Posted to Volacci's blog on August 4th, 2011

4 Ways to Optimize Title Tags: Page Title Optimization

title tag code.jpg

The title tag is and always has been one of the most important factors for on-page optimization. While there are no silver bullets in SEO -- not one single thing that will drive your entire site up in the rankings -- writing optimized title tags often generates quick and significant results.

Title tags appear in two visible places: The clickable text at the top of each result on the Search Engine Ranking Pages and at the top of your browser window. If you use Chrome, title tags aren’t readable to humans, but they are to search crawlers.

title tag optimization

title tag SEO

So how do you write a bada$$ title tag that will drive the girls...I mean the search engines...wild? Well, I’m glad you asked. Here are a few things you should do, and not do, every time you post new content on your site.

1. Do some quick keyword research for each page.
Using the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, perform some quick, Exact Match keyword research. Decide what your new page is about, jot down a few words you think would be widely searched and plug them into the Find Keywords field in the AdWords Tool. Make sure Exact Match is checked. Use the most-searched, most relevant results as that page’s keywords.

using AdWords keyword tool

2. Place keywords at the beginning of the title tag.
The search engine crawlers only read the first 70 characters of a title tag, so fill that 70 characters with keywords. Your brand should come last in the title tag because it’s better to optimize for highly searched keywords. Take a look at the screen shot below, which is the title tag from my last blog post.

title tag browser window

3. Avoid automating your title tags.
In various CMS platforms, it’s too easy to just use the headline of the page as the title tag. However, you should always manually write your title tags using the format above (Keyword - Keyword | Company Name]. In Drupal, install and configure the Page Title module to insert a title tag field into all of your content creation pages. This allows easy title tag insertion on every new page. Here’s how it looks in Drupal.

page title in drupal.jpg

4. Avoid duplicate title tags.
Pages that use the same title tag across several pages often see negative results. Title tags tell search crawlers what a page is about, but if multiple pages have the same title tag, they appear to be the same page. Make sure each page has specific keywords in the title tag, varied and arranged uniquely, as to avoid penalties for duplicate title tags.

If you would like to find out if your site currently has duplicate or missing title tags, login to your Google Webmaster Tools account, click on the Diagnostics link in the left menu, then click HTML Suggestions. See screen shot below.

duplicate title tags

Once you find out which pages are missing or have duplicate title tags, write new ones accordingly using the tips above.

Also, there are some people around here who might enjoy writing your title tags.