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Meta tags are way of adding additional information to web pages which the user doesn't normally see.

Where do meta tags live?

Meta tags live in the head section of a web page. They are found between the closing "title" tag and the closing "head" tag. This is the same area where internal style sheets and links to style sheets are located.

What do meta tags look like?

Meta tags start with the tag name as usual followed by the attributes "name" or "http-equiv" and "content." Keywords and description are the meta tags that the search engines look for among other information. They look like this:

<meta name="keywords" content="keywords, and phrases, separated by commas" />

<meta name="description" content="A descriptive sentence or two to describe the nature of the web page. Can appear in search site returns." />

Keywords and descriptions may mirror the content of the page or not. Your coin collecting site may have a page devoted to paper money; coins would still be a part of your keyword group. Keyword and description meta tags should be at least on the opening of portal page to the site to bring in the visitors.

It may be tempting to copy keywords and descriptions from that web site in your field that is always listed at the top. Be aware that this content, like all others, is copyrighted. There have been some lawsuits with settlements in the millions of dollars.

The author's name may be included as well:
<meta name="author" content="Name of the author goes here" />

There are many more meta tags available. Please us the links below for more tag descriptions and tutorials. Chapter 22 of the HTML 4 for the WWW also has some ideas about drawing visitors to your site.

Some Resources

Search Engine Watch - How to use HTML Meta Tags
Pragmatic discussion with plenty of inter site links to pages on search engine ranking.

WebDeveloper.com - Back to Basics: META Tags
Just like the title says, good basic information.

A Slacker's Guide to HTML: Meta Tag Tutorial
Comprehensive despite the title.

CNET Builder.com - Web Authoring - 10 Questions About Meta Data - (9/7/99)
Some questions you might have.
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