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Guide to Metadata

Examples of Metatags

How to

Intro to the use of metatagsHow-to

Some Do's and Don't's of metatagsDo's and Don't's

Examples of metatagsExamples

The Dublin Core metadataDublin Core


A brief, plain language description of the document, which is used by many search engines to summarize a document in the returned search results.

<META NAME="description" CONTENT="A quick guide to metadata for web designers.">


Used by search engines to index a document in addition to words from the title and document body.

<META NAME="keywords" CONTENT="metadata, metatags, Dublin Core, guidelines, web resources, web pages">


First and last name or email address of the author of a document.

<META NAME="author" CONTENT="mailto:iris@jarmin.com">


The name and version number of a publishing tool used to create a page. It is usually added automatically by WYSIWYG Editors and could be used to assess market penetration.


META tags with an HTTP-EQUIV attribute are equivalent to HTTP headers and control the action of browsers. It specifies a method for extra HTTP headers to be processed in the document.

This HTTP-EQUIV attribute is often referred to as client pull mechanism. The date and time after which the document should be considered expired. An illegal Expires date like "0" is interpreted as "immediately" and is used to force check for modification at each visit. Robots delete expired documents from a search engine or schedule a revisit.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="expires" CONTENT="Tue, 29 Feb 2000 08:30:00 GMT">

Used to specify the format of the document and the appropriate character set.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" CONTENT="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">

States the natural language of the document and is used by robots to categorize the document by language. The subcategory or dialect (in this case GB or UK) is optional.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Language" CONTENT="en-GB">

Automatically reloads the document after a certain amount of time, which is given in seconds. An alternative URL to load can also be specified.

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Refresh" CONTENT="3; URL=http://www.jarmin.com/nextpage.html">

Copyright statement for a document.

<META name="Copyright" content="Copyright Statement / URL of page with information">


Controls the behaviour of Web robots. For example, these instructions allow robots to traverse this page but not index it:

<META NAME="robots" CONTENT="noindex,follow">

Other options:


The Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS),developed by the W3C, is a content rating scheme, which is mostly used to rate a document in terms of adult content (sex, violence, etc.). PICS labels are explained at the W3C site and the Vancouver Webpages.

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20 February 2003
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