A month ago I started a series call “Essential Tags”. Basically a 101 on XHTML tags and their relation to the search engines. But for this article I decided to jump over some of the preliminaries and talk about one of the most forgotten tags, the title tag.
You know how heading tags can be a powerful way to build findability in your markup code but what about the others. The <title> tag is simply one of the most important positions to place keywords or phrases.
Here are a few guidelines for an effective <title> tag.
1- Do not use it as a dump for all of your keywords. Keep it short and relevant. 12 words or less is what is recommended.
2- Make sure to make your tag readable for humans as well as the search engines.
Don’t forget, <title> tags are still an important part of site navigation.
3- First impression. Your title tag is the main heading and link when displayed on the search results pages. It also determines whether or not a user visits your site.
4- Write your title in a way that can be read by stat applications like Google Analytics.
Here is a tried and recommended format for a title tag:
<title>page title | site name or organization | short keyword rich phrase</title>
Let’s look at this format. Up front is the page title. Putting the page title first before the organization or site name gives the user a way to identify quickly the page they are on, This is followed by the site name or organization. At a quick glance the user will know what page and site they are on even if they have their browser minimized.
The way you write your tag will also have an affect how you will be able to read the page traffic statistics. Normally stat pages list page view results by the page title. If you place keywords first it will be harder to follow what pages your visitors are viewing.
How you craft your title tag will have another direct effect on your users. When tags are stuffed with keywords, browsers will awkwardly clip your text if the window is not wide enough. Your viewers may not be able to view the name of the page or the name of the site they are on.
This also carries on to bookmarks, another reason for a proper title tag. When your users bookmark a page in either a browser or social network these systems use the title tag to identify the bookmark. If the title tag is stuffed with keywords up front the important information like the name of the site is lost. And an important marketing fact to remember, a bookmark label that makes no sense is not likely to generate many return visits.
Finally, a short keyword rich phrase at the end of the title tag will provide viewers and search engines a quick summary of what the page is about. It is important to keep it brief and descript.
To sum up, the title tag should efficiently notify both viewers and search engines about the title of the page they are viewing, on what site and what the page is about.
So there you have it, one humble page tag so much importance. As with all search engine optimization projects everything starts with good research and a very targeted keyword / phrase list. After you have your list, it is just as important how you use them and the <title> tag is right at the top.Share on Facebook