Missouri State University

Meta Tags

META tags provide a useful way to control your summary and ranking in the Missouri State search service. Several META tags exist, but the description and keywords tags are most important to this discussion. The description tag returns a description of the page in place of the summary the search service would ordinarily create. The keywords tag provides keywords for the search service to associate with your page.

Adding META tags with FrontPage

To add a META tag to your web page, follow these steps:

  1. In Page view, right-click the page, and then click Page Properties on the shortcut menu.
    The Page Properties window appears.
  2. Click the Custom tab.
  3. Under User variables, click Add.
    The User Meta Variable window appears.
  4. In the Name box, type keywords. In the Value box, type the keywords you with to have associated with your web page. Click Ok.
  5. Repeat steps three and four, but enter description in the Name box. Also enter the description for your web page into the Value box.
  6. Click OK
    FrontPage inserts META tags into the HTML view of your web page. They will look similar to the following:

<META NAME ="keywords" CONTENT="life, universe, mankind, plants, relationships, the meaning of life, science">

<META NAME="description" CONTENT="This page is about the meaning of life, the universe, mankind and plants.">

Tip: Keep your description concise and brief. Many search engines only "read" the first 200 characters. Include the most important facts or keywords at the beginning of the description. Use acronyms and spell them out. In general, you will only use a very large number of keywords on the index page of a large site.

Tip: Keep your keywords below 100 characters, separated by commas or spaces. Keywords should be listed in order of importance. Adding too many can reduce the relevance of a site, so limit the keywords to the top 3 or 5 most important and don't use highly used terms such as computer, Internet, web, website, etc.

Note: You may need at wait a few days after adding the META tags before you see any changes in your listing.

Example of Using META tags

Let's assume you have a web page without tags. The page is titled "My Homepage", with a header that says "Welcome to My Homepage", then a giant graphic image and then a link at the bottom that says "enter". The Missouri State search service would probably return a listing like this:

My Homepage
Welcome to My Homepage

It doesn't really tell you anything at all--let's fix it. Let's say that within "My Homepage"; there is a site full of information about coin collecting. Here visitors can find out about coin prices, coin conventions, coins for sale or trade, the history of coins, etc. After we set the description to "Everything you wanted to know about coins, from prices to history." the following listing will appear from the Missouri State search service:

My Homepage
Everything you wanted to know about coins, from prices to history.

What about the meta keywords tag? It gives your page a chance to display if someone types in any of the key words listed. For example, we could add the keyword "coin collecting" to our document. Without that tag, there would be no chance at all that your page would match since "coin collecting" doesn't appear on the page or in the description tag. Even if your page did include the words "coin collecting," adding the keywords tag would make your page a higher match in list of results.

Hiding your page from the Missouri State Search Service

To prevent the Missouri State search service from finding your web page you may add a noindex META tag.

To add a noindex META tag follow these steps:

  1. In Page view, right-click the page, and then click Page Properties on the shortcut menu
    The page Properties window appears.
  2. Click the Custom tab
  3. Under User variables, click Add
    The User Meta Variable window appears.
  4. In the Name box, type robots. In the Value box, type noindex. Click OK
  5. Click OK
    FrontPage will insert the META tag into the HTML view of your web page. It will look similar to the following:

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