Before adding meta tags to your website, it is impotant to understand what they are and what they can do for your website.

Meta tags are used to provide additional information about your web page to search engines. Meta tags are placed at the top of your page in the HTML coding, in the <head> of your website.  The <head> tag can be found at the top of all your web pages and the content within the header tag is not seen by your website visitor.  Your visitors will not see your meta tags on your website, they are only used by search engines when your website is crawled. While meta tags have many different purposes and functions, in this section we will cover two of the most common meta tags: meta descriptions and meta keywords.

What does a Meta Tag do?

If your website does not have a meta description, when your website displays in a search engine the description will generally show the first few sentences on the front page of your website.  Sometimes this is not the most accurate description of your website, which is why it is best to set your own description that all search engines will use.   It is recommended that your description be 20 to 40 words and is a concise summary of what your website offers.  For example, the meta description for CNN.com is "CNN.com delivers the latest breaking news and information on the latest top stories, weather, business, entertainment, politics, and more. For in-depth coverage, CNN.com provides special reports, video, audio, photo galleries, and interactive guides."

Meta keywords are not used as much as they were the past, however some search engines do still look for keywords when your website is crawled.  Keywords are just words or short phrases that describe your website.  For example, the keywords for CNN.com are: "CNN, CNN news, CNN.com, CNN TV, news, news online, breaking news, U.S. news, world news, weather, business, CNN Money, sports, politics, law, technology, entertainment, education, travel, health, special reports, autos, developing story, news video, CNN Intl"

It is important to do everything you can to help your website's results in search engines, and adding meta tags is an easy way to help your website's listing and appearance in search engine results.  In the next few sections we will go over how to add the meta tags to your website.

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