maandag 8 september 2014

The importance of the TITLE tag

TITLE tag and SEO 

I would like to underline the importance of document titles here for good search engine results. The title of a document is still one of the more important HTML optimizations that can be performed quite easily by yourself. The examples I have here are totally random and contain some snapshots from the search results of used for the search keyword "bloemen" (translated: ”flowers”). 

By laxity, laziness or just ignorance, the TITLE tag is still often not applied properly. The TITLE tag is in the head of the document. In the source code of the document it looks like this: 

<title> Flowers on Location, floral styling of events - Amsterdam </ title> 
</ head> 

In the search results that looks like this:

The TITLE tag is also displayed in the tab in the browser window and sometimes in the top bar of the browser.

The TITLE tag is important for several reasons: 

  1. Advertising. The TITLE is literally showing up  as the first line in the search engine results. It is like the sign of your shop, and thus a free advertising opportunity. 
  2. Ranking factor. Search engines still attach great importance to this meta tag. The TITLE tag is supposed to give one a good idea of the content of the webpage. This relevance of the title is still an important factor for ranking a page. 
  3. Keyword. The keywords that match the words in the TITLE tag are shown in bold in the search engine results. 
  4. Navigation. Navigability for visitors via the tabs in the browser. The TITLE tag is indeed visible in the tab of the open document in the browser window. 
  5. Branding. The TITLE can represent a brand. For example, the brand name processed in each TITLE tag, in order to achieve more recognisability of the brand 

All these above reasons, should be enough for you to now open your CMS and provide all the documents with a relevant TITLE tag. But do not do that just yet, I'll tell you a little more about how a good TITLE tag looks like, and what should be in it.

The ideal length of a TITLE tag 

A TITLE tag has, ideally, no more than 60 characters. Around 60 characters, the title is generally broken down. That looks like this:

Too short of a TITLE is not really recommended. A waste of all that free advertising space in the search results that Google gives you.

Best Practice is to just avoid the TITLE from breaking down in the Snippet. Utilize all the space there is to entice the visitor to click on your site.

Now you might think, but if I do a lot of keywords in my TITLE tag and make him extra-long. But then you compromise the relevance that these terms generate for your page. That relevance is fading rapidly, as the keyword is further away from the first position in the TITLE tag. 

The ideal content of a TITLE tag 

The content of your TITLE tag should closely represent the content of your respective web page. The TITLE tag must therefore be relevant. This is simply a requirement to score high in the rankings, and has to do with various logarithmic ranking factors. So don’t sell any nonsense. 

Furthermore, it is recommended that you incorporate Keywords or key phrases into your TITLE tag. In any case, you should use your two main keywords or your best key phrases from the relevant page. The snippet below is a perfect example of the use of two key phrases in the TITLE tag.

Also work on your branding by mentioning your company name. Generally stated, first your keywords, then your brand. Unless your brand is already very established, and through this awareness also may pose for extra Clicks among searchers.

The importance of keywords in the TITLE tag regarding your ranking dilutes, as the keywords themselves are located further away in the TITLE. So place the keywords that you most want to rank for first in the TITLE tag.

The visual composition of the TITLE tag 

In your TITLE tag make frequent use of capital letters, and possibly a punctuation mark such as an exclamation point or question mark. But not overdo it. It should not look too loud. For example, only give nouns or your keywords uppercase. 

Better this:

Then this:

If you want to separate certain keywords from each other, do it subtly, e.g. by pipeline | between each of the words. This increases the readability of the TITLE and is not distracting. 

Do not use _ underscore, NEVER. Underscore is not seen by Google as a separator and Google therefore interprets the whole as one word. For example Flowers_Plants_Trees is seen as the independent noun FlowersPlantsTrees. Widely accepted and commonly used separators are the space, the minus sign - the pipeline |. Again not overdo the delimiters:

I personally prefer the Pipeline or the minus sign for subtlety in the separation of keywords. I prefer to avoid the comma, colon or semicolon, this in my opinion does not promote the readability and attractiveness of the text. Decide for yourself which TITLE promotes for better reading.

The TITLE tag so still has great utility in the field of Search Engine Optimization, and may better not be overlooked. 

Robert Wiebenga 


The five pillars of SEO

The five pillars of SEO

SEO currently rests on five pillars. Five key areas that the webmaster can optimize to reach higher rank in search engine results. 

  1. Website Structure 
  2. Content 
  3. Link Building 
  4. Social Media 
  5. Strategy (Web analytics) 

Below I will deal more extensively with these five areas. Of course the hand of SEO reaches far beyond these five areas. But in essence, you can still include many things amongst these five pillars. I have placed Web analytics under Strategy, one could argue that this is a separate pillar, given the importance in SEO web analytics.

Website Structure

Under site structure, I understand in general all technical issues related to the website.

This includes for example, the directory structure. The directory structure of a website should definitely not go too deep, much deeper as three layers of the root is not recommended. The best way in SEO directory structure is fairly flat, with a short line to the root directory.

Often this structure is also referred to as a category structure, with a Category e.g. Dog and a Subcategory e.g. Chunks. 
Food (Home)> Dog> Chunks. 

Under site structure I also gather the concepts of: 

Domain name: the length in characters, the relevance to the keyword level, yes or no parameters in the URL.

Source: The general state of the HTML code, and more specifically the Headers.

Speed: The loading speed of a web page. (Think of compression of the HTML and CSS itself, photos, JavaScript).

Rich Snippets: Making portions of the content more readable and recognizable for the search engines using e.g. Micro data. These include things like events, addresses and product details.


To advertise yourself or your business well on the internet, it is vital to know your own. Identity What makes you or your product so much better than the other? What is your unique value? In marketing terms, this is often referred to as USP (Unique Selling Point).

It certainly cannot hurt you or your company to brainstorm about it. Through this brainstorming you stumble upon the keywords most important to you. Keywords are words that are very effectively displaying your USP, and so you generally want to rank high in search engine results with these words.

It is also important to incorporate the right keywords in the text. Not too much, and in the right places, think of titles and headings, so the search engines get a clear picture of the content and intention of your website.

A website stands or falls with good content. The content of a website should be up-to-date, interesting and relevant. It is therefore essential for a website to conquer a position of authority within its niche and to preserve it. Authority is something you generally get when other similar sites link to your site, on relevant topics within your niche.

To get these links from others, the contents of your site in the first place should be of a high standard and an appealing character. Others have to put a link to your site on their own accord, because it adds something. So the content must deliver added value and not be more of the same.

Because the links are not obtained of robots, but of humans, the content should be written with the human user in mind. People love pictures, movies and other moving and entertaining media, which interrupt a long text. Concern yourself therefore that you have enough of this within your content. These interruptions keep their attention and increase the link ability of your content. Who does not like to link to a relevant funny video, to share recent technical knowledge with his colleagues or peers?

Link Building

Link Building has already been mentioned in the content above, and it is also quite inseparable of the content of your website. Link Building is actively trying to obtain high quality links to your website / content You can do this in many ways, but it requires a lot of effort and sometimes very little result, which is somewhat specific to link building. Two steps forward and one step back, if you’re lucky;).

Link Building includes the following items (and probably a lot more):

  • Logging in quality directories on the Internet.
  • Links obtained through direct connections, for example through your own network.
  • Links obtained through mailing campaigns and other marketing activities.
  • Viral Links because your content is shared in many instances, e.g. Social Media.
  • Links because of the newsworthiness of your content, for example because of press releases.
  • Links obtained by the added value of your content, for example an interview that you publish with a known leading figure in your niche.

Links are still an important ingredient in the logarithms that search engines use to estimate. Importance of a website Google indicates this scale with the term PageRank. The higher the PageRank, the higher the ranking in search engine results. As you can see above, link building requires a fairly intensive approach and moreover it is an ongoing process. You should always try to expand your link network. In part this happens naturally, think of the normal networking you already did for your business. And for another part you can schedule link building as a part of your business activities or you could outsource. Leaving link building aside is not an option, if you want to rise in the results pages.

Social Media

About Social Media is a lot and very little to say. You need it, use it and do this in the most professional manner possible. Use every social channel in a manner for which it was intended, so do not do it very amicably on LinkedIn and not super professional on Facebook.

Incorporate within your Social Media communications your keywords and proclaim your USP. Do this with care, otherwise it looks more like spamming. But if it so fits the situation do not hesitate to mention your product pages or website address.
Try where possible to unite and to plan your social activities, so that you minimize any time lost and still leave a good impression.

Portals come and go, Google Plus, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Flickr, Stumble Upon, Delicious, are currently important channels that you can employ. Use them according to their relevance to your website. A photographer will be much more active on Flickr, and a representative in medical instruments, for example, will have a lot more interest in LinkedIn.

All these social connections and signals are becoming clearer and more useful for the search engines to determine the importance of a website. Good use of Social Media will certainly have an effect on your position in search engine results.

Marketing Strategy (Web analytics)

Marketing is in addition to applications within your Content (USP, keywords, etc ...), even more strongly into play in setting a good strategy to play the digital market and conquer it. In addition, you need the correct data. Correct data Such a strategy can only be set up by thorough research and the results obtained therefrom. Understanding your visitors and their behavior is important.

Many tools for this are free like Google Analytics, Google AdWords keyword tool, Google Webmaster Tools and Bing. Beyond that, think of Link analysis tools like Moz, Ahrefs and Majestic SEO, this often have free accounts and more extensive paid accounts.

All of these tools can provide you the data to make decisions about how to proceed. Do you need more links, or there is still much room for improvement on the technical field. What does your competition do, and how to best compete with them. The tools give you a handle to make the right decisions, at the right time.

You decide how far you go in these analyzes, and whether you are using only free or also paid tools. It is important that you interpret the data consistent, so you do not compare apples with pears.


I hope to have made the picture of SEO and the pillars that SEO is based upon slightly clearer. Of course there are many more areas of SEO you can focus on. Like Local SEO and "verticals" as Video SEO, SEO News and Blogs. Yet all of these things, often include one or more components of these five key pillars of SEO.

Robert Wiebenga 


Blog about SEO and SEA

My First Blog about SEO and SEA

Robert Wiebenga SEO
Hello everyone, my name is Robert Wiebenga. I was more or less by chance introduced to SEO, while making the website for my wife. She is also a visual artist and wanted to present her artwork to a broad public through her own website. When I read the single paragraph about SEO, available in my self-study handbook: “how to develop websites", I was sold to the subject of SEO immediately.

I started this blog to share my knowledge about SEO and related issues. With who? With everyone. I believe that by sharing, the knowledge of SEO will increase get more refined, and everyone is the wiser, including me.

Moreover, I also think that by sharing, the SEO field will become more transparent and accessible for many people moving on to the digital highway. Also the hint of negativity, which is somewhat related to SEO can be largely eliminated by open communication. I also try with my posts to help DIY’s in this area.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is intended to reach the widest possible interested public, on search engine portals like Google, Bing and Yahoo !, in an organic way (without ads). And dish up this interested audience what they are looking for. And hopefully are willing to buy from you.

The trade will increasingly shift from physical trading to internet trading. Who buys his books in a genuine bookstore these days. Just go to or if you are feeling lucky try E-bay for even cheaper alternatives... Offers are checked and compared on the Internet, before a foot is put. in a physical store and real purchase decisions are increasingly made in advance on the internet. Comparison Sites Rule nowadays.

The Sky is The Limit

This shift is not all doom and gloom, but also offers many new possibilities. Opportunities to bring your products to the attention of a much larger audience You can much better profile your products through various technical highlights on the Internet. Lower costs for storage and staff. Enter into direct competition with the big boys. Opportunities to give your store or product locally much more attention and create a much larger market than was previously possible. International trading is suddenly a lot closer. And so on...

Whoever plays smart, embraces the changes and uses the power of himself and the power of others on the internet. Creativity has been given a huge boost by portals like Pinterest, Flickr, Instagram, Stumble Upon and Social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. People can share their ideas and creations in various ways and make them public to the world in very simple ways. Meanwhile, they can also make money from the traffic on their website, by placing advertising on their site and through smart affiliate partnerships. The Sky is the Limit.

The Sky is The Limit

That change provides opportunities to anyone who connects to the Internet with a website or a blog, to reach a growing audience of sympathetic buyers. But then you have to profile yourself in a good way, and the public should be able to find you of course.


There you touch the field of SEO and SEA. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to rank well in search engine results like Google, and SEA (Search Engine Advertising) to be somewhat more active in trying to pick up your potential customer. These areas have the last ten years only grown in size and importance in respect to regular marketing activities. Probably the budgets and applications of SEO and SEA will continue to grow for quite some time to come.

I often hear people say that it will not be so bad with this shift. I want to warn these people, not to confuse these signals with the aftermath of the global crisis. Above signals we have to see, in my opinion, as the effects of globalization and digitization of society, and not just a crisis that will pass again.

Entrepreneurs often underestimate the importance of SEO and SEA for their own company. "If I have a website and social media account, then they will find me.", I hear too often.

A lot of Sand
I compare it myself with a grain of sand in a huge desert. Your website is the grain of sand, you competition the desert. It is hard in such a desert, to give yourself and your product, the attention it deserves.

I hope this first post, made the importance of SEO and SEA a little clearer.In the future I will share more and more posts of this beautiful fields, on the dividing line between Marketing and Technology.

I will surely sometimes share things that will sound familiar to people who are already working with SEO and SEA, but for newcomers on the other hand might be a real eye-opener.

Feel free to comment on my posts, and if it deserves a response back, I will definitely do this. But I do not necessarily guarantee a timely response.

Robert Wiebenga