Meta Refresh Tag

A meta refresh is a command that webmasters can code into HTML to tell a browser to refresh a page after a certain number of seconds. It uses the <meta> tag, and ‘refresh’ is the value that the webmaster puts in for the http-equiv attribute. Google indexes the page that exists upon refresh rather than the page that initially loads to avoid spammers who try to trick users by taking them to the page they clicked on and then quickly redirecting them somewhere else.

The code would look like this for someone who wanted their page to refresh after 20 seconds:

  • <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”20″/>

It’s also possible to implement a redirect by using a meta refresh tag with the time set to 0 seconds and an additional URL attribute set to the destination URL.

The code would look like this for someone who wanted their page to refresh after 20 seconds:

  • <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0;url=[destination URL goes here]”/>

However, Google recommends using a 301 redirect over a meta refresh tag to institute a redirect to ensure that the search engine and users don’t have a misleading or confusing experience by being suddenly redirected — and thus perceive the site as spam, leading to lower rankings.