list of results. Your page will be listed by its Title, and then underneath its title will be the first hundred or so characters of the description you placed in the meta tag. It is recommended that you keep the description content to no more than 200 characters. Although the keywords content is not seen by the user when searched, it is recommended to keep this less than 1000 characters, because if you have more the search engine will either ignore the rest or delete you from the index. (Spaces are not needed to separate keywords)

Example of a real-life meta situation...

<html>

<head>
<title>Little Joe's Sound Page</title>
<meta name="description" content="Joe's Collection of Cool Sound files for you to use in your home page!">
<meta name="keywords" content="music sounds midi wav joe collection">
</head>

<body>
Page Goes Here
</body>

</html>



Meta tags are not visible in the web page unless the user selects to 'view source'.

Auto-refreshing...

Automatic Refreshing is supported by many newer versions of Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. This also uses a modified form of the <META> tag. Auto refreshing means that once one page loads, you can set a certain number of seconds and then the browser will load another page automatically. The basic structure is as follows:

<meta http-equiv=REFRESH CONTENT=x_seconds;url="http://www.hooverwebdesign.com/pagetosendto.html">

The URL is the page you want it to refresh to, CONTENT is the number of seconds you want it to wait before refreshing, and http-equiv=REFRESH just tells it that this is the refresh meta tag. For example, if you wanted the page to refresh to sybase.co.za after 5 seconds it would be as follows:

<meta http-equiv=REFRESH CONTENT=5;URL="http://www.hooverwebdesign.com/">





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