Meta tags are a great way to improve SERPS and is used frequently to provide search engines with information about websites. Meta tags can be used to provide information to all sorts of clients, and each system processes only the meta tags they understand and ignores the rest. Meta tags are added to the <head> section of your HTML page and generally look like this:

meta

Source: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=79812

Other things you can do to improve your SERPS

Optimize Your Headings and Subheadings
Optimize Your Title and ALT Tags in Images
Optimize File Names
Use An XML Site Map

Google understands the following meta tags (and related items):

<meta name=”description” content=”A description of the page” /> This tag provides a short description of the page. In some situations this description is used as a part of the snippet shown in the search results. More information
<title>The Title of the Page</title> While technically not a meta tag, this tag is often used together with the “description”. The contents of this tag are generally shown as the title in search results (and of course in the user’s browser). More information
<meta name=”robots” content=”…, …” />
<meta name=”googlebot” content=”…, …” />
These meta tags can control the behavior of search engine crawling and indexing. The robots meta tag applies to all search engines, while the “googlebot” meta tag is specific to Google. The default values are “index, follow” (the same as “all”) and do not need to be specified. We understand the following values (when specifying multiple values, separate them with a comma):

  • noindex: prevents the page from being indexed
  • nofollow: prevents the Googlebot from following links from this page
  • nosnippet: prevents a snippet from being shown in the search results
  • noodp: prevents the alternative description from the ODP/DMOZ from being used
  • noarchive: prevents Google from showing the Cached link for a page.
  • unavailable_after:[date]: lets you specify the exact time and date you want to stop crawling and indexing of this page
  • noimageindex: lets you specify that you do not want your page to appear as the referring page for an image that appears in Google search results.

As a side-note, you can now also specify this information in the header of your pages using the “X-Robots-Tag” HTTP header directive. This is particularly useful if you wish to fine-tune crawling and indexing of non-HTML files like graphics or other kinds of documents.

<meta name=”google” content=”notranslate” /> When we recognize that the contents of a page are not in the language that the user is likely to want to read, we often provide a link to a translation in the search results. In general, this gives you the chance to provide your unique and compelling content to a much larger group of users. However, there may be situations where this is not desired. This meta tag tells Google that you don’t want us to provide a translation for this page.
<meta name=”google-site-verification” content=”…” /> You can use this tag on the top-level page of your site to verify ownership for Webmaster Tools. Please note that while the values of the “name” and “content” attributes must match exactly what is provided to you (including upper and lower case), it doesn’t matter if you change the tag from XHTML to HTML or if the format of the tag matches the format of your page. More information
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”…; charset=…” /> This meta tag defines the page’s content type and character set. Make sure that you surround the value of the content attribute with quotes – otherwise the charset attribute may be interpreted incorrectly. More information
<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”…;url=…” /> This meta tag sends the user to a new URL after a certain amount of time, and is sometimes used as a simple form of redirection. However, it is not supported by all browsers and can be confusing to the user. The W3C recommends that this tag not be used. We recommend using a server-side 301 redirect instead.
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lincoln

Lincoln is a fan of Apple products, loves red wine and traveling. He blogs on internet marketing, social media, wordpress tips & guides, and using technology to maximize efficiency. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook for regular updates.
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