Search engines are moving targets, because they constantly adjust their algorithms to defeat sites that attempt to artificially elevate their ranking. In general, it's best to give each page a unique, descriptive title -- instead of giving each page the title "Joe's homepage" or "Joe's homepage: Firebird pictures," eliminate the redundancy and title the page simply, "Firebird pictures." Regarding meta tags, there are still search engines out there that use them, but most (notably Google) disregard them. Good luck.
This was first published in November 2002