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Title Tag Optimisation

00:00 on Thu, 28 May 2009 | SEO | 0 Comments

What’s a “Title Tag”?

Cast your eyes to the top left of your browser. The area where it shows the webpage title. Yep, you guessed it, that’s the title tag.
 

Title Tag
Youtube Title Tag

 

Why is a title tag so important?

Well, it is one of the ways Google can tell what that particular page is about. So for example, if the page was about felt tip pens you wouldn’t put “mature cheeses” because that’s not what the page is about.

Imagine you’re leafing through a thick book on human anatomy trying to find the page you want. If each of the chapters in the book were just labeled “Human Anatomy” followed by the chapter number, I’m sure you’d have a pretty hard time searching for your page. But if each chapter or sub-chapter were labelled with relevant text such as “The Hand” or “The Liver – a fava bean accompaniment” you would know which page to turn to.

 

Kid reading a book
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lfabresm/

 

It’s the same with the search engines. Without properly specifying the title tag, the search engines will have no way of telling what words they should rank your page for.

Making sure the title tag for a particular page is keyword optimised is one of the ways you can help in rank for the keyterms you want.

Keyword targeting

It’s not enough just to write what you think the page is about in the title tag though. You need to think about what keyterms to target. For example, even if your site is about “cool felt tip pens” and you put that term in the title tag, which Google then ranks your page in the top 10 search results for. If there aren’t any searches for that term in the first place, you won’t get much increase in traffic.

So if we use the Google keyword tool to find the number of searches for “felt tip pens” and related terms we get:

Keyterm                  Number of Searches per month (G UK)
felt tip pens 2900
marker pens 1900
magic markers 880
felt tip pen 720
magic marker 590
felt tip marker 46
black felt tip pen 22
cool felt tip pens No data

 

As can be seen from the table above, “felt tip pens” gets the greatest number of searches at 2900 per month, followed by “marker pens” at 1900. Both terms are alternative names for the same product. Note that the number of searches for “felt tip pens” contrasts sharply with the singular term “felt tip pen”. I guess this is because people buy felt tip pens in a set rather than individually. Depending on the search term, the plural or singular versions of the same term will get a different volume of searches so it’s worth checking the number of searches for each keyterm rather than going with what you think might be popular.

Interestingly enough, the only felt tip pen colour people have been searching for which is of note is “black felt tip pen”. I guess as far as felt tip pens go, black is still in vogue.

The Search Engine

The search engine will assign a greater weighting to keywords which come first in the title tag. Let’s say you want your felt tip pen company – Cool Feltz to rank for it’s own name, you would give it precedence the title tag. So the title tag will be written like this: “Cool Feltz – Felt Tip Pens, Marker Pens”

Note we’re giving “Felt Tip Pens” priority over “Marker Pens” because it’s got more searches.

Make sure however, that when you’re optimising the title tags that you don’t repeat the same keyterms over multiple pages. This is called keyword cannibalisation and will confuse the search engines on which page to rank for that particular keyterm.

Another common mistake people sometimes make is placing all the keyterms they want to rank for on the same page. In this case, the weighting each keyterm is given is diluted since it is shared between all the keyterms. In addition, it tends to look spammy. Try to limit the number of keyterms to just several per page.

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