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SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag

Use good title tagsWe continue the SEO Tips series today with a discussion on the HTML “Title” tag.  If you have read much about SEO, you probably already know that this little piece of code is one of the most important parts of your pages.  The recent SEO Ranking Factors survey named keyword use in titles tags as the second most important thing you can do to improve your rankings.  Unlike in the popular song we used to sing around campfires, where my name was your name too (Da, da, da, da, da, da, da), page titles MUST all be unique for them to be effective.

If you are using WordPress, or almost any of the other CMS tools, your HTML page titles are probably the same as your post titles.  Having both titles match is not necessarily bad, but you could get better results if you mixed them up some.

Using a CMS does help eliminate one of the biggest problems I see on the ‘net when it comes to page titles.  All too often companies ignore them, or put in something that may make sense to them, but actually does more harm than good.  Why create a title that just says “home page” or “products?”  Sure, it does tell you what page of the site you are on.  However, it does nothing to tell you or (more importantly in this case) the search engines what content that page contains.  Think about the book example I’ve used in the past – what if every book you looked at had just “the cover” written on the front of it.  It’d make selecting a good one a bit more difficult.

Another common mistake is that too many site owners just insert the name of their company on every page as the title.  What’s the point in that?  If you are a known brand, your content should already rank for your name.  If you are an unknown brand, who will know to search for your name?  I’m not saying you can’t include your company name in page titles, but if you must, please put it near the end.

When determining a page title it’s best to consider the content of the page and then try to imagine how a person might describe it. Often, that’s also how they would search for it.

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For example, if your company name is “Smith & Associates” and you sell real estate in New Castle, Colorado you should try something like “Real Estate in New Castle, Colorado – Smith & Associates”, or perhaps “New Castle Home Listings – New Castle, Colorado – Smith & Associates Real Estate”.  This helps you be found for what you do, where you do it and who you are.  If you can fit in alternative terms, like I did in the second example – I used both “home listings” and “real estate” – that will boost the odds of being found as well.  For interior pages, consider adding additional details based on the style and neighborhood of the home being shown on the page.  Perhaps a title like “Ranch Style Home – Big Creek – New Castle, Colorado – Smith & Associates Real Estate” would be a good match for your page.

A word of caution though; while there is no limit as to how long a page title can be, the search engines will only display approximately the first 65 characters (including spaces) and will cut off the rest, possibly resulting in an odd looking title being displayed for your pages.  In general, you should try to get your most important words as close to the beginning as possible.  The search engines will read the entire thing, but since search engines try to mimic humans, and since most humans only get a few words in before they stop reading, the engines place greater strength on those words nearer the beginning.  You can see from this example what happened when I set one of my page titles a little too long.

move page not lose page rank long title

OK , there you have it.  Now you can get started reviewing and updating your page titles.  Let me know how it works out for you.

In our next SEO Tip we’ll talk about the META Description tag and how its best used…or not used.

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Written By

Jack Leblond is a SEO/SEM professional working for a large corporation full time in Austin, TX. He is not a Realtor, he is our in-house SEO expert. Jack is the Director of Internet Strategy and Operations for TG (www.tgslc.org). In addition to managing the team that develops and maintains the company's multiple Web sites, he focuses on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), e-marketing and Social Media. Jack's background ranges from Submarine Sonar Technician/Instructor for the United States Navy, technical writer, pioneer in internet/intranet creation for McGraw-Hill and Times Mirror Higher Education, former Adjunct Professor for two Universities teaching web-related courses, has served as a city council member and co-founded Net-Smart, a web design and hosting company, where he managed networks and oversaw the development of hundreds of Web sites. As a free-lance SEO consultant, Jack performs SEO Site Audits for small/medium businesses that want their web sites to perform better in the search engine listings.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Doug Francis

    September 19, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I came across the “All in One SEO Pack” plugin from Michael Torbert when I was trying to understand this topic for my WordPress blog, which is really easy to work on with each post.

    It adds an extra section in the “Edit Post” page. You get to create the Title, Description, and add keywords refined to each post… which I try and do. And, you can go back if you feel that you have left out a keyword or description to add it later!

  2. Debbie Woodall

    September 20, 2009 at 1:39 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG AgentGenius https://bit.ly/13Hu2f

  3. Amos Henry

    September 20, 2009 at 3:20 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius https://bit.ly/4zNWjR

  4. FamilyHOMES4You

    September 20, 2009 at 3:22 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius: If you can fit in alternative terms, like.. https://bit.ly/2bNL6s

  5. SeoEliT

    September 20, 2009 at 3:27 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius: We continue the SEO Tips series today wit.. https://bit.ly/17rCsf

  6. Sergey Lorens

    September 20, 2009 at 4:03 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius https://bit.ly/mhe56

  7. Mango Tree Online

    September 20, 2009 at 4:29 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius https://bit.ly/17rCsf

  8. Kevin Peterson

    September 20, 2009 at 4:38 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius: All too often companies ignore them, or p.. https://bit.ly/17rCsf

  9. Charles Galati

    September 20, 2009 at 6:19 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius https://bit.ly/y3Qi8

  10. Arbor Search

    September 20, 2009 at 8:23 am

    SEO Tip – Using the Title Tag | Real Estate Opinion MAG – AgentGenius: For example, if your company name is “Smi.. https://bit.ly/a6TFA

  11. Portland Real Estate

    September 21, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    SEO is an ongoing commitment, the more time you spend on it and the more tricks you pick up the better off you are. Think of it as a hobby (as unfortunate as that sounds) and you will be more consistent with it.

    -Tyler

  12. Matt Stigliano

    September 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Jack – So if I’m using All In One SEO Pack, should I be titling my posts differently (on the All In One SEO Pack side of things) from the tile that I use that actually appears on my blog? If so, I’ve got it all wrong in the past – time to play catch up. I had assumed that by doubling the title, I might be doubling my keyword effectiveness.

  13. Jack Leblond

    September 22, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Matt – Using the “All in one” is a great way to slip in some additional keyword variations. It’s not a must for every post, but should be considered on many. Take a look at the link below for more info.

    https://agentgenius.com/real-estate-coaching-tutorials/wordpress/optimize-page-titles-headline-and-urls/

  14. Coldwell Banker FL

    September 25, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    SEO Tip – Using Title Tags and how to make them work for you: https://ow.ly/r5Mv

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