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 


1 opmerking:

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