Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Search Engine Optimising the powerful Title Tag

The title tags are crucial for the search engines. The copy you use in the title tag is one of the most important SEO factors in how the search engines decide to you’re your site. The title tag is also what appears in the search engine result pages as the heading describing what your site is all about. It’s very important to get the balance right in optimising the title tag with keywords relevant to the web page but also making it stand out in a way that people are more like to click your listing instead of the competitor. Together with the meta description tag, an appealing and relevant title tag can be the difference between just ranking well and actually getting click throughs to your site, and ultimately conversions!

How the title tag appears in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs):




How the title tag appears in your browser when you view a website:




The most important factors to keep in mind when you write a title tag/title attribute:

1. Write unique title tags for each page. Having the same title tag on each page is just going to confuse the search engines and make it difficult for them to determine which page is more relevant for the keyword being searched for. For more on this read SEOmoz excellent post on keyword cannibalisation

2. Keep it relevant. Write a title tag that is relevant to the page, which what the page is about.

3. Don’t keyword stuff. Target max 2-3 keywords, ideally two for each title tag. AND do remember not to target the same keyword in several title tags, this will again confuse the search engines determining which page is the most relevant for that keyword.

4. How long should a title tag be? Google truncate a title tag after 64 characters, this doesn’t mean your title tag can’t be longer but a good tip would be make sure you have the important words and a complete (readable) sentence within 64 characters. Also remember that the title tag isn’t only for SEO purposes but also your “free ad heading”, so you need to describe what the website/web page is about to increase the chances of people clicking through.

For example: Conference Call Service & Web conferencing with Powownow | the conference calling company
(Google ends the tag after the..BUT still read and index the entire title tag)

5. Where should your company name appear in the title tag?
Now this is one of the most discussed questions about the title tag. And it’s all about personal opinion, except from that I’m right =)
  • Is your brand a well known brand? A brand that people would search for, i.e BBC, Apple, Sony, Saab etc If so, yes the brand name should be in the title tag as the first word.
Example: “Saab London Dealers – Official Saab Dealerships in London”
  • But if your brand is not well known….yet. For example your website sells/offers a product or service that people are more likely to search for I recommend the brand name to be in the title tag on the homepage, but not as the first word
Example: "Conference Call Service & Web Conferencing with Powwownow"


Final words
Spend time planning what keywords you target, think about appealing to the searcher as well as the search engines. In the end it’s no point being #1 if no one actually clicks through to your website!!

"Writing a title tag - It’s like sudoku with words!!"

Lastly if you disagree, you have something to add or just want to say I’m great =) Please feel free to comment!

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7 Comments:

At March 15, 2007 5:42 pm, Blogger Darren Moloney said...

I'd also say that its important to remember that if you place the keyword in your title tag then its also crucial those keywords are targeted inside your page content as well... it surprises me so many people don't see the connection between a targeted keyword phrases in a title tag, meta description tag and page content... it also surprises me that when I explain that concept to people they don't get it... maybe its me???

I hear for the best rankings you should ensure targeted keywords are right next to one another. From my own experience with my the All Things Web site I find its more likely the uniqueness of a title tag that helps - none of my targeted keywords are "together" inside a title tag on my home page... (but I still get 1st page rankings for some competitive terms though) instead I have ensured the keywords are varied... I am guilty of having way too long title tags though!

I am thinking that Google as well as looking at keyword variation, authority and themes in actual on page content would also extend that into title tags too?

Daz

 
At March 16, 2007 8:20 am, Blogger Lisa Ditlefsen said...

hi Darren,

Good points! Yes the keywords you target in the title tags should also be in the main copy. And they should of course be relevant to that page. I ususally target 2-3 keywords per page and make sure they are in the title tag, main copy and h1 tags if possible.

I have heard that Google puts more emphasis of words early on in the title tags, thus you should put your keywords first in the tag. Although it's alot of for and against this theory!!

Hey Darren are you coming to LondonSEO party next wedensday in Euston?

 
At March 18, 2007 6:14 pm, Blogger Jeremyinc said...

I am entered in the shopautodotca seocontest and wanted to make sure my site is optimized, have a look http://www.shopautodotca-seocontest.com/ thanks.

 
At March 22, 2007 2:53 pm, Blogger Fil NYC said...

I agree with many of the things you talked about with regard to titles being useful for search engines and users alike, meta descriptions and page content correlations, but I do think differently about the titles with regard to brand and marketing.

I would exactly reverse the titles when the brand is well-known Vs. not as well known. It makes more sense to me that if the brand is known, most likely the generalized terms are not well targetted and since prominance of keywording plays a huge role, there is no need to have the brand up front, rather in the middle or towards the end.

A brand that needs to be given "lift" should probably be hilighted through placing it in the front of the title tag.

Otherwise, excellent advice!

 
At March 23, 2007 9:13 am, Blogger Lisa Ditlefsen said...

hi fil_nyc,

Thanks for your comments =)

I see what you mean with regards to the brand. I suppose it's all relative to how well known the brand is. There is well known and there is household name. Obviously if it's a household name like BBC, Nike, Sony etc then i totally agree with you BUT let's say it's a well known brand in a particular industry but not known for general public. This happens alot in b2b, and with alot of my clients. Like for example my client, Dalkia, is really well known in their industry as a facility and energy management company. And although they get alot of people searching for their brand it is is through the general "facility management" keyphrases they will generate the most traffic from. The issue where to place the brand name is maybe more of a "case by case" issue. You have a very good point. Maybe I should do some research and do a seperate blogpost just about the brand in title tags? What do you think?

 
At March 29, 2007 4:39 pm, Blogger Darren Moloney said...

Lisa

Sorry for the tardiness in my reply (been mega busy!) but yes your post on brands in title tags would be of interest.

Daz

 
At May 21, 2007 5:42 pm, Blogger miki said...

I'm also entered the shopautodotca seocontest and my site is also optimized
shopautodotca seocontest

 

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