Why are META tags important for search engine optimisation?

META tags are used by search engines to quickly determine the content of a web page and to grab a description to display with search results.

Used by Yahoo Site Match and Teoma, META keywords are worthwhile using. As many aspects of SEO, keywords in this area of the page are usually overdone. Only one occurrence of each keyword is neccessary.

Most of the major search engines use the META description for their search results, although AltaVista, AlltheWeb and Teoma are the main engines that make full use of this tag. Google and Inktomi use the description tag on their search engine result pages.

META keywords and META description tags are placed just under the Title tag:

<title>Optimising META tags....</title>
<meta name="description" content="Use of META......">
<meta name="keywords" content="META keywords, META description......">

Because the META description tag usually includes the keyword phrase being searched, it will appear in the search results. Hence it is important to make sure the META description tag sells your webpage.