Wednesday, 20 January 2010

How to Write Great Title Tags - 10 things you Need to Know - Web Tips for SEO

What do you first think of when the expression 'Title Tag' comes up?

I'd be very interested to know, because frequently, when I'm talking to people about Search Engine Optimisation they think that they should know, but they're not sure. For those of you who are SEO experts, I apologise, but this is not for you!

Your Title Tag appears right at the top of your browser. It is probably the most important element of your SEO campaign,and whatever else you do with regards to SEO, it's worth learning how to write these properly.

The whole idea of SEO is to match up what people are searching for with what you are offering, using words, phrases and terms that the majority of searchers are using. For example; Do you sell jumpers or sweaters? From a product point of view there may be very little difference, and yet with just a bit of research you'll find that (using last month's search figures) there were more than three times the number of searches for jumpers as there were for sweaters.

You may have a preferred word, and the joy of title tags and content writing is that of course you can include more than one, but the important thing is that the one that's at the front of the queue, the one that'll be found first by the search engines, is the one that most people are searching for.

Here are my 10 Top Tips for writing good Title Tags.

1. Make friends with the Google Keyword Tool - Use it for all of your research, and open it whenever you want to create new content and Tags. Writing for SEO is not a guessing game.

2. Unless you are a household name and if your aim is to get your brand 'out there' include your brand name in your title tags, every time. The jury is out as to whether it should be at the beginning or the end - at the moment I have mine at the front - but include it there within your limited number of characters.

3. Be careful to ensure that your title tags do not spill over your allotted space, and that what you see is complete. Anything else looks messy and unprofessional. You have approximately 65 - 70 characters, including spaces, for your title tags. Whenever you're in doubt, check what your tags look like in your browser. Again, don't try and guess.

4. Create a format for your title tags and stick to it. eg. Company Name Category Sub Category - all search terms other than your brand - It will be easier to set up, and again, anything else will look messy.

5. Do not use ampersands in your title tags, or any other extraneous characters.

6. To divide your keywords use hyphens or the pipe bar (usually Shift and the key to the left of the z, which appears broken to create the unbroken vertical line). I've used it in 4 above.

7. Repeat the main keywords or phrases from your Title Tag in your H1 or main header, reinforcing your message and making it more visible to the search engines.

8. Be wary of letting anyone else write your Title Tags for you. If you do, make sure they follow the rules and understand your brand and products.

9. Make sure that your Title Tags are relevant to what's on the page. You will not earn brownie points from Google or any other search engine by 'keyword stuffing' (yes, that's a real term).

10. Once you've created your Title Tag formula throughout your site keep checking via Analytics to see what's working and build on it. Trial and error is the only way to get up the rankings.

If you have any queries let me know - all comments welcome (provided they're polite, of course).

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