Importance of Title Tags

Feb 18, 2010

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In performing SEO (search engine optimization) for a website there are several factors that you must look at. Title tags are very important and probably the most important on page factor. What is a Title Tag? A title tag is a quick description of what a page document is about. Typically these tags will have 70 characters or less. Title tags show up in the head section of a page document. Here is what the code looks like for title tags. Page Document Example Title There are some key points to remember in what is the most optimal way to format the title tag. Optimal Format Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Company or Brand Company – Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword In a study that was performed, 37 professional SEO’s were asked how important is having the keyword you want to optimize the page for be at the beginning of the title. Here are the results of that study:
keyword importance in title tags

When you are writing your titles you can use commas, pipes, hyphens or other types of punctuation. Search engines can crawl the punctuation, what is important to them is what the document is being labeled as. The easiest way to think of titles for a web page is the same way that you label folders that go into a filing cabinet. The title tag will typically show up in 3 different places: The Browser
title tag in browser

The Search Engine Results Page
search results individual organic listing

External Websites
delicious social bookmark results page

Out of the 3 places that title tags will show browsers are not very important as users do not look at them in there browser to get a feeling of what the page is about because they are already on the page. Search engine results pages are very important because the search engine will bold the keywords that have been typed in thus helping in higher click throughs. Google bolds the keywords to always make it easier for users. In external websites a lot of people who do social bookmarking will generally just bookmark the page and it will take the title tag of the page to use when people want to bookmark that page thus making the title tag now the anchor text for the link which is huge for improving link popularity. Things to avoid in title tags:
  • choosing words and phrases that have no relation to the page
  • stuffing unneeded keywords
  • using really long titles that are unhelpful to users
  • using default titles like Home Page or Untitled
  • using the same title across all pages
Overall you want to be conscious of what you are doing with your title tags and make sure you keep them to 70 characters or less and have your primary keywords in there towards the beginning. I then recommend that you do use some form of branding as well. In Google’s search engine optimization pdf they say to make sure to accurately describe the focus on that particular page. Each page title should be unique and as accurate as possible.

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