A <meta> tag is a special HTML tag that is used to store information about a web page, known as metadata, that is not displayed in the web browser. Some <meta> tags include technical instructions for the web browser about how to display the web page, while others contain information about the page and its author. The content of <meta> tags is also used when a search engine indexes a web page.
The <meta> tags are found between the <head> tags at the beginning of an HTML file, with the page title and linked resources. Each <meta> tag first specifies a type of information, then includes the content. One example is below.
<meta name="description" content="The Tech Terms Computer Dictionary">
A <meta> tag's name specifies the type of metadata in the tag, followed by the content. In this example, the tag's name specifies that it is the page description, and the content includes the description that search engines will use. A web page will have several <meta> tags, but no more than one for each type of content. A few more common types of metadata are listed below.
- Keyword contains a list of keywords for the web page. After years of abuse in the SEO field, search engines no longer use keywords when prioritizing search results.
- Author can list the author of the web page's contents for posterity.
- Viewport gives the web browser instructions on how to scale the web page for different screen sizes.
- Robots contains instructions for how search engines should index the web page.