For SEO, Write Unique and Accurate Titles

By Steve Hoenisch

Describe Your Page's Content with a Concise, Compelling Title

Writing a unique, accurate title and placing it in the HTML header of your web page is a key step in the process of search engine optimization, or SEO. The header of every web page that you want to optimize for SEO should contain a title that summarizes the content of the page in a few compelling words. This article describes how to use a title to optimize content-based web pages, as opposed to menu pages and home pages, to improve your natural search results.

The title goes in the title tag within the HTML head element near the beginning of the page's code, like this:

<html>
 <head>
 <title>A Snappy, Descriptive Title </title>
 ...
</head>
<body>
 ...

Examples of snappy, descriptive titles abound in the headlines of mass-circulation newspapers such as The New York Times. Just as with a newspaper headline, the text in your title is tailored to represent exactly what the content of your page is about. -- not what your web site is about. It's all too easy to use the same title for every page in your web site, but it's a critical mistake that will undermine your SEO efforts.

A good newspaper headline draws the attention of readers. The same applies to the titles that appear in a search engine's list of results. A good title will make people want to view the web page.

It's also a good idea to limit the text of your title to no more than about 66 characters, including spaces. In the search results of the world's most important search engine, Google, the text in the title tag is cut off after 66 characters and replaced with an ellipsis.

Typically, the text in your title tag should match or closely resemble the first heading, preferably set in the H1 tag, that you display on your web page, or be a shortened version of your first heading if it is longer than 66 characters.

Summary

  • Every web page should include a title to help optimize the page for search engines.

  • The title text appears in the title tag within the HTML head tag of your HTML document.

  • The title accurately and concisely describes what the page is about in plain language.

  • The title is unique -- it represents the content of the page and not something else, like the theme of your web site or the name of your company or product. Do not use generic titles. The title of each web page in a web site is specific to the content of that page.

  • The title's text is no more than 66 characters, including spaces

  • The text in the title tag is identical to or closely resembles the text of the page's first heading.

    The title is compelling: It makes people who see the title in search results want to view the web page.

Following these simple rules can help improve your web page's ranking in search engines such as Google and Bing.

--Steve Hoenisch

Related

Document Icon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Techniques


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