Which meta-elements (meta-tags) are there?

Meta-elements, often-times wrongfully called meta tags, are pieces of information on an HTML page (web document), which are only interpreted by web-browsers and search-engines.

The attributes of a meta-element that are most relevant for the OnPage optimisation of a website are:

  • description
  • robots
  • title
    • (The title element is not really a meta-element attribute, but is also exclusively interpreted by web-browsers and search-engines, and is often placed in front of other meta-elements within the HTML source code)

Other meta-element attributes are:

  • http-equiv
  • keyword
  • author
  • copyright
  • publisher
  • property
  • generator
  • page-topic
  • page-type
  • language
  • distribution
  • audience
  • allow-search
  • domain
  • doc-class
  • reply-to
  • revisit
  • date
  • abstract
  • expires
  • googlebot

The meta-element attribute “keywords” is no longer taken into consideration by Google and other search engines and is therefore not relevant for a good ranking.

Google doesn’t use the keywords meta tag in web search

– Matt Cutts

Available meta-element attributes, including their possible values

You will find a neat table of meta-element attributes, including their content (content=”value”), as part of Google’s Search Console Help.

Video explanation by Matt Cutts / Google on the subject