Let’s talk about the head tag – this important piece of code doesn’t get much attention, but it’s always there for you. The head tag is a foundational HTML container that powers your website.
You can get more background on how HTML tags work together & why they’re important to SEO – here. In short HTML tags are the universal building blocks for websites. Search engines use these same HTML tags to interpret a web page when they crawl a website.
What’s the head tag?
Every web page has two main parts, the head and the body.
<html> <head> --where invinsible (meta) information lives-- </head> <body> --where visible content lives-- </body> </html>
The head tag contains all the descriptive information about a web page. These “meta” tags provide rich data about your page: titles, descriptions, images, etc.
There are many types of meta tags. Here are some examples of the most common ones:
- meta description – a description of the page
- meta keywords – not used anymore for SEO but still great for internal tagging or data layers
- meta robots – page-specific directions for robots
- meta referrer – referral data settings (when visitors leave your site)
- meta Open Graph (og) – Standard social media titles, images, etc
- meta Twitter – Twitter has their own tags for images, titles, etc
The title tag lives here too. This tag describes the page in context of any other page on that website.
Because users see your title tag before they visit your website. You want to explain exactly what this page is relative to anything else out there in the internet. All this information doesn’t appear on your website. All the meta information in the head tag is invisible to the average human user. It’s not invisible everywhere. It’s just invisible on your website.
Here are a few places that your meta information might appear:
- search engine results (ie a Google search result)
- social media posts
- browser tabs
Why is the head tag important?
The goal is to understand where it is and what lives inside. Every webpage has a head and a body and you want to make sure that the head tag has all the right pieces inside. It’s a core part of any web page. Even if you’re not technical – it’s helpful to know where to find these meta tags & other descriptive tags.
One useful SEO exercise: spot check your important pages. For instance, the title tag is an important aspect of SEO and it always lives in the head tag. If the title tag is misplaced, it might get missed.
Go find your head tag!
You can easily view your code in most browsers:
- Go to your website in your preferred browser
- Press “Ctrl U” (in most browsers) to see your source code
- Hit “Ctrl F” and type “<head” it will highlight where the tag starts
- Scan which tags the follow it
- You should see <title> and likely several different <meta> tags maybe even a <link rel=canoncial> – more on that later.
Now you know where to find your head.