Content-type or TITLE - which should go first

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I have just talked with another webmaster about order of tags in HEAD
The most important question is which of two (TITLE tag or META for
content-type) should go first.

In my opinion content type definition should be first, especially for
non-english sites (eg. East europe), to provide proper character

BTW Does it really matters? Does spiders read the page header as a
string or DOM?
Even if they read it as a string does such a small tag (as content type
is) reduce title prominency? I could not believe that.

Confused Tom

Re: Content-type or TITLE - which should go first

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This is a newsgroup about search engines and search engine optimization. So
my answer is from a search engine optimization perspective, not necessarily
from a web page design perspective.

I personally don't use the Content-Type Meta tag. I always put the Title tag
clearly at the top of the HEAD. I think most would agree that the Title tag
is one of the most important tags as far as SEO is concerned and should be
immediately available to the SE spiders. What goes into the Title tag is of
paramount importance. Not only must it be rewarding forom an SEO
perspective, but it is an essential factor in getting the visitor to
click-through. I follow the Title tag with the Description tag. I throw in a
Keywords tag, despite being somewhat obsolete, and then other tags only when
absolutely  necessary.

Other SEO's have other ways of organizing HEADs and hopefully we will hear
from some of them.

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I don't have an opinion on that, it is beyond my scope as I work exclusively
in English and this seems to be an Internet browser question, which is
beyond my scope.

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We debated this question about a month ago I think. Some of us feel strongly
that the major search engines including Google actually consider what they
find first to be most important. Others feel that it doesn't matter. The
ethical answer would be something like, "create the web site for the visitor
first, then consider what the spider may need additionally, but never try to
trick either of them".

Personally, I am on the side of feeding the spider the keyphrase indicators
as quickly as possible. Spiders are more easily confused than what we
generally accept. A lot of spammers attempt to use Internet browser
instructions to fatten up the HEAD with keyphrase rich entries. Like I have
seen AUTHOR tags like "keyphrase1, keyphrase2" . Sometimes crawlers
seemingly skip over these tags, sometimes seemingly not because the web page
can for no other reason, rank higher than it would without those entries in
spite of what the search engine says it will filter. I am sure some search
engine spider are programmed to read this and penalize the web page if it
can detect this as "attempt to manipulate" it, but I am equally sure that
some web pages get away with it. So, my answer would to play on the side of
caution, insert whatever is needed and nothing more.


Basic SEO, Tools, Tips and Resources

Re: Content-type or TITLE - which should go first

On Thu, 09 Feb 2006 11:36:09 +0100, TomekK

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I think you may be confusing type with charset.

I do it like this;

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"
" ">

That's the doctype.

<title>Search Engine Optimisation in the UK</title>

There's your title, which should be the first in the head tag.

<META NAME="DESCRIPTION" CONTENT="Search Engine Optimisation in the

Next I have description as it's the next important, arguably.

<meta name="keywords" content="search engine optimisation optimization
seo marketing placement positioning surrey submission web site design

I'm offhand about the keywords tag, I include it but I don't worry too
much about it. I really should either leave it out or take it
seriously, I can't decide between them both.

<link rel="stylesheet" href="kruse.css" type="text/css">

Style sheet link.

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html;

and here's the character set, which tells your browser which set of
characters to work from. I put it here as it's as good a place as any.

<script src=" "
<script type="text/javascript">
_uacct = "";

And then any javascripts. Normally there'd just be a referring link.

Is that ok?

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I've heard it myself from several sources. It really doesn't hurt to
keep it in mind.

--       Gifty! Shiny! BB!  

Re: Content-type or TITLE - which should go first

Hi Big Bill and others,

at the beginning I would like to thank you for your reply.


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One of the possible doctypes ;-)

I'm very familiar with the HTML elements structure, believe me ;-)
But thanks for the detailed description.

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The questions is why?
Why if it is second is worse than if it is the first. Except of few
characters distance from the beginning of the file. Thats obvious for me.
Does anyone check if page lost position when title tag is moved to the
second position? Or it is only a myth which has not been checked ever?

I have heard always that the title should be the first then keywords and
then description or description then keywords. BTW what is the most
efficient order for those two.

Do not worry, I do not rely on keywords tag I know SEO importance (or
rather impotence) of that tag ;-) I just want to know what is your
experience in that matter.

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I'm using UTF-8 content type because of multilanguage data source for
pages. So the cost of unrecognizable phrase in title is hight.

How spiders/indexing scripts would recognize properly characters in
title if the content-type would be after it?

If indexing programs would use DOM to parse HTML document it does not
matter which tag is first and which is the second.
But if they treats HTML as a text string they should have info about
encoding before they would get any important data. Am I right?

Setting up HTTP server could be not enought.
Remember that theoretically I could set up charset to ISO 8859-1 in http
server configuration (for httpd headers) and send UTF-8 documents with

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">

in head section of the HTML document and apache would send UTF-8 signs
(I'm talking about non standard characters such as Polish, Turkisch
etc.) throught that connection. And each browser would show them properly.

I'm using UTF-8 for apache/tomcat configuration as well as for META tag
so thats not a deal. This was just an example.

Still wondering Tomek ;-)

Re: Content-type or TITLE - which should go first



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You should have that information already in HTTP headers.

see , and (especially content type).  If
your server sends content-type in HTTP header and it differs from one you
specify in document, HTTP header version should be used by user agents...

Re: Content-type or TITLE - which should go first

Ideally <Title><Keywords><Description> should be the order..

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