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HTML <meta> Tag


Example

Describe metadata within an HTML document:

<head>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials">
<meta name="keywords" content="HTML,CSS,XML,JavaScript">
<meta name="author" content="Hege Refsnes">
</head>

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Definition and Usage

Metadata is data (information) about data.

The <meta> tag provides metadata about the HTML document. Metadata will not be displayed on the page, but will be machine parsable.

Meta elements are typically used to specify page description, keywords, author of the document, last modified, and other metadata.

The metadata can be used by browsers (how to display content or reload page), search engines (keywords), or other web services.


Browser Support

Element
<meta> Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


Tips and Notes

Note: <meta> tags always goes inside the <head> element.

Note: Metadata is always passed as name/value pairs.

Note: The content attribute MUST be defined if the name or the http-equiv attribute is defined. If none of these are defined, the content attribute CANNOT be defined.


Differences Between HTML 4.01 and HTML5

The scheme attribute is not supported in HTML5.

HTML5 has a new attribute, charset, which makes it easier to define charset:

  • HTML 4.01: <meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
  • HTML5: <meta charset="UTF-8">

Differences Between HTML and XHTML

In HTML the <meta> tag has no end tag.

In XHTML the <meta> tag must be properly closed.


Examples

Example 1 - Define keywords for search engines:

<meta name="keywords" content="HTML, CSS, XML, XHTML, JavaScript">

Example 2 - Define a description of your web page:

<meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials on HTML and CSS">

Example 3 - Define the author of a page:

<meta name="author" content="Hege Refsnes">

Example 4 - Refresh document every 30 seconds:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="30">


Attributes

= New in HTML5.

Attribute Value Description
charset character_set Specifies the character encoding for the HTML document
content text Gives the value associated with the http-equiv or name attribute
http-equiv content-type
default-style
refresh
Provides an HTTP header for the information/value of the content attribute
name application-name
author
description
generator
keywords
Specifies a name for the metadata
scheme format/URI Not supported in HTML5.
Specifies a scheme to be used to interpret the value of the content attribute


Global Attributes

The <meta> tag also supports the Global Attributes in HTML.


Related Pages

HTML tutorial: HTML Head

HTML DOM reference: Meta object



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