SEO tips

Head tag optimisation for SEO

The head tag is the first tag located at the top of an document. It contains website data designed to signal search engines and communicates how the page should be dealt with.

Search engines use web crawlers, also known and spiders and bots, to index the world wide web. Google calls its web crawler “Googlebot”. Bots access the head tag to determine how to treat the  document.

Head tag elements

There are six elements to consider when designing the perfect head tag for SEO. In order they are as follows.

Character Set tag

Displays the type of character-set to use for reading the web document. The the default character-set for modern browsers is ISO-8859-1, but utf-8 is becoming more popular.

Title tag

The title is the most important tag for SEO. If you have a well crafted title tag, with the targeted term at the front, the page will index higher in search results

Meta Description tag

Search engines often use the meta description tag as the text that features in search results and should summarise the page content with a strong call to action. Users decide whether to click through to your page based on this information.

Meta Keywords tag

Although not used as an indexing element, meta keywords are cached by the major search engines. Use this if you want to tick ALL the boxes.

Meta Robots tag

Meta robots tags tell Googlebot how to treat the page. If you don’t want pages listed in search results, noindex can be applied to signal search engines not to index. If you don’t want the links on that page indexed you would use noindex, nofollow. If you want to follow the links use noindex follow in the Meta tag.

Meta Author tag

The Meta Author tag it references the name of the person who created document. Both first and last names should be used. This tag does not factor into how the page is indexed.

Additional information

You should avoid having too much additional information contained within the head tag, but there may be situations where it’s required. You may have a mobile optimized website or use CSS, Maybe you want one of those funky browser tab icons (favicon). Each of these elements will need a line of code in the head tag. Just keep it to a minimum as best practice.

Java script may appear in the head tag but should be kept to a minimum where possible for better page load times. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, especially if you use WordPress plugins, but most <script> can be moved down to the bottom of the page just before the </body> tag.

Follow these head tag tips and your site will have a better changed of indexing well for SEO.

By Michael Breen

Michael Breen has over 17 years experience in digital. He is an SEO expert and can improve your website ranking on Google.