Writing Title Tags for SEO
November 3rd, 2014 by Bob Ottaway
One of the great myths about SEO is that more content is the magic bullet that will assuage any of your page ranking woes. While robust and high-quality on-page content is a vital part of getting to Page One on Google, it cannot be the only weapon you bring to the fight. SEO elements such as title tags, meta descriptions and H1s are equally as important, and just like writing content, there are right and wrong ways to do SEO. Today, we focus on title tags.Google uses more than 200 algorithms to determine which sites to highlight and what gets ranked on which pages in their search results. Most of them are kept secret, but one they do make known is in regard to title tags. Title tags are SEO elements that exist to tell the people at Google what a particular page on a website is about. Open up a tab on your Internet browser, and the text appearing in the top of the chrome or in the tab itself is the title tag.How exactly they are written will depend on who you talk to, but we believe you should start by asking “What is the main point of this page?” Once you’ve figured that out, the next step is to determine if there is more than one way to say it. Additional aspects to consider would be where your company is located, and the name of your company as well. Following this formula will help ensure you get more authority in search results across the board.For example, if you are a moving and storage company in Detroit, the title tags on your homepage might read like this:
Movers | Moving Companies | Moving and Storage Company | Detroit Moving Companies | (Insert brand name here)
If Google was analyzing that title tag, they would be able to see exactly what the page is about and what market the company is serving. Keep in mind, best practices for title tags typically say they should be 70 characters in length, and that brand name should appear last.A common mistake made when creating title tags, is that too often people stray from these guidelines and create tags that are indirect. Remember, your goal here is to NOT confuse Google, so make your title tags as discrete as possible. In this sense, discrete does not mean under the radar, but rather, separate. The language of both your SEO and on-page content needs to be focused and on-point. You don’t want to spam your page with tags of all of your different services or products.Again, using the example of a moving and storage company, here is how not to write title tags:
Moving Company | Storage | Self-storage | Local Moves | (Insert brand name here)
If Google were looking at this title tag, they wouldn’t be able to discern whether this page was about storage, self-storage (there’s a difference) or local moves. Consequently, this page would be ranked lower than one that used the example above.Perhaps most importantly, do NOT use duplicate content when writing title tags. The algorithms Google uses to analyze content are very sophisticated, and just as with on-page content, if you copy and paste or plagiarize, they will punish you for it. And if you think Google isn’t reading everything you publish, trust me, they are. Duplicate content will only be detrimental to your ranking, and the reality is, there is no substitute for buckling down and doing the creative work necessary to get to Page One.I hope this serves as a good introduction to creating effective title tags for your site. Stay tuned for our next blog and here’s to more sales!