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Meta Content Tag Explained

by Jerry West
Updated May 6, 2011

When it comes to Meta Tags, there are many opinions floating around the web. If you are looking at gaining a distinct advantage with Meta Tags, I have news for you. It isn’t 1999 anymore.

Which Meta Tags are worth injecting in your site for the benefit of search engine optimization?

Note: If you are looking for a comprehensive list of Meta Tags and how to use them in your pages properly, please see our comprehensive article: Meta Tags Explained.

There are four types of Meta Content:

Meta Content Language: May be used to declare the natural language of the document. May also be used by robots to categorize by language.

Example: <META HTTP-EQUIV=”Content-Language” CONTENT=”en-GB”>

Recommendation: Use this tag only if your webpage is written in non-US English. While we have not tested this to ensure it works, we have had reports from our members that it does indeed help with respect to being cataloged properly by search engines.

Meta Content Script Type: Specifies the default scripting language of the document.

Example: <META HTTP-EQUIV=”Content-Script-Type” CONTENT=”text/javascript”>

Recommendation: Do not use. Search engines do not need this tag to detect scripts; they can do so on their own. Browsers do not use this tag either as they have other detection methods in place.

Meta Content Style Type: Specifies the default style sheet (Cascading Style Sheet, or CSS) language for a document.

Example: <META HTTP-EQUIV=”Content-Style-Type” CONTENT=”text/css”>

Recommendation: Do not use. Search engines do not need to know the style sheet. Web browsers also do not look to the meta tags for the style sheet information.

Meta Content Type: It is now recommended to always use this tag even if you use a DTD declaration above the Header. Failure to do so may cause display problems when, for instance, the document uses UTF-8 punctuation characters, but is displayed in ISO or ASCII charsets. There are other benefits, but you will need to be a subscriber to our SEO Revolution Newsletter (paid membership) to get the full scoop of what this tag can do for your site.

Example: <meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>

Recommendation: Use this tag along with the DTD declaration format from the World Wide Web Consortium.

Fun Facts: This META tag was an absolute must back when Netscape Navigator was a browser that people actually used. If this tag wasn’t used, the page would often “blow up” and look distorted. This tag forced Netscape to load the appropriate character set before displaying the page, thus displaying the page correctly.

Back to Meta Tags Explained & Uncovered.

Meta content tag – information for webmasters & search engine optimizers.

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Jerry West is the Director of Internet Marketing for Web Marketing Now. He has been consulting on the web since 1996 and has assisted hundreds of companies gain an upper-hand over their competition. Visit Web Marketing Now for the latest in marketing tips that are tested and proven.

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