How to Make a Title Tag that Search Engines Will Love

Making the following changes to your title tag can help improve ranking and increase targeted traffic to your website:

Include keyword phrases in your title tag:

Think of a title tag as the name above a shop. Imagine you are walking down a busy street with shops on either side of you. However every shop window is boarded up and all that is visible is its name. You mean to purchase a new Hi-Fi system and need to locate a suitable store. You look at all the names but are getting confused as to which one is for you. All of a sudden you see a store with 'Hi-Fi and Electrical' in its name. You enter and purchase your spanking new Hi-Fi system, but it is a bit expensive. And little did you know but the store next door also sold Hi-Fi systems but for a lot cheaper. However its name did not indicate this. In fact its name sounded more like a jewellery shop than an electrical store.

A search engine is rather like the shopper in the above example. It sees the title on each web page and determines whether this would be a good result to return based on its text. If you search for 'Hi-Fi' it is highly likely that some of the results returned will have 'Hi-Fi' in their title.

To be found using the search engines you should optimize your website for a set of keyword phrases. These keyword phrases should be included in your title tag. Suppose I was a website selling Hi-Fi systems, then I would like my website to appear in search engine results when searching with the phrase 'Hi-Fi systems'. If I include 'Hi-Fi systems' in my title tag I will increase the chances that the search engines will find the page and my ranking will be higher. Of course you are not limited to adding only one keyword phrase to your title, I would recommend two perhaps three but be careful not to make it too long. Also remember make it easy to understand and descriptive for a human.

Order these keyword phrases effectively:

Placing a keyword phrase at the start of the title tag allows it to be seen better by the search engines. Look at the following examples:

* ABCDEF Electrical - Hi-Fi Systems
* Hi-Fi Systems - ABCDEF Electrical

Both of these two examples are acceptable to human eyes but in the eyes of the search engines the second is see as more relevant if 'Hi-Fi Systems' is searched for because it appears at the start of the title. Generally it is best to place company name or the name of website to the end of your title tag.

Make your title enticing to the eye:

Although this point does not make a lot of difference to the search engines it can help to get people to click on your link in search results.

Which is easier on the eye?

1. XYZ COMPUTER HARDWARE
2. XYZ CoMpUtEr HaRdWaRe
3. XYZ Computer Hardware

I imagine that most people would say that (3) is the most pleasing. (1) and (2) are harder to read because of improper captilization. In (1) you see that using all capitals detracts the importance of any words you actually want to draw attention to and also some search engines may penalise this practice. (2) is simply a nightmare to read.

Try to keep title tags as unique as possible:

As each page on your site should be unique so should your title tags. Not only do unique title tags make the site more descriptive and navigable to a person they help search engines answer queries more accurately and allow more penetration of your site's pages in their databases.

Common title tags mistakes:

* Do not leave your title tag blank, ever!

* Do not use 'Untitled' or default text in your title tag. If you are using a web page editing application it may place some default text in the title tag. Make sure you always check your title to make sure this doesn't happen.

* Do not write title tags that are not relevant to the content on the page. Search engines compare text in the title tag against actual textual content on your page to rate relevancy. If the two are not related this will decrease your ranking. Also it is annoying to a person who visits your page when the title tag they saw going into your page does not relate to the content on the page. This will ensure that this person leaves your site and maybe never comes back.

* Do not stuff your title tag with repeating keyword phrases. This may be looked upon by search engines as spamming and they may penalise your ranking.

Summary:

Ignoring title tags is definitely a mistake if you aim to achieve high rankings. Although it takes a lot more than the title tag to propel you to the top of the search engines it can be very effective in making a search engine more secure that your site's content is more relevant than a competitor's.

Frank Kilkelly is a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Expert and Webmaster at http://www.seo-ireland.com/, a complete search engine optimization resource. The highlight of the site is an SEO forum http://www.seo-ireland.com/forum/ for discussion of the latest techniques and tips to improve the ranking of your web site.

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