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Monday, February 27, 2006

Title Tags – Ignore Them at Your Own Peril

Posted by @ 6:08 pm

Take a guess: What, in your opinion, is the single most important meta tag for search engine optimization?

Most search engine optimization experts would agree that the humble HTML title tag deserves this title. Much has been written about the title tag in the past, but even if you think you know all you need to know about title tags, you should set aside some time to review your title tags again and make sure they meet best practices for tag optimization.

What are title tags?
Title tags are displayed in the very top left of your browser window; they are inserted into the “frame” of your browser window above your menus and toolbars. The title tag of this article page is: “ineedhits SEM Blog: Title Tags – Ignore Them at Your Own Peril”.

The title tag is so important for search engine optimization purposes because search engines use it to determine relevancy and also list it (or parts of it) in the search engine results pages, linking to your site. To make sure you’ve got the basics right, here’s a checklist of title tag do’s and don’ts:

Title Tag Checklist

  1. Make sure every single page of your website has an individual title tag written specifically for each page.
  2. Keep them short. Many search engines only index no more than the first 80 characters of a title tag.
  3. Start with the most important keywords. Since search engines may only index the first 80 characters, make sure your most important keywords are at the beginning of the tag.
  4. No keyword stuffing. Remember that the title tag appears in the browser frame and in search engine results, and your visitors will read them. Write the title tag with your visitors in mind – search engine optimization should not decrease your visitors’ experience of your site.
  5. Put your company name at the end of a title tag or leave it out. Unless you are trying to optimize for your company name (because it is searched a lot or because it contains relevant keywords), either place your company name at the end of a title tag or leave it out altogether – you can use the space for more important keywords. But on some pages, it is probably a good idea to include your company name – for example on your homepage or your contact page.

While the title tags is the most important of the meta tags for search engine optimization purposes, you also should have optimized keyword tags and description tags to provide search engine spiders with relevant information for indexing. If you are sure what keywords to optimize for or would like some professional meta tag copywriting, check out our Optimizer Kit PLUS service. Alternatively, the Business Essentials service progressively optimized one page of your website per month.

Business Essentials: Comprehensive website optimization and submission solution!
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