Meta Tags - An Important Part of Every Web Page
Meta tags are an absolute must from a search engine optimisation perspective, there are many mistakes that can be made by not including these or even trying to 'spam' the SE's using them so heres a quick summary of the three main ones:
Meta Page Title Tag
The title tag is supported by all search engines and should be considered as the most important element in your optimisation process. Why is this you may ask? Well the page title is the first thing search engine spiders and human visitors will see. Your title appears at the top of the page in the browser and the title also becomes the clickable link in the search engine listings and should therefore be concise, accurate and include your keywords.
Meta Description Tag
The meta description tag is supported by most of the search engines, it is not as important as the Title Tag because the web page viewer will not see it but the description is sometimes used in the search listings under the title tag and as such should be an accurate and keyword driven description of what the page value is. Google usually uses an abstract of the page content and will use the description tag only if it cannot find enough on page content to form a page description.
Meta Keywords Tag
Due to massive abuse this tag is very rarely useful but in my opinion should still be used. Include your main keywords in here but do not go crazy, 4 or 5 is more than enough usually. It is far better to include your keywords in the on page copy and will hold better weight with the SE's as such. Please remember however that it still has to read well to the human eye.
The Meta Tags should be placed between the HEAD> and /HEAD> tags of your web page and should follow the following format:
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