HTML and CSS Reference
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and over again. The programs behind search engines become more sophisticated all the
time, and you can actually be prevented from being listed if it is perceived that you are
not being honest or are trying to cheat the system.
What is special about your Web site that would make someone want to visit? With this
in mind, write a few sentences about your Web site or business. This description should
be inviting and interesting so that a person searching the Web will choose your site
from the list provided by a search engine or search directory. Some search engines will
display your description in their search engine results.
At this point you have created a description of your site and a list of appropriate key-
words. You might be wondering how these apply to the actual Web pages. The key-
words and description are placed on a Web page by adding XHTML meta tags to the
page header area.
Meta Tags
Meta tags are self-contained tags that are placed in the header section of a Web page.
They should follow the <title> tag. You've been using a meta tag to indicate character
encoding. There are a number of other uses for meta tags. We concentrate here on their
use to provide a description of the site and list of keywords for use by search engines.
The syntax of meta tags is as follows:
<meta name="value" content="value" />
What if I do not want a search engine to index a page?
Sometimes there will be pages that you do not want indexed, perhaps test pages or pages
only meant for a small group of individuals (such as family or coworkers). Meta tags can be
used for this purpose also. To indicate to a search engine robot that a page should not be
indexed and the links should not be followed, do not place keywords and description meta
tags in the page. Instead, add a "robots" meta tag to the page as follows:
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />
The name attribute indicates the use of the meta tag. The content attribute indicates
values needed for that specific use. The keywords value for the name attribute indicates
that the use of the meta tag is to list keywords. The description value for the name
attribute indicates that the use of the meta tag is to provide a description. For example,
the keywords and description meta tags for a Web site about a Web development con-
sulting firm called Acme Design could be configured as follows:
<meta name="keywords" content="Acme Design web development e-commerce
ecommerce consulting consultation maintenance redesign Akme" />
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