What is the title element?
The title element (sometimes mistakenly called a tag) is the most important factor in ranking highly in the search engines, so it is worth taking some time to get it as near perfect as you can. Also the title is the most prominent text displayed in the SERPs and should be composed for users as well as the search engines. It goes without saying that every page on your site should have a different title.
The title element should be placed immediately after specifying the doctype, character set and language, like this:
<!doctype HTML PUBLIC “-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN”>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=iso-8859-1″>
<meta http-equiv=”Content-Language” content=”en”>
<title>Your Page Title Here</title>
<meta name=”Description” content=” Your description here.”>
<meta name=”Keywords” content=” your, keyword, list, here”>
<link type=”text/css” rel=”stylesheet” src=”/path/file.css”>
The content of your page goes here.
There are several do’s and don’ts when constructing a title element:
- Use proper grammar and that doesn’t mean it has to be a sentence, it can be just a phrase but make sure it is a grammatically correct phrase.
- Make sure all the words are spelled correctly.
- Avoid the use of symbols, numbers and special characters.
- The title should be constructed from your keywords.
- Do not repeat the keywords in the same phrase or list them.
- Keep the length under 60 characters including spaces. Google will truncate the title around the 65th character although it does vary because it will try to end with a complete word.
- Use none or only one stop word (and, the, a, if etc.) which is not so easy given that good grammar is required.
- Don’t use your Company name in the title except on your ‘Contact’ or ‘About Us’ page. It just takes up valuable characters where you could have put a keyword.
Here is an example, let’s say that your business is selling store fittings to store owners and you are creating a title for your home page. From your keyword research you have deduced that the following six key phrases are the most searched for and are the ones for which you will need to optimise your home page.
store fixtures, store display, retail display, retail fixtures, store displays, retail displays
The word frequency is as follows:
There are too many words so lets remove the plural ‘displays’ and one occurrence of each of the other words. This leaves us with:
Now it is a question of putting them in the correct order:
‘retail store display’ makes sense and has ‘retail display’ and ‘store display’ in the right order.
‘retail store fixtures’ also makes sense and has ‘retail fixtures’ and ‘store fixtures’ in the right order.
Combining the two we get:
retail store display and retail store fixtures
That’s 46 characters so we now need to find a good word or words to add at the end to make it read well.
That’s not easy but if we swap the two phrases around there are possibilities for example:
retail store fixtures and retail store display supplies
This sounds quite good and is under 60 characters so all we have to do now is capitalise in the right places and we get:
<title>Retail Store Fixtures and Retail Store Display Supplies</title>
Of course it goes without saying that you must have a different title element for each page.
If you now use the key phrases in your body text and make sure they are used in inbound link anchor text you will be well down the path of optimisation!