The SEO Basics - Title Tags
February 10, 2011 |
Title Tags have a huge influence on
your rankings and click through rate, thanks to some obvious reasons,
and other less obvious ones. To fully comprehend the role of the Title
Tag let's understand why Title Tags are important, what they are, and
how you can use them.
To help explain the influence of Title Tags we will first look at an example: If you were looking for colorful posters to brighten up the old abode, which result would you click on?
Images may be attractive, but the title of each search result is the main gateway to any given website. The title of the search result is much more likely to convince searchers to click on that particular result.
Why is a Title Tag important?
People are liable to forget the importance of a title. They are told not to judge a book by its cover, the title unfortunately does not enjoy any lax scrutiny that a cover may receive. While it may sound simple, when writing a title you cannot afford to ignore the fact that it has a key role. The Title Tag represents the title of your webpage, and should be treated with the same respect any title deserves. The Title Tag needs to be clear and catchy, as we will explain below. If you have reached a situation in which either of these factors is compromised, your search engine result may loose potential clicks.
A good example of an unclear title can be seen below:
The previous example is a clear demonstration of what not to do. Even if we were looking for history tidbits, this vague Title Tag and description would likely not lead us to click on the result. You may be able to get more click-throughs thanks to a good title tag, than sites ranked above you. Also, don’t forget that the title tag is still considered one of the most powerful; if not the most powerful aspect you can use to improve rankings and optimize your website.
What is a Title Tag?
The thing about title tags is that you know what they are; you just don’t know what they are called. Title Tags represent the titles you see on a search engine - the main headings at the start of each search result.
Below is how the Title Tag appears in HTML code:
While search results may be where you might most often notice a title tag, it also shows up in two other important places:
1. The top bar of the browser you are viewing- While this does not appear in every browser, it is a key feature of a webpage when it can be utilized. An example of this can be seen in the following image:
2. In the tab opened for the website - Tabs can come in all shapes and sizes, and in different locations and designs, but they perform a similar function wherever they appear. They are there to remind the reader that they are on your page. Choose how you want them to remember your page.
As in most places where titles are used, the tag is supposed to be a brief, relevant summary of the content that it is describing (your website). A related fun fact that is important to know is that Google will only include the first 70 characters of any title tag, and the rest will be visible as "...”. Needless to say, keeping within the 70 character limit allows searchers to read all of your title.
How can I use a Title Tag?
Now that we know what a Title Tag is, we can dive into the more technical stuff, like how we can use it. To make the ideal first impression, you need to have the ideal Title Tag. Remember to include the keywords you want to be found for. It is common practice to split up the title into two main parts: the keywords, and the brand. Deciding what order they come in is important. For most brands it is advisable to have the keywords which are searched for first, so that the searcher immediately knows the content is relevant to him or her, and then list the brand name at the end of the heading.
Below is an example of a well arranged title:
Remember that conciseness is key. 70 characters does not leave a huge amount of leeway, but it does give you space to keep the keywords used relevant, and keep your title interesting. If you have a title that is relevant to the searcher, to the point, and interesting to read, you are more likely to get the searcher to click on the link.
Finally, try to stay away from things that will bother searchers, like titles that are too general, irrelevant, or look like they are filled with keywords unnaturally. As we mentioned before, the title above is somewhat vague and not enticing to the potential online clicker.
In the example above we can see that the attempted use of keywords is employed, but the intent of the website and title is even vaguer than the previous example. While you may be aiming at search engines to boost your ranking, remember that your readers are human, and will click on what they think will be the best fit for their search.