Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Dynamic Rendering of META Description HTML tag

For today's search engine optimized web sites having relevant content of the META Description HTML tag on a page is a must. It plays a significant role together with the page title in determining a page relevance ranking in regards to search keywords. So it becomes necessary to generate a content of the META Description dynamically based on a page content.

ASP.NET already provides an easy access to the page TITLE tag allowing to populate it with relevant text simply using a Page.Title property. Unfortunately it's not the same easy and obvious how to access the META Description from the server-side code.

Luckily ASP.NET is flexible enough and the solution is easy. Simply add a META tag to your page and turn it into a server tag by adding an id and a runat="server" attributes like the following:

<meta name="description" content="your description" runat="server" id="Description" />

Immediately you'll be able to access the content from the code behind by using a Description.Content property. The explanation is very easy actually. When ASP.NET parses the mark-up it creates an HtmlMeta server control with the name "Description" that has a Content property of a string type.

And of course you can employ the same technique if you want to manipulate with other META tags on the page. Just use the proper value of a "name" attribute.

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