If you were to only change one thing on your web pages to help in your efforts with search engine placement and results, it would have to be your HTML Title tag. The HTML title tag contains the textual information located in the top blue bar on a standard web browser.
For standard Internet Explorer users, it is found here:
Title tags represent the following important components related to search engine optimization:
- They represent the main idea that a web page is suppose to convey for visitors
- Link text in search results is usually driven from the title tag information
- User bookmarks (IE favorites) default to title tag information as well
Considerations as it relates to creating effective title tags:
- Title tags should be no longer than 80 characters (including empty spaces). We strongly recommend no longer than 65 characters, as that seems to be the average value of character space for the major engines.
- The title still needs to be relevant to the content found on the page. Simply using creative titling will not provide you permanent improvement in search results.
- At minimum, the primary keyword for the applicable web page should be incorporated into the title tag. If it is appropriate, a secondary keyword can be added as well (see next item)
- While titles do not have to be a complete grammatical sentence, we discourage the use of a basic keyword list (example: keyword 1, keyword 2, keyword 3), simply because the title is what is going to drive users to click a search result.
- Well crafted title tags are often included in passive inbound links - those valuable links you don't ask for, but a webmaster gives because the title is useable, the content is valuable, and the connection for their user base is easy to identify.
- Well crafted title tags not only include keywords for SEO, but read well for the customer, user or visitor that you want to get quality traffic from.
- However, we strongly discourage the use of superlatives and sales gimmics when writing title tags, unless the page is specifically designed to solicit a user action (such as an insurance quote, or promotional sales campaign).
In conclusion, proper use of the HTML title tag is a critical component of basic SEO. Effective title tags not only identify targeted web page content for search engines, but also solicit quality visitor traffic, links and click thru's.