What Is the HEAD Element for on a Web Page?

The first elements in an HTML document

HEAD Elements (also written as elements) are ones that don't appear on web pages and are hidden from human visitors to your site. That said, they're still useful, as they convey information to the web browser, as well as search engines, about that page.

How HTML Elements Work

Every HTML document on the Web is made up of various elements. Many of the elements are quite common and are found on nearly every page, like paragraphs, headings, images, and links. As common as these elements are, however, they are optional. You don't technically need them on a webpage - although any page missing these elements is probably going to be pretty sparse.

In addition to these optional HTML elements, there are others that are actually required of a page. Most of these elements are found in the

Technically, there is only one tag that is required to be at the top of all HTML documents: the 

After the

The TITLE Element

You should always include a

  1. Search engines use the

  2. It displays at the top of the browser window or in the tab, describing the page in the browser.

  3. It is what is written when someone bookmarks your site. If a user bookmarks your site, you want them to remember it. If you don't use a Title tag, then your site will display “Untitled Document", which is the default page title used in many web development software platforms.

Since the

Meta Information or Meta Data

Meta information is data contained in the

 of your HTML document that provides additional information about your web page to the web browser and other devices. You can include information like the author’s name, the program that was used to create the page, the date the page should expire, and, perhaps most importantly, description, and keywords that are relevant to the page itself.
The most important

tag you should include on your web documents is actually the character set or charset. This is important for the security of your web pages
The character set should always be the first line in your

so that hackers cannot break in. In context, along the rest of the tags we have covered, it would like like this:

Learn More About Meta Tags

Meta tags are very important to get good ranking in search engines, but if you only have time to write either a good, descriptive title or meta tags, write the title. The title of your document will go further for search engine placement than meta tags. For additional information on meta tags:

  • Magic with Meta Tags — Use meta tags to getbetter search engine placement
  • More Meta Tags — Go beyond keywords and descriptions to get the most out of your metadata.
  • Meta Tag Links — Additional links for meta tag help

Other Elements

In addition, other important things you will find in the

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Your Citation
Kyrnin, Jennifer. "What Is the HEAD Element for on a Web Page?" ThoughtCo, May. 14, 2021, thoughtco.com/head-element-basics-3466491. Kyrnin, Jennifer. (2021, May 14). What Is the HEAD Element for on a Web Page? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/head-element-basics-3466491 Kyrnin, Jennifer. "What Is the HEAD Element for on a Web Page?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/head-element-basics-3466491 (accessed June 15, 2021).