Title Tags and Search Engine Optimization

March 6, 2012 8:58 pm

How important are title tags for search engine optimization?

Titles tags are often cast aside as an elementary or arcane tactic used to optimize a website, but the truth is, they can dramatically increase your search rankings. Other factors such as web maintenance, keyword saturated copy and link building have to be accounted for, but title tags are the ancillary components that can be leveraged for significant increases in ranking.

Properly crafted title tags will elevate your targeted keyword rankings, but they can also augment the appeal of the clickable link on the search engine results page. Although a great deal of credence has been given to the advantages of link building, you still need to solidify your on-site optimization. When doing so, understand that title tags carry significant weight in the Google algorithm. The title tags are as important, if not more, than the text copy and internal links on your site.

Here are a few tips to crafting effective title tags:

  • Perform meticulous keyword research and analysis in order to identify a set that is compatible to your services and has potential for high search traffic.
  • Title tags should be enriched with the most important key phrases you are attempting to target, and they should be unique to each subpage.
  • Utilize long tail keyword phrases for greater specification and differentiation. The more descriptive your keyword, the lower the competition and the higher the probability you’ll drive traffic that is sustainable.

To illustrate this point, let’s use a fictitious law firm in Baltimore, Maryland called Morris & Ellis. In this example, you want to use key phrases that are specific like Maryland law firm or Maryland Attorney Group. If you want to drill down even further, then use Baltimore law firm or Baltimore Attorneys. You could specify more with the specific region in Baltimore.
Using our law firm example, you might craft a title tag like this one:

Top Baltimore Law Firm and Maryland Attorney Group – Morris & Ellis

Here you’re targeting the keywords Top Baltimore law firm, Baltimore law firm and Maryland attorney group. You’re also keeping it compact enough to tack on the company name at the end of the title. Make sure you limit the amount of characters in the title tag to 70 because the Google algorithm will ignore any additional language. Strike the right balance between the inclusion of key phrases and writing in a way that will induce click through rate. Use pipes (|) to separate keyword phrases, but don’t compromise the opportunity to write for the human eye. And don’t obsess over writing the “perfect” title. There are many variations of the same keyword phrases that can be effective. Test out each one and see which are getting the most and best clicks. Also, introduce the most important key words first. Keep them prominent because Google’s algorithm is structured so that the first words in the title tag are given significant weight.

Make sure you use on-page copy as your guide. But, if you determine this does not accurately depict your brand message, you might need to revamp the on-page copy as well. Also understand a large amount of web properties fail to recognize the importance of title tags. This means opportunity for your company to emerge and differentiate.

Writing a succinct 10-12 word description of everything your company has to offer is no easy task. It is an art more than a science because it requires creative thinking to achieve your search engine optimization objectives. Make sure you perform adequate research and possess a clear understanding of what your webpage has to offer or your title tag efforts will go awry.
One final note: Don’t repeat the same keyword back to back to back like Baltimore Law Firm, Baltimore Law Firm, Baltimore Law Firm – Morris & Ellis. You will not trick Google. It will find your site and punish it accordingly.

If you need help with your search marketing campaign, and particularly crafting title tags, we’re here for you!

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About The Author

We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies. We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!