SEO Tips: Title Tag Secrets
Saturday, February 28, 2009
By Marc D. Ensign
The Title Tag is by far the most important that you will find in the header of your page because it is given the most weight of any of them by the search engines. This tag is also the only one that is viewable by the visitors of your website. You can see a websites Title Tag by looking in the browsers title bar, which is at the very top of the browser on the left hand side right next to the browsers logo. The Title Tag is also used as the default name that is used when you bookmark a website.
Being that this is the most important Tag of all of them, it only makes sense that we should make the best use of this valuable real estate, right? Of course! Then why is it that so many websites will squander the use of this tag and not use it to its full potential? Here are a few examples of Tag Titles that are often found but rarely helpful:
Using the name of the page as the title, whether it is Home, About Us, Contact, etc. doesn’t really say much about what specifically is on the page. Rarely will anyone ever search a term like the word “home” and if they did they would be staring down the barrel of about 6 Billion websites as the results of the search with your site showing up somewhere around page 500 million.
Store > Men’s > Pants
Often you may see someone use breadcrumbs as a title, especially if it is an e-commerce site with a lot of categories and sub-categories. In theory, it sounds like it would be a good idea and helpful to your visitors so they can backtrack, but honestly, no one is ever going to look to your title for help navigating your website. Besides, you are missing a great opportunity to focus your title on a more effective keyword phrase like “Mens Casual Pants.”
Who’s Bob and why does he have a website? The odds that someone who has never heard of you will do a search for “Bob’s Website” looking for Bob’s particular product or service is astronomical! Too vague!
Real Estate | NJ Real Estate | Bergen County Real Estate | Local Real Estate | Best Real Estate | Professional Real Estate | Buy Real Estate
On the other end of the spectrum is a title such as this that is blatantly stuffed with keywords. This is headed in a better direction than the others, but when you stuff a title with as many keywords as you can, it diminishes the value of each of those keywords.
Unless you are already a household name like Gucci or Nike, using your company name may seem like a good idea, but it is not a good use of your title. It assumes that the searcher already knows who your company is, but if your goal is to attract new traffic that has never heard of you, they aren’t going to specifically search for your company name.
This is a title that you see more often that you would think. Untitled Document is the default page title used by most HTML editors and is often seen when the author of the website forgets to change the page title. This mistake alone will cost you any chance of getting a decent page ranking, so make sure you name all of your pages!
Now that you know what makes a bad Title Tag, let’s talk about how to create an effective one. Here are some basic guidelines that you should follow for the Title Tag for each page of your website:
* Use 2-3 of the best keyword phrases that you assigned to that page
* Combine keywords whenever you can. For example, if your two keyword phrases are “Professional Website Design” and “Website Design in New Jersey” then you should use “Professional Website Design in New Jersey” because it utilizes both.
* Create a sentence out of your keywords if you are able to, otherwise you can separate your keyword phrases either with a comma or a pipe symbol.
* If you would like to include your company name in your title, make it last since it holds less importance than the keywords.
* Keep the title tag to 65 characters or less including spaces. That is the maximum number of characters that most search engines will show. Going over 65 will diminish the value of each of the words you are using and could also be considered abusive depending on how many characters you use.
* Make sure that you use a different Title Tag for every page on your website.
Utilizing the six guidelines above, here are some examples of good titles:
Professional Website Design in New Jersey | Sound-n-Vision
With this title we easily fit in two strong keywords for the site, plus include the company name and still keep it under the 65 character limit.
Professional Website Design and Search Engine Marketing Company
This title is clearly very descriptive, plus it uses two strong keywords. Someone searching on Google that comes across this as the title would be comfortable in click on it assuming they were looking for a Web Design or SEO Company.
Making good use of your Title tag can dramatically help your search engine ranking, so be sure to use your tag wisely!