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Metadata in a webpage

For an organisation such as EEA, it is essential that we are easy to find on the Internet. It means search-engine friendliness is high on our agenda.

What does Google need?

When you see a list of results on Google, each result is composed of a couple of items from the page it shows as a hit. The clickable title comes from the <title> tag. The blurb under it is either constructed by Google with sometimes messy results, or if available, it is taken from the <meta name="description" content="..." /> tag in the HTML header. It is essential that the title and description tags contain something descriptive of the page—not the site. We have experiences. There is nothing worse than seing identical titles for all hits from the same site in a google result list.

Link relations

A few browsers have begun to add buttons to their toolbars with links they get from the <link> tags in the <head> of the webpage. It is called link relations. Other browsers, such as Firefox and IE6 can do it via an extension. Here is an example of such links:

Explanation of attribute values

home, start, top
A link to the top of this web site
contents, toc
A link to the table of contents or sitemap for this web site
A link to the index (as in a book) or sitemap for this web site
begin, first
In a collection of pages, this refers to the start of the collection
prev, previous
In a collection of pages, this refers to the previous page
In a collection of pages, this refers to the next page
last, end
In a collection of pages, this refers to the end of the collection
A link to the next page up in this site's hierarchy
appendix, section, subsection, chapter
A link to a appendix/section/subsection/chapter. Can be repeated with a different title for each page.
search, find,
A link to this site's search page
A link to this site's help page
A link to this site's copyright page
author, made
a link to a page about the author
In Firefox, Mozilla precaches the linked page if possible

RSS links

More common is the automatic detection of RSS feeds from a website. This is implemented by at least Firefox and Konqueror.

<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml"
 title="Eionet headlines"
 href="" />


One of the purposes of XHTML 2.0 is to make it easier to enter metadata into the webpage. With a simple parser systems will be able to "understand" facts about the statements made on the page, and harvest it in triples form to a Semantic Web database.