Meta Tags, Introduction
- Beware defaults; visitors with their browser settings set up in nonstandard ways will rarely see your website as it's intended to be seen
- In general, it's good practice to keep everything in lower case
- Using quotations within quotations is a common source of error, beware of quotes in your meta information
- Punctuation in general can wreak havoc on validators and robots, try and avoid it within meta tags.
Generally, the following format should be sufficient for most sites:
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
<meta name="author" content="Author of this site's content">
<meta name="classification" content="Descriptive category for indexing">
<meta name="copyright" content="Usually author or company name">
<meta name="description" content="Keep to about 12 words, be descriptive and concise">
<meta name="keywords" content="A series of keywords, separated by a comma and space, that describe your site. These are things users might type into a search engine if they were looking for your services. Don't go overboard, keep them focused. Some robots will only read the first dozen or so, keep the important ones at the beginning">
<meta name="distribution" content="Global">
<meta name="language" content="Language code. In Canada, this is en-ca">
<meta name="reply-to" content="Put your inquiries email address here">
<meta name="revisit-after" content="30">
<meta name="robots" content="index,follow">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=iso-8859-1">
<meta name="rating" content="GENERAL">
<meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="TRUE">
The latter tags ensure that robots will visit often, and index your entire site. The very last tag prevents your page from being improperly indexed by Microsoft's controversial "Smart Tags" program.
Next week, we'll examine further ways to insure robots index your site properly.