The University of Arizona

The title tag is an important part of a web document. The title tag is a short description of the page, and the most important words should go first. The title tag area which in the head area of a document will become the bookmark if that page is bookmarked by a user and it displays in the top line of a browser when the page is viewed. Every HTML (web document) should have a title tag and all title tags for pages in your site should be unique. Don't use the same title tag for multiple documents.

Metatags are optional tags placed in the header of an HTML document that help further explain content of your document. The tags should go in the <Head> area of the document, after the <Title> tag. Normally search engines (such as Webinator [used on the AgServer] or Google) look for words in your document and use those words to find files to display in search results. If you use metatags, you provide other terms that can be used in searches. Also metatag words are sometimes considered more important by search engines, so appropriate use of metatags can increase the chances that your document will be at a higher level in search results.

Search engines will often display the description metatag along with the title tag in search results, so it is also important to have a description tag that further explains the content of your document.

A metatag is limited to 1024 characters (some 10 plus lines if you have 80 characters in a line). That is not much of a limitation, but be aware of it.

Use some discretion in assigning keywords. If you are using the keywords metatag, examine your page from the user's perspective. For example, you may consider your office (or yourself) as an expert in money management, but does your web site actually have (sufficient) information on this topic to come up in a search of this term?

Here are some metatags we encourage you to use and why:

<meta name="description" content="text goes here to describe what your document is about">
If you use both a <Title> tag and this description metatag, then a search result pointing to your document will display both the title (not the filename) and your description underneath the title.
<meta name="keywords" content="put keywords or synonyms here, separated with a comma and space">
Keywords should supplement the words used in the title tag and the description metatag. Make sure your site actually has information on that idea before including it as a keyword. Think of words others who are not employees might use to describe a concept. Remember to consider synonyms as they are relevant. For example, citrus is an important idea in your document (or site) and your document actually uses the word citrus. However, you feel it would be relevant to someone searching with the word oranges to find your document, so you would also add this word as a keyword.
<meta name="author" content="Sally Adamson">
Using an author's name would be appropriate only in certain documents. If someone is looking for material done by Adamson and citrus, adding an author metatag helps when the author is not given in the text itself.
A complete example of a sample metatag section is:
<html>
<head>
<title>Upcoming ECAT sponsored seminars</title>
<meta name="description" content="These are free presentations sponsored by ECAT for College faculty, staff, students, and volunteers; communication and technology topics are addressed.">
<meta name="keywords" content="Internet, web sites, press releases, distance learning, CSS">
<meta name="author" content="Linda Ffolliott">
</head>
<body>
body of document goes here
</body>
</html>

The web document coded above would display this way in search results:

Videos to check out
The Title Tag (length: about 2 minutes)
Metatags (length about 10.5 minutes)