Search engines are assisted by the relevant information derived from meta elements in the categorization of respective web pages, although meta elements are embedded into an HTML document they can also be visible to visitors of a site, and they are also XHTML elements laid in as tags in the head section.
Page description, keywords and other metadata specifications are yielded through the use of meta elements, and has four attributes which are http-equiv, content, name and scheme. In the following example , the implication is that the relevant page must be served with an HTTP header called ‘Content-Type’ with the value ‘text/html’ in turn a client is made aware of the type of content to ‘render’.
In another example, , it implies that it incorporates keywords applicable to the document BBC and news, and you can make use of meta tags to show geographical or postal codes (zip codes).
Due to the ever growing sophistication of search engine robots, meta elements have experienced a definite reduction in their impact on search engines results pages over the years, as unorthodox SEO measures such as keyword stuffing and spamdexing undermined the integrity of search engine systems.
Today search engine robots are capable of ascertaining the volume of incoming links from related websites, quantity and quality of content, source code precision, spelling, functional and broken hyperlinks, volume and consistency of searches and/or viewer traffic, time within website. Including page views and revisits, check-throughs, technical user features, uniqueness, redundancy, relevance, language, geography, freshness, advertising and revenue yield among other pertinent characteristics.
The majority of major search engines such as Yahoo and Bing support the description attribute as it offers a brief explanation of content displayed on a web page, and there has been talk of search engines being sensitive to keywords located in the description attribute when ranking pages.
On the other hand, the language attribute determines the language used by a particular website rather than the coding language, while the robots attribute is the administrator behind the passes or restrictions of engine spiders to index a page or not, with an additional option of following links from a page or not.
The non-index value prohibits indexing of a given page and no follow links from being crawled, while additional values such as the NOARCHIVE and NOSNIPPET are also relevant to the robots meta attribute – they function to instruct search engines on actions to take as regards the content of web pages.