Tuesday, 1 May 2012

SEO–Creating Effective Title Tags

Without SEO, and no matter how attractive your website is it will underperform and miss out on relevant and targeted traffic.

SEO is not, as some would have you think, a dark art.  It is made up of a lot of different activities from alt tags to backlinks, but the most important of all is without a doubt your Title Tag, which forms the cornerstone.  This is the absolute basis because your title tags not only make your site look much better, adding an intelligent title to your page, but it drives clicks to your website and influences your ranking on Google search.

The first thing you have to get your head around is your keyword research, which is where many come to a halt.  Keyword research is what finds you relevant words and phrases that the outside world is looking for and you cannot write effective title tags without it.  The Google keyword tool is free so it is well worth getting to know this if you don’t already, and then using it religiously before you write any content for your website.

Identifying key words and phrases can take a while but there is no quick fix and this work needs to be done if you are going to have a website that works effectively.  You can employ someone to do it for you, or you can do it yourself, but it’s an essential task.

Setting up your Title Tags.

Once you’ve worked on your keywords you’re now ready to create your title tags. 

You need to create tags that can be read in their entirety, in other words the entire tag can be viewed at the top of your browser, so keep them short, to no more than around 63 characters.

They should be both keyword rich and interesting and there is often a conflict between the two in people’s minds. But this will achieve more clicks to your website and also higher rankings, so consider both when you’re writing and don’t just ‘keyword stuff’.

You cannot use the same title tag on every page of your website – does that sound obvious?  You would be amazed at the number of clients’ websites I visit for the first time who are doing just that, either because that is the way the developer set up the website or because they haven’t had the time to go in and change them.  Quite simply it looks unprofessional and it won’t help your rankings either.

Put your most searched for keywords or phrases at the front of your title tag – don’t worry about your brand name, the likelihood is that, unless you’re extremely well known, people will be searching for a product and not for you.

Make sure that your keywords are relevant to the page they’re related to.  People and Google look for relevancy.  If they don’t find what they’re looking for on each page they’ll leave in a flash, so forget the number of searches for a specific product or service if it doesn’t relate to that particular page.  Those keywords will not help you at all.

Should you brand your title tags?  There are varying schools of thought about this one.  They boil down in the main to yes for category and sub category pages, where your brand name should go at the end of each tag to encourage recognition, and no for product pages.  With regards to your home page it is up to you whether it should go at the start or at the end.  But the choice is yours.

Always remember that people are more likely to be searching for brands or products (or services), and probably not specifically for you, so the hero in your title tags is your keywords.
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