What are Meta Tags?

What are Meta-Tags and why are they important?

Meta-tags are snippets of text that describe a webpage's content but are not displayed on the page itself. Instead, they are embedded within the page's HTML code. While not directly visible to users, they play a significant role in how search engines index your webpages and how your content appears in search engine results, among other things. Meta-tags can include information such as the author of the webpage, how frequently the webpage should be updated, what the webpage is about, and which keywords represent the webpage's content.

About MetaTags

The <meta> tag defines metadata about a HTML document. Metadata is data (information) about other data (in case of HTML information about the HTML-document).

<meta>-tags are always placed in the <head>-section of a HTML document and are used to specify metadata about a page, such as the charset (most likely UTF-8), a page description or the pages author.

Metadata can also be used to verify page-ownership (prominently used by Google as google-site-verification)), or to en- or disable certain functions of a browser.

Metadata is not displayed on the page itself, and is therefore not intended for the end-user, but is machine parsable.

That means that

  • search engines, such as Google, use Metadata to gather additional information about a page,
  • browsers use Metadata to know how to display content (or even reload the page / follow a redirection) and
  • other web services use Metadata for a variety of purposes.

Examples for MetaTags

<meta>-tags may look something like this in your <head> section:

<meta charset="UTF-8" />
<meta http-equiv="language" content="en" />
<meta name="description" content="JokeNetworks FAQ" />
<meta name="keywords" content="Documentation, FAQ, MetaTags, HTML, WHATWG" />
<meta name="author" content="JokeNetwork" />
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
<meta name="robots" content="noindex,nofollow" />
<meta name="revisit" content="10 days" />
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="10" />
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;url=https://faq.frontendnet.work" />

Using MetaTags for SEO

Some <meta>-tags are relevant for search engine optimazation.

A full overview over MetaTags which are understood by Google and other search engines is listed on a Google Search Central Page (opens in a new tab).

⚠️ Please note: While name="keywords" is marked as Deprecated and is therefore not relevant anymore, name="description" is not fully ignored by search enginges, but Google encourages you to put more effort into your pages content instead of describing it through the description-extension.


Read more about MetaTags at W3Schools (opens in a new tab) or at Google Search Central (opens in a new tab).

About MetaExtensions

Meta Extensions are extension values for the name="" attribute of the HTML <meta> element and are the main subject of the Docs at faq.jokenetwork.de.

The name=""attributes for the <meta>-tags should be well documented to be understood by everyone and listed as "Proposal" in the WHATWG Wiki (opens in a new tab).

Also, if they should not be marked as an error in the W3 Validator (opens in a new tab), they have to be added from the WHATWG Wiki to the Validator.

Learn more about adding a MetaExtension to the WHATWG Wiki and to the W3 Validator here: Contribute.


Read more about MetaExtensions at the WHATWG Wiki (opens in a new tab).