Crafting the perfect title tag

Crafting the perfect title tag

In 2003 when Born first ventured into the world of search engine optimisation, the title tag was one of the most important elements of a sound SEO strategy.  Other important factors and tactics have fallen by the wayside since then such as the meta-description, meta-keywords, link exchanges and stuffing keywords into link text.

In the post Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird era, inbound links and social metrics now outrank the humble title tag in terms of importance, but if you have all of these in place, a well crafted title tag can give you a further boost in the rankings.


Writing the title tags and incorporating your keywords

Your title tag must describe the page’s content.  If the page is the home page, then it should describe your website or brand.  For someone who is unfamillar with SEO, I would recommend using Google Adwords to find the search volumes for the keywords and phrases that your potential customers are using.  Once you know what your target audience are searching for, re-write your page titles so that they describe the page’s content but also incorporate the high volume keywords.

Using punctuation can help you to use more than one keyword phrase in a page title.  For example, if your website sells cheap laptops, your page title may look like:

Cheap Laptops – MyCheapLaptopShop

but by using some punctuation such as the pipe symbol, we can cover a broader range of customer searches e.g. Cheap Laptops, Laptops Online and Online Workbooks

Cheap Laptops Online | Workbooks | MyCheapLaptopShop

or using commas and a hyphen

Cheap Laptops Online, Workbooks – MyCheapLaptopShop


Stand out from the crowd

There is one more aspect to the title tag which is often overlooked.  When Google displays search results, the larger blue clickable text for each result is usually taken directly from the title tag such as the “Cheap Laptops | eBay” below. 

This means that in addition to using the tag to describe the content of pages and incorporating important keywords or phrases, the text contained within it can also be used for encouraging potential customers to click on your result rather than your competitors. This can be a good place for eye catching “50% off” offers (see below) or 2 for the price of one and words such as cheap, cheapest, SALE, the best, the most reliable, quality etc.

Achieving the right balance between SEO optimisation and customer conversion is the real art of writing a good title tag.  Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Don’t use the same title tag across the whole site.  Each page should have a unique title tag which reflects the content found on the page.

Try not to repeat words more than twice.  If you need to fit more keywords in, try stemming, i.e. if you are a florist, use words such as florists, floral, flower, flowers, blooms etc.

Do use the keywords that reflect the content of the page and the keywords that your customers are using to find the services or content that you provide.

Do use your brand name in the title tag.  If your brand name or domain name contains the keywords which you are targeting, then by all means use them in every title tag if you want to, as it is extremely unlikely you will be penalised by Google for spamming your own brand or domain.

Do try to use around 60 characters.  Title tags with more characters will be indexed, but when they are displayed in Bing, Yahoo or Google’s results, they will be cut short.


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