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.

SEO tips

How to use title tag for SEO

The title tag is the most important HTML tag on your web page for generating traffic.  The title tag is a component of meta data and should be located in the head section of your HTML code. It should contain keywords that best describe the content on the page, and be no longer than 70 characters in length.

Update: In line with its mobile first philosophy Google has recently changed the way titles are displayed in its search results. Titles they are now measured in pixels – 512 to be exact. So now with the variations in character spacing, best practice is to use no more than 49 characters. By following this practice it has been discovered that around 99% of all titles will appear – with anything over the specified width truncated to fit within the designated 512 pixels.

The title tag also acts as the heading you see in the search results of Google and Bing. It is the link users click on to visit your website and must feature the targeted term up front for SEO. It should be crafted to grab the user’s attention and be relevant to the content on the webpage. Your business name can be included but I recommend it’s best place it at the end. Title tags must be rich in descriptive keywords for effective SEO. If you get this right your website WILL generate traffic.

When building a website you must ensure that every page has the capability to display a unique and keyword rich title tag. If this capability does not exist you increase the chance of duplication, which search engines have been known to penalize.

Here are some key points to remember about title tags

  • If you site is about selling Widgets it belongs in the title tag – “Buy Widgets from Widgetland”
  • If you sell different sizes there should be one page for each – “Buy small Widgets from Widgetland”
  • Same with location – “Buy small Widgets in Widgetville from Widgetland”

Why do this? Well, put yourself in the position of a user who wants to buy a Widget. Imagine the thought process when poised over a keyboard…

“I need to buy three widgets but only small ones. I need them today and don’t want to travel too far”

Luckily our user actually lives in Widgetville, so chances are the query will be something like buy small widgets widgetville. Close to an exact match – great.

Luckily you took my advice because search engines are in the business of serving only relevant content to users, which means your site will have a pretty good chance of showing at or near the top of that search result page. Our user looks at the link and thinks “Bingo”, and clicks through. You now have a visitor – thanks to the title tag and SEO.