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Describe metadata within an HTML document:
<meta name="description" content="Free Web tutorials" />
<meta name="keywords" content="HTML,CSS,XML,JavaScript" />
<meta name="author" content="Hege Refsnes" />
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;charset=ISO-8859-1" />

Definition and Usage

Metadata is 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 <meta> tag always goes inside the head element.

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

Browser Support

Internet Explorer Firefox Opera Google Chrome Safari

The <meta> tag is supported in all major browsers.

Differences Between HTML and XHTML

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

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

Tips and Notes

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

Required Attributes

DTD indicates in which HTML 4.01/XHTML 1.0 DTD the attribute is allowed. S=Strict, T=Transitional, and F=Frameset.

Attribute Value Description DTD
content text Specifies the content of the meta information STF

Optional Attributes

Attribute Value Description DTD
http-equiv content-type
Provides an HTTP header for the information in the content attribute STF
name author
Provides a name for the information in the content attribute STF
scheme format/URI Specifies a scheme to be used to interpret the value of the content attribute STF

Standard Attributes

The <meta> tag supports the following standard attributes:

Attribute Value Description DTD
dir rtl
Specifies the text direction for the content in an element STF
lang language_code Specifies a language code for the content in an element STF
xml:lang language_code Specifies a language code for the content in an element, in XHTML documents STF

Event Attributes

The <meta> tag does not support any event attributes.

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