It’s that time again–no, not Peanut Butter Jelly Time. It’s SEO time!
I couldn’t in good conscience explain the basics of SEO, talk up the benefits of SEO, consider SEO Myth vs Reality and then leave you holding the bag, wondering what to do next. In this article, I aim to point out the single most important element on your website’s pages that can help you be found in and more visible to search engines.
You may be asking yourself “what in the world is a title tag?”
A title tag is the technical term for text that describes a document on the web. Title tags commonly appear at the top of browser windows, browser tabs and search engine results pages.
The title tag is used as a description of your page’s content. In books you’ll often see in the header or footer of the page, a page number and chapter title. Why do publishers do this? They do this so that you, the reader, have a visual cue of where you are in the book.
Title tags work similarly, yet differently. Unlike a novel with sprawling chapters, think of your website as a book of one page short stories, each with its own descriptive story title. While visitors to your website may use these as visual and navigational cues, search engines use titles for the purpose of indexing and categorizing the web. Thus, making a page title or title tag the single most important element of the pages on your website
Title Tag Best Practices
There are a few guidelines that you should be aware of when creating or editing title tags. These best practices will help ensure that search engines index and show your website’s pages for the right keywords.
Be to the point — Like a book chapter title, your title tags should briefly and accurately describe what the reader will see. The same is true of your website title tags.
Keep it under 70 — If possible, keep your title tags at 70 characters or less, including spaces. In search engine results pages Google, Bing and Yahoo tend to cut off titles with more than 70 charac…
It must be relevant — I can’t stress enough the importance of creating titles for your pages that are relevant or very closely match the content of your page. If you say your page is about dancing cats in the title, the content on your page should be about dancing cats.
Ready, aim, fire — Before writing your page titles, it’s important to know your keyword targets. There are words a phrases that people commonly use when searching for a product or service in your industry. If you run a bike shop, those words might be: bikes, hybrid bikes, road bikes, cruising bikes, helmets, cycling shoes, bike racks, etc. It’s important to place keywords and phrases related to your industry/business near the beginning of your title if possible.
The name game — When writing your titles, don’t forget to include your company or brand name. Put all of these tips together, you end up with a title that looks like this.
Road Cycles, Hybrid Cycles and Cycling Gear — Collin’s Bike Shop
However, some prefer the reverse format.
Collin’s Bike Shop – Road Cycles, Hybrid Cycles and Cycling Gear
Since most small businesses don’t benefit from wide recognition of their name or brand, it’s best to include your company name at the end of your title. This allows the keywords for which you want your website to rank–to be first.
I hope you enjoyed these SEO articles. Feel free to drop me a line or two of feedback or ask a question in the comments below. Who knows, my next article might cover that very subject.