What are <head> meta tags and what are they for?


Viewed 4,157 times


What are the meta tags contained in <head>? What they are and what they serve and what are the pros and cons of using them?


<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="description" content="descrição com palavras chaves">
<meta name="keywords" content="palavras chaves">
<meta name="author" content="nome do autor">
<meta name="copyright" content="nome do criador" />
  • 5

    Instead of voting to close this issue it would be more profitable to change it to something like: What are meta tags and what are they for

2 answers


Meta tags are very important for two things:

  • SEO, ie: Search engines;
  • The way your browser will interpret it.

When we talk about SEO, its use is of paramount importance so that your website can be indexed correctly.

Meta Tag is a command implemented in the code of web pages, within the Head area of the site (between the tags and ) to pass instructions to external programmes or simpler actions, such as example informing which person is responsible for the development of the page. Some Meta Tags are used to pass to search like Bing and Google instructions on the page title and a brief description to be displayed in search results, which pages should or should not be indexed, among other instructions.

Importance of Meta Tags for SEO

Meta Tags are an important communication tool between the webmaster and search sites, as we will see in the examples below. For many people though, SEO is just that, Meta Tags. That’s far from being true. Google uses nearly 250 variables to determine search results, and meta tags are just a few theirs.

There are several meta tags, the most important ones are:


The field title is not a meta tag, but is the most important command on a web page for SEO.

Example of a Title:<title>Project management software, online collaboration: Basecamp</title>

Meta Description (meta name="Description")

It is the meta Description that usually defines the description displayed in Google results. Describe the content of the page in a way that stimulates people’s interest in knowing more about the content of the page, to increase the visitation of your site.

Example of a Meta Description: <meta name="description" content="Veja no Terra as últimas notícias e as melhores coberturas ao vivo do Brasil e do Mundo, Esportes, Diversão, Vida e Estilo, assista os melhores vídeos no TerraTV e ouça as melhores músicas no Sonora." />

Meta Keywords (meta name="Keywords")

Many years ago, search engine algorithms had some difficulty interpreting the relevance of websites to certain keywords and used the content of meta keyword to help them interpret the content of the pages. Soon the webmasters realized that it was enough to include a multitude of words in this tag to appear in the searches, even for words unrelated to the content of the page.

The user experience was compromised by being directed to a page that ultimately did not have the content searched. Search sites have evolved and today disregard meta keyword. Since the meta keyword is not displayed to the user at any time, either in the search results or in the content of the site, there is in fact no logical reason for Google to consider it as a relevant factor.

On the other hand, we use Keywords to search the keywords of unsuspecting competitors. Enter the sites of your main competitors and see through the meta Keywords which keywords they tried to optimize their sites.

Example of a meta keyword: <meta name="keywords" content="climática, previsão climática, desenvolvimento, tempo, clima,"/>

Meta Robots (meta name="robots")

This meta tag was created to give guidance to search engine robots. Each page must have its own meta robots. See some of the parameters that can be passed:

  • _index_: index this page - display it in your search results;
  • _noindex_: do not index this page - do not display it in search results. Useful for pages like login and intranet access;
  • _follow_: follow the links on this page to discover new pages (see Googlebot, robots);
  • _nofollow_: none of the links on this page should be followed;
  • _nosnippet_: guides the search site not to display the page description in the search results;
  • _noodp_: guides Google not to use the description of the DMOZ directory in its results (snippet);
  • _noarchive_: instructs Google not to display the cached version of the page;
  • _noimageindex_: index no page image.

Examples of Meta Robots:

  • <meta name="robots" content="index, follow"> - most common meta robot syntax - guides searchers to index page content and follow all links to discover new pages

  • <meta name="robots" content="noindex, nofollow"> - guides searchers not to index the content of the page and prevents it from following links to discover new pages

Note: the command to guide Google not to index a page can also be given in the robots.txt file.

Source: http://www.seomarketing.com.br/meta-tags-google.php

There are meta tags that are very important to inform your browser how to render your browser

  • meta name="viewport" is very important for your site to run on different scales and devices;

  • meta charset is the encoding that the browser should use to render the site;

  • meta http-equiv="content-language" indicates the language of the site.

Meta information can also be used by plugins, software and social networks...

  • A good answer, but not only for SEO, they have a foundation and SEO is just part of it, it would be something like: The use of them is to pass information to software (being a browser or a plugin, an example would be mobiles) or bots (which are not necessarily just searchers, an example would be social networks).

  • @Guilhermenascimento I sent before finishing the reply. I edited it.

  • It was good, despite missing something about social networks and seems to be very focused on SEO, is already a good answer :) +1

  • It’s expensive, it’s an extremely vast subject. I focused on saying the main thing.

  • 1

    Hi Edgar. I have nothing against using content from external sources (by the way, you did well in providing the content and, mainly, in quoting the source!). However, it is nice to always review the text so that it makes sense here. For example, the phrase "We have a page in this tutorial dedicated to Title, see it." does not make much sense in an answer in the SOPT, so I believe it could (or, should) be eliminated. Another thing, the examples are not appearing, try to use the marcador de código for them to be displayed. :)

  • 1

    @Luizvieira was bad guy. I reviewed the text and ended up unnoticed past.

  • @Edgarmunizberlinck No problem. :)

  • Thanks guys, what matters is to share information ;)

Show 3 more comments


Meta tags are information about the page used mainly by search engines and browsers.

<meta charset="UTF-8"> informs the browser which character encoding should be used.

Tags with the attribute name with values: description, keywords, author, copyright, etc provide information to searchers.

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0"> tells the browser how the display area should behave.

<meta name="robots" content="noarchive"> tells searchers how the page should be indexed.

<meta http-equiv="content-language" content="pt-br"> informs content language for browser and search engines.

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content=" 5 ;url=http://www.exemplo.com/"> used to create redirects.

The article Meta Tags - What they are and how to use them has a detailed description of the tags <meta>.

There are still others, such as the Opengraph, that are used by Facebook.

Browser other questions tagged

You are not signed in. Login or sign up in order to post.