Creating and maintaining your web pages requires regular attention. You also want to think about getting people to your site.
One way to attract visits to your site is to make it easily accessible from search engines. META tags describe your page and its characteristics to search engines and other web, which index your page. Search engines like Infoseek, Lycos, Yahoo!, Google and others send commands called robots throughout the Internet to locate and identify new and updated pages. These robots index your pages' code, links, and particularly information in META tags.
META tags can contain information for robots and other web utilities to use, such as information regarding the page description, author, authoring software, and keywords that a user would typically use to get to your page. In addition, the University of Delaware's new search engine uses META tags in its searching and they affect the way your web page appears in the search-results listing.
If you view the source of the UD home page, you'll see that we use these basic META tags in the HEAD section of the page:
<META HTTP-EQUIV="department" content="IT-MIS">
<META name="keywords" content="University of Delaware, University of Delaware, University of Delaware, UD, University, Delaware, Blue Hens, College, Newark, Lewes, Wilmington, Georgetown">
<META name="description" content="The University of Delaware, founded in 1743, offers over 100 academic majors; its distinguished faculty includes internationally known scientists, authors and teachers.">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="author" content="IT-MIS">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="reply-to" content="firstname.lastname@example.org">
<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
You'll want to put your departmental information in the CONTENT values except for the Content-Type tag. As the first line of the page, you'll want to put:
<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
Through the use of META tags, you can increase the chances of having your site show up in a web search, and you can customize what the user sees when your page is displayed in the search results. For additional information regarding META tags, visit the META Tag page in the IdeaCenter, which contains basic information to get you and also provides links to web developer sites for additional detailed information on META tags.