Identifying an HTML document: Meta Tags

Search engines / search sites gather information on Web pages in order to respond to requests from users of the search engines. There are two logical steps: finding the Web site and indexing and/or cataloging it. Some of this work is done automatically using what are called spiders or robots, some by humans and some search engines use a combination. Some search engines have procedures for Web site owners to register their sites, including categorizing the site and furnishing all relevant keywords.

One step done before registration is to include tags in the head section of the HTML document containing a description and a list of keywords. Here is a partially completed example:

<html>

<head>

<title>Sir Gawain: Lines xxxx to xxxx</title>

<META name="description" content= "Passage Analysis of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight done as part of classwork for Beowulf to Lear: Text, Image and Hypertext Course, Pace University, Fall 1998">

<META name="keywords" content="Sir Gawain, Gawain, Arthurian legends,">

</head>

<body>

...

</body>

</html>

The description META tag contains (as the content attribute) a text description. One source states that the length should be 20 to 200 words. My observation is that the length of descriptions falls into the 20 to 60 word range. The keywords META tag contains (as the content attribute) a list, separated by commas, of keywords or keyword phrases.

Check out the page source (or frame source) of documents and examine the META tags. You will notice that there are others besides the two mentioned here.

NOTE: Student work from past INT296 classes has been cited by search engines without META tags and without action on our part to register the sites.

Create these two META tags for your projects.