Charset Checkup (HTML5)

HTML5 is revolutioning nearly every facet of Web work - from applications to layout/design. It's importance to search engine optimization is also something to note.

Website Magazine's upcoming August issue tackles the subject of structured data but what we quickly found was that there's much more going on that Web workers (particulary those in SEO) should definitely be aware of - for example, the meta charset tag in HTML5.

Character encoding tells the browser what character set the web page is written in. Failure to specify a character set forces the browser to assume that the web page uses a default one. If the browser is read this information wrong, the page may be displayed incorrectly. Let's do a "charset" checkup and show how to set charset in HTML5.

If you've spent anytime designing web pages (or SEO'ing them) then you know that setting the character encoding on a document in HTML4 is typically done with a META element.

Here's an example:

With HTML5 however, a shortened syntax syntax is supported.

Here's an example: 

Including character encoding for your web pages, even if you never use any special characters, is immensely important - and worthy of a checkup.

The character encoding information should be placed in the first line of HTML after the root and head elements. Designers can also specify the character encoding in the HTTP headers, which is even more secure than adding it to the HTML, but access to the server configurations or .htaccess files is needed.