Title Tags and Search Engines

Previous posts covered the keyword meta tag and the description meta tag. Though HTML title tags aren’t meta tags per se, we usually discuss them in relation to keywords and descriptions. So let’s take a look.

In our opinion, properly deployed title tags give you as much “bang for your buck” as any SEO activity. Sure, backlinks, anchor text, content, etc. are important. And those all are tie-ins to the proper use of title tags. But the title consists of just a few words and can be implemented very easily.

What is it? The title tag appears along with the meta description and keyword tags between the head tags on your page’s code. While the meta data isn’t seen by the page viewer, the title tag is (see below).

How many words? We like to limit the title to eight words or so. The more words you use in the title, the more it dilutes the value of each word. Keeping the amount of keywords down to the most important terms on a page gives more weight to those terms.

Where does it appear? In highly critical areas. The captures above from partner site Widick Marketing show that the title will appear as the link on your listing in the SERPs (search engine results pages) and as it appears at the top of the user’s browser. And the title is your site’s name by default when a user bookmarks your page.

Most importantly, search engines place a high value on the title tag, but it has to be used properly. Stuffing way too many words into the title, or putting words that have nothing to do with your page, won’t help. But putting a few terms that are naturally used on the page, in the H1 headings, in anchor text, in pages linking to your site, in the meta data, etc., helps the search engines know what a page is about and how many other internal and external pages think your page is important for that term or terms. And because you only get so much real estate to use, the search engines know that phrases in your title are highly important on your page.

Finally, make sure each page on your site has a unique title that doesn’t feature your company name as the first few words (you’ll rank well for your company name without this boost). It takes a little effort, but it’s worth the pay off in terms of higher rankings in the search engines and more visitors to your site.