Meta tags allow you to provide metadata about your HTML pages. This can be very useful for search engines and can assist the "findability" of the information on your website.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is information about, or that describes, other data or information.
If we relate this to a web page, if you think about it for a moment, you could probably come up with a lot more information about a web page than what you're actually displaying to the reader. For example, there could be a number of keywords that are related to the page. You could probably give the page a description. The page also has an author - right? All these could be examples of metadata.
Metadata on the Web
Metadata is a very important part of the web. It can assist search engines in finding the best match when a user performs a search. Search engines will often look at any metadata attached to a page - especially keywords - and rank it higher than another page with less relevant metadata, or with no metadata at all.
Adding Meta Tags to Your Documents
|Name||Name for the property. Can be anything. Examples include, keywords, description, author, revised, generator etc.|
|content||Specifies the property's value.|
|scheme||Specifies a scheme to use to interpret the property's value (as declared in the content attribute).|
|http-equiv||Used for http response message headers. For example http-equiv can be used to refresh the page or to set a cookie. Values include content-type, expires, refresh and set-cookie.|
Example HTML Code
<meta name="keywords" content="HTML, meta tags, metadata">
<meta name="description" content="Contains info about meta tags">
Revision date (last time the document was updated):
<meta name="revised" content="Quackit, 6/12/2012">
Refresh the page every 10 seconds:
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="10">
The above examples are some of the more common uses for the meta tag.