Are you looking to improve your website’s SEO? Optimizing the tag is a quick way to ramp up your ranking in the search engines. Let’s look at some reasons the tag is important, and discuss some best practices for optimizing this tag on your web pages.
SEO Value of the Title Tag
What makes the tag so important for SEO purposes? There are a few different factors involved. First, the tag is integral in establishing keyword relevance. Ideally, it should serve as a clear and concise description of the page’s content. Most importantly, the tag’s contents are used in the hyperlinked text displayed in the search engine results pages.
Search engines pay attention to a well-formed, relevant tag. Don’t waste the opportunity to introduce your page to potential readers by filling this tag with meaningless values like “Home Page” or “Title”. A few guidelines can help you make the most of this tag’s SEO power.
Use One Title Tag Per Page
SEO professionals come across all sorts of poorly-written HTML in their audits, and mistakes involving the tag are commonplace. Some pages will have no tag, while others will have multiple titles. Many pages will have thetag in the wrong section, within the tags of the page instead of the . All of these mistakes can prevent your title from having any SEO value! Be sure you have one tag per page, and check to make sure it’s located within the tags of the document.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Search engines don’t like wordy tags. With longer titles, the keyword relevance decreases greatly. Additionally, titles over a certain length will show up in a truncated form on search engine results pages, with ellipses at the end. While every search engine is different, keeping titles to about 70 characters is a good rule of thumb when optimizing content for both keyword relevance and display purposes.
Make Your Titles Unique
It’s safe to assume that each page on your website is unique. With that in mind, it’s important to make sure your titles aren’t repeated from page to page. Each tag should reflect the targeted keywords for that page, which are probably somewhat different among the various pages on your website.
Place Your Brand Last
Within a tag, keyword relevance is highest at the beginning of the tag’s content, and diminishes from there. Keep this decreasing value in mind when deciding where to place your brand inside the tag. How strong is your brand in your target market? If you’re a big, well-known brand whose name might be searched for more than your individual products and services, then placing your brand name first will serve you well. For everyone else, it’s usually best to place your brand name last, after your stronger keywords.
Don’t Stuff Keywords
Using strong, targeted keywords is important when optimizing your tag; however, jamming the same keyword in the tag six times can actually damage your SEO. Current search algorithms are sensitive to attempts at keyword stuffing, and will penalize sites that engage in bad SEO practices.
As you can see, it’s not that hard to optimize your tags for SEO. You want your title to show the search engines what each of your pages is about. Using strong, targeted keywords that are relevant to the page’s content, keeping your titles short, and ensuring that each title is unique will take you a long way in harnessing the SEO power of the tag!