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Faculty and Staff

Web Design Guidelines: Using Meta Tags

Meta tags are HTML tags. They can be used to indentify Web page authors, HTML specifications on your Web page, the keywords and descriptions of your Web page, and the refresh parameter (which can be used to cause the page to reload itself, or to load another page).

There are two types of Meta tags: HTTP-Equiv and Meta tags with a name attribute.

HTTP-Equiv

Meta HTTP-Equiv tags are the equivalent of HTTP headers and are usually used to control or direct the actions of Web browsers.

Meta tags with a name attribute

Meta tags with a name attribute are used for Meta types which do not correspond to normal HTTP headers. They provide a useful way to control your summary in some search engines. There are several meta tags, but the most important for search engine indexing are the description and keywords tags. The description tag returns a description of the page in place of the summary the search engine would ordinarily create. The keywords tag provides keywords for the search engine to associate with your page.

Example:

<meta name="description" content="description goes here"/>
<meta name="keywords" content="keyword1, keyword2, keyword3, keyword4"/>

Sample Meta Tags Used on the URI Home Page

<html>
<head>

<meta name="description" content="The University of Rhode Island, a principal public research and graduate institution in the State of Rhode Island, provides undergraduate and graduate education and public service to the state and the nation." />

<meta name="keywords" content="state university, public university, Kingston, University of Rhode Island, land-grant, sea-grant, urban-grant research, Rhode Island, Kingston campus, Rams, Rhody" />

<title>The University of Rhode Island</title>
</head>
<body>

...
</body>
</html>

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