Search Engine Optimization, SEO/SEM

Basic SEO Tip Number One: Title Tags

January 27, 2007

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) seems to be ever-changing. Someone is always coming out with a new way to track rankings, results or keywords. There are plenty of opinions out there and usually many arguments about which one is correct.

We are often asked what are the most important things to consider for good search engine rankings. Any SEO expert (and I certainly do not claim to be an SEO expert, but I think I know more than the average person) will tell you that there are many things that are all related when you are after good SE rankings.

Then, there are the different techniques to use depending on the target Search Engine, Google, MSN or Yahoo, just to name the “big 3”. It is truly a full-time job keeping up with everything related to SEO.

However, there are several facets of Search Engine Optimization that have remained constant. For the most part, everyone agrees on the value of paying attention to these areas and any good SEO firm will put them into practice every time. That is what we are going to discuss in a series of posts: Basic SEO Tips. As you read these posts, you may have different ideas from the ones we offer. Feel free to share your ideas and comments, make fun of me, whatever.

The first post will discuss Title Tags.

Most agree that the title tag is one of the most important tags of a web page. This tag gives the search engine the first indication as to what the web page is about.

When you visit a web page, you will see the content of the title tag displayed at the top of your browser window, like this:

    title tag

Here is what the title tag will look like in the code for the web page. Notice that it is placed immediately following the opening HEAD tag:


    <HEAD>
    <TITLE>Here is the Title of the Page</TITLE>
    </HEAD>

So that is a little about the structure and placement of the title tag. Now, how do you write one to give you the best chances of good search engine rankings?

  • First limit the title tag to 70 characters. That is all that the search engines will recognize anyway so anymore than 70 and you look like a spammer.
  • Don’t repeat the same word more than two times in the title of the page. That is another favorite tactic of the spammers.
  • Don’t waste the precious title tag space with things like “Welcome to our Home page”, “Welcome to our site” or, even worse, “Home Page” (gasp).
  • Make sure that your title tag mentions the specific keyphrases that you are targeting. For example, if you own a car detailing business in Washinton DC, you would like people to find your site when they search for “car detailing Washington DC” in a search engine. So, “car detailing washington dc” will be one of your target keyphrases. That means, you should create a page of your website about your car detailing business and it will have a title tag like this: Car Detailing Business in Washington DC.
  • Make sure that your title tag describes the actual content of your particular web page. Don’t just stuff a bunch of keyphrases into the title tag hoping to rank well for them. Make the title tag describe the content of the page.
  • Each page of your web site should have a unique title tag because, ideally, each page of your website will focus on a something different. Don’t just copy the same title tag for each of your pages.

I am sure there are other facets of the title tag that can be pointed out. This is not meant to be an exhaustive resource on the topic. Here are some other great resources that you should refer to:

These are just two and I am sure that other people will have their favorites. If you have a different one to recommend, please let us know.

Remember, there are several different factors involved in getting good SE rankings. Title tags is just one aspect. We are going to mention others in future posts so, hopefully you will check back :).

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