Search Engine Optimization With the Title Tag

Every online marketer knows about keywords and back-links; they are one of the first topics a prospective e-marketer or link builder learns about. Some individuals, however, never graduate past that point to delve into the deeper, and more powerful, aspects of SEO. There’s more to a blogging platform than the input box. Understanding how a website works is imperative, especially considering that it is the platform on which every Internet entrepreneur makes a living. HTML and CSS, the bones and coding language that make up most websites, can play a major role in determining a page’s ranking. One of the most important bits of HTML to learn about is the optimization of the title tag.

What are Title Tags?

The title tag is the clickable text that is shown on the Search Engine Result Pages (SERP’s), it appears within a page’s header code, before the main body of content (it doesn’t actually appear on the website). Most people think of a banner and possibly a navigation bar when they hear header, but in reality it holds much of a page’s important information. The title tag, for example, introduces a page to a search engine crawler. It is what appears at the top of the browser’s tab, offering a quick summary of the page’s purpose. Search engines use the title tag to determine what a page is about before moving on to the meta description and visible text.


How to Use Title Tags for SEO

Obviously, anything that a search engine pays such attention to is worth some consideration, and thankfully title tags are easy. The first words of the title is given the most SEO weight, and each word after it is worth slightly less than the one before it. With that in mind, your primary keyword for a page should be at the very beginning of the title, with the rest following soon after. Customize the title tag of each page and make it as short and punchy as possible. A title is only useful up to about 60 characters, including spaces. Unless your brand is your primary draw, don’t worry about constantly mentioning the brand or company name in the title tags. The title is for all of the subjects that bring in traffic. All of the finer details belong in the meta description or body content, where they can be expanded on fully.

Common Mistakes

Most problems with title tags stem from a simple lack of knowledge about their functions and limitations. A title outside the header or repeated tags are common and render this feature almost useless. Even when positioned correctly, some companies use too many filler words, like “the” or “an,” or even “and” instead of using “&” (save yourself two characters right there!) or do the opposite and stuff keywords in an amateurish effort to boost their SEO. A strong title walks the line between these two extremes and performs better than either as a result. Another huge mistake is that companies will have duplicate title tags for different pages of the site. This is not good as EVERY page should have a unique and well written title tag that is optimized for the search engines!

The worst mistake you can make by far, however, is to ignore the title tag completely. Leaving it at the default setting does nothing for your optimization and may actually damage a bot’s ability to classify your website. Take the few minutes required to head into your site’s editor and make the necessary changes and harness the power of the title tags to boost your SEO efforts!

About the Author

Paul Teitelman - SEO Consultant

Paul is a well-respected Canadian SEO consultant and link-building expert with over 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies rank for competitive keywords on Google. He is a Toronto-based SEO consultant who is passionate about search engine optimization and link building. Over the years, he has made a reputation for himself as a leader in the industry by consistently delivering phenomenal results to his growing client base.