Meta Tags - HTML Meta Tags

As you learn how to code a web page and the ins and outs of search engine optimization you will see references to something called meta tags.

What are HTML Meta Tags?

HTML meta tags are coding inserted in the head section of the web page that is not seen by the page visitor but communicates information to the browser and some search engines. You can use the HTML meta tags to specify information about the web document.

Note:  The coding examples below are for HTML 4.01. If you are coding using XHTML, you will have to adjust the coding as required.

Meta Element

The meta element has two parts, a property and a value assigned to that property.

<meta name="propertyname" content="propertyvalue">

name identifies the property with a property name
content sets the property's value


http-equiv is used instead of name to communicate information to the http server for the http response message headers.

Specifying Default Document Information

The meta tag can be used to set default information for the web document.

Character Encoding

To set the character encoding for the document the meta tag would be written as follows:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">

To learn more about character encoding read Character Encoding.

Script Language

The script language for the web document can also be specified using a meta tag:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Script-Type" content="type">

where type is one of the following:


The stylesheet for the web document can be specified as follows:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Style-Type" content="text/css">

Search Engine Optimization Meta Tags

Some search engines use the information contained in the keywords meta tag and the description meta tag when indexing your web page.

<meta name="Description" content="Your description">
<meta name="Keywords" content="Your set of keywords for the page">

Basic Meta Tags

There some basic meta tags to include in your web page also:

To learn more about meta tags, see our Basic Meta Tags article.

If you found this web page a useful resource for your own website please link as follows:

HTML Basic Tutor -

Meta Tags, what meta tags are and how they are constructed.