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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Search Engine Optimization: <Title> Tag Tips

When it comes to SEO, the meta title tag is one of the most important factors influencing search engine ranking algorithms. Search engines use the title tag to provide a link to the site matching the user's search. Fixing a site’s title tag can lead to higher rankings and provide a fast and effective way to increase your search engine rankings.

How long should a <title> tag be?

According to the W3C, there is no limit to the size of a webpage title; however, you should keep your webpage title to less than 64 characters. Most search engine results pages have a maximum number of characters they will display before the title is truncated. Google will display up to 69 Characters, Bing will display up to 65 Characters, and Yahoo display up to 72 Characters – and "yes" spaces count.

What should be in <title> tag?

Your title tag should be well written, properly identify the theme of that particular page, and include one or several of your most important keyword(s). Your most important keyword(s) should appear in the beginning of the title tag, and also appears in a heading tag or bold at the top of the page. To save space and speed up searching, some search engines exclude common words or "stop words" from their index. You should avoid using stop words in your title tag, such as 'The', 'or', 'in', 'it'.

Lets look at a fictitious Maryland painting company, ABC Painting that would like to optimize their website for searches relevant to painting contractors in Maryland:

Some keywords that may be of interest would be:

Maryland Painting Contractors, MD Painting Contractors, House Painting Contractor Serving Maryland

Using the keywords above, we would consider the following titles for the home page;
  • Title #1: Maryland Painting Contractors | ABC Painting
  • Title #2: Painting Contractor Serving Maryland | ABC Painting
  • Title #3: Maryland House Painting | ABC Painting
Keep your title tags unique and original.

Remember, title tags are used by search engines to classify and process your website content. Using different keyword(s) or phrases in your title tags that properly identify the theme of that particular page will provide a fast and effective way to increase your search engine rankings.

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