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Where should the <title> tag be placed for best SEO in relevance to <meta name=description content="" /> tag?

Does placing it upper the <meta name=description content="" /> or below it, or does it have not have any relevance at all.

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3 Answers

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I’d have thought exactly the same: that there are no real pros or cons in where you place the TITLE element within the HTML document’s HEAD area. However, although this is nothing whatsoever to do with SEO, I do remember reading that in an HTML document, the best practise is to include the TITLE after the first META tag that declares the content-type and/or charset value(s), e.g.:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
  <meta http-equiv="Content-type" content="text/html; charset=uft-8" />
  <title>[Placeholder Title]</title>
  </head>
  […]

(I am fairly certain that this technique is stated somewhere in the W3C Recommendation, HTML 4.01 Specification, in the section "The global structure of an HTML document" ( …but if I would double-check this.) Although I think the technical reason was to ensure titles that contain HTML entities that need to be escaped should always declare a character set before you provide the actual text, it still makes you think: is source-ordering important?

At the very least, it is conventional wisdom to always place the content you want to gain the most exposure in terms of SEO/the search-engines' results pages (SERPS) higher up in the web pages (X)HTML source code (e.g. in a website without any META description tags set, the first paragraph in the document will probably be the one chosen to represent that webpage’s description in its SERP listing, not the second or third etc., etc.) Ultimately, I would say that you certainly have nothing to lose in placing this TITLE (or any content) higher.

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It's even better to skip that particular meta-tag and add a header instead, e.g. <?php header('Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8'); ?>. It performs better in the browser. –  Ivar Sep 7 '13 at 19:46
    
Although I agree with this, I tend to include the META Content-Type anyway, as I think it is good practice and more thorough. In the event of a visitor saving the web page to their local disk, it also has the advantage of declaring the character encoding used. –  clarky_y2k Dec 16 '13 at 12:32
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The order in which the meta data appears will have no impact, you just need to ensure that it appears in the <head> section of the page. Search engines look at all the meta data to get an indication as to the purpose of the page and therefore it is about the way the meta data in correlated that is important.

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In a nutshell, this maximises the page rendering speed plus the perceived download time of the web page, which is in the interests of the website's users. I am sure that Googlebot doesn't really care what order it receives its <META> tags in, so why worry about it? My point is this: I would certainly rather that bots “wade through hundreds of lines to look for important meta information” than to lose site visitors due to slow download times - and just to satisfy a robot. –  clarky_y2k Dec 16 '13 at 12:51
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Order within the <head> section generally does not matter. Tags can be in any order. The only rule that I try to apply is that long blocks of JavaScript or CSS that are in the head section should go at the end of the <head>. I don't want bots to have to wade through hundreds of lines to look for important meta information.

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I completely disagree - although you are technically correct, search engines don't really discriminate against the order of elements within the <HEAD>. But we must remember that websites are for people first. For example, as recommended by Yahoo! in their “Best Practices for Speeding Up Your Web Site”, it is advised to place <LINK>s to CSS files at the very top of the <HEAD> and <SCRIPT> elements for JS files at the very bottom of the page (e.g. just above the closing </BODY> tag). –  clarky_y2k Dec 16 '13 at 12:57
    
In a nutshell, this maximises the page rendering speed plus the perceived download time of the web page, which is in the interests of the website's users. I am sure that Googlebot doesn't really care what order it receives its <META> tags in, so why worry about it? My point is this: I would certainly rather that bots “wade through hundreds of lines to look for important meta information” than to lose site visitors due to slow download times - and just to satisfy a robot. –  clarky_y2k Dec 16 '13 at 12:58
    
Inline CSS and JS are the ones that I would put at the end. They can be huge. As far as order of things that are one line each, it shouldn't matter at all. One line meta tags will all come in the first network packet. –  Stephen Ostermiller Dec 16 '13 at 13:22
    
With due respect, I think that you are missing the point I am trying to make here. I don't doubt your knowledge on how network packets work – I am speaking from the point of view of a website's performance. The most efficient way of serving CSS and JavaScript, which has been researched by the Yahoo! Developer Network, is like so: –  clarky_y2k Dec 16 '13 at 14:14
    
<html> <head> <title>[DOCUMENT TITLE]</title> <link rel="stylesheet" href="file.css" /> </head> <body> <p>Content goes here....</p> <script src="file.js"></script> </body> </html> All I am saying is that placing a load of <META> elements before the stylesheet LINKs will have a performance hit on the page download/rendering time. For more info, see: - Put Stylesheets at the Top - Put Scripts at the Bottom –  clarky_y2k Dec 16 '13 at 14:19
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