Building the Perfect Page - Part I - The Basics [webmasterworld.com] Title Element The page title element (some refer to it as the title tag which is incorrect) is one of the most important factors for ranking highly in the search engines. Page title elements are normally 3-9 words (60-80 characters) maximum in length, no fluff, straight and to the point. This is what shows up in most search engine results as a link back to your page. Make sure your Page Title Element (title tag) is relevant to the content on the page. References
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Building the Perfect Page - Part I - The Basics [webmasterworld.com]
The page title element (some refer to it as the title tag which is incorrect) is one of the most important factors for ranking highly in the search engines.
Page title elements are normally 3-9 words (60-80 characters) maximum in length, no fluff, straight and to the point. This is what shows up in most search engine results as a link back to your page.
Make sure your Page Title Element (title tag) is relevant to the content on the page.
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How important are <title> elements? Think of it this way - it is the single most important element on the page, bar none.
The <title> element is displayed in the browser title bar. It is displayed as a link to your site from the SERPs.
I think I've viewed over a million titles over the years, if not, it sure feels like it. After you've created so many, developing effective titles becomes second nature, it becomes habit.
I'm going to use a widget manufacturer in California as an example.
Platinum Widgets - Wholesale Prices from California Widget Manufacturing
Okay, we have a total of 72 characters and that includes spaces. I've stayed within the recommended limit as specified by the W3C. Remember, there really is no legal limit, there are only suggested limits based on research and testing.
Let's strip out all the fluff (ignored words) and we are left with 65 characters (includes spaces)...
Platinum Widgets Wholesale Prices California Widget Manufacturing
I've targeted quite a few phrases with the above title. The combination of terms that can be achieved is pretty amazing if you really sit and think about it. And now that our favorite SE (Google) is stemming, writing effective titles is even more important.
Lately I've been doing some research into the effects of stemming on page titles and the results are pretty awesome. In some instances, if you get the keyword phrase lined up just right, you can perform a 3 word search query and light that title up in the SERPs (bolded). Five word title, all five words bolded.
Since I work with quite a few regional clients, targeting cities, counties and the state overall is imperative. Without the local targeting, we'd be getting a lot of invalid click throughs from prospects that my clients could not service. We've been there done that.
You want to develop your title in a way where you are targeting your primary phrase for that page. Titles should always be unique for each page, no duplication. I've seen sites where the same title was shared across many pages. Guess what? Only one of those pages really did well in the SERPs and it was usually the home page. The other pages were pretty much invisible.
Look at your titles closely.
Do they captivate? Are they scan friendly? Are they SE friendly? What can you do to improve upon what you have?
If you have a page that is doing well (top ten), then don't touch it.
Leave it be until it slips to page two. Even then, be real careful about the changes you make. Usually a slight title tweak is all that is needed to bump it back into place. You may even want to look at adding a second keyword if it already isn't there.
Go for singular and plural versions in the title.
Use separators to break the title into sections. I like using hyphens, just looks nicer to me. I also like using proper upper and lower case. Years ago I did the all lower case thing because that is what was required to write effective SE friendly titles. These days, most major SEs are not case sensitive.
Brett has some statistics over at SEW that are somewhat dated but still hold true today. They did research on a wide spectrum of industries. From that research they presented title statistics. The shorter more succinct titles outperformed the longer ones. I believe that still holds true today.
Don't stuff a bunch of keywords in your title separated by commas.
Its one of the most unprofessional practices that I've seen and it doesn't work real well for scan friendliness.
DON'T USE ALL CAPS FOR YOUR TITLES.
Very difficult to read for many (proven statistic).
Don't put the company name at the beginning of every title.
Unless of course the company name happens to be the primary keyword phrase. If that is the case, you need to craft woven titles. You weave the company name from front, to middle, to back and then back to front.
Don't repeat keywords back to back.
Make sure there is balance and separation. Get at least one word between repeats and possibly even a separator. If it doesn't read well to you, then you've not crafted it effectively. Break it apart and do it again until you have something that reads well and is enticing to both user and bot.
Remember, your <title> element is the very first thing that the visitor will see, make sure it leaves a clicking impression.
[edited by: pageoneresults at 1:15 am (utc) on May 26, 2004]