The “Head” section on each of your pages is valuable SEO real estate. In this area, you are promising the search engine what your page is about. This is vital is giving the information that the search engine will “want” to return your URL as an answer to user query. In this article we will discuss the “Title Tags”.
The Head section of a Web page should begin with the Title tag. The Title tag is considered one of the most important details of Web page construction as it relates to search engine optimization. It is intended to be an accurate summary of the content provided on that specific Web page. In other words, keywords that you use in page Titles should be used on their respective pages.
It is highly recommended that your Web pages incorporate unique and relevant Title tags. Duplicating Title tags across multiple pages suggests to the search engines that your page content is also duplicated. Similar pages will inevitably share similar Titles, but we recommend you use unique words wherever possible, and only duplicate keywords that are essential to your site.
Guidelines for Keyword Usage and Length in Page Titles
In general, Title tags should be between 6 and 12 words in length, not including stop words such as “but,” “the,” “and” and so on. The maximum number of times any particular word should be used is twice. However, you should not repeat keywords simply for the sake of repeating keywords. Words should only be repeated if your intention is to simultaneously optimize multiple phrases that share some words but are ordered in such a way that it is not possible for you to string them together as one phrase.
Another thing to consider in terms of keyword usage within Title tags is that Titles rendered in Google search engine results pages are limited to approximately 70 characters. Through recent testing we have been able to confirm that any words in the Title that end beyond that character limit are heavily discounted as Title tag content by Google, while Yahoo! and Bing count all words.
It’s also worth noting that Google and the other search engines generally bold the keywords that were part of a user’s query in the search results. The likelihood of a click-through to your site increases if the user sees their keyword bolded in your search engine listing. For both of these reasons, we suggest using your high-priority keywords near the beginning of page Title tags.
We realize that most sites have only so many landing pages to work with, which makes it impossible to include in a page Title with all of the keyword phrases you would like to rank for. There is simply not enough room in Title tags to use all phrases exactly as they might be searched.
In general, within any given page’s Title, you will want to use the exact phrases that are the highest priority on that page. You should then supplement those exact phrases with parts of (i.e., words contained within) additional phrases that you are also trying to optimize that particular page for.
When you are writing Title tags or setting up database-driven Title tag structures, keep the following length and keyword-usage guidelines in mind. Title tags are extremely important — so much so that if you want a page to rank for a particular keyword phrase (even if it’s only moderately competitive), then you must under no circumstances neglect to include that phrase in the page Title tag. However, you will want to avoid keyword stuffing. The following guidelines will keep you out of trouble while allowing you to optimize your page Titles as much as possible.
Important Points to Remember
- High-priority keyword phrases that you are trying to optimize an intended landing page for must be used in the Title tag for optimal rankings to be possible.
- Use the exact phrases you are trying to optimize for, paying attention to word order and use of stop words.
- Supplement these exact phrases with words from additional phrases that you’re trying to optimize the page with.
- Make sure that keywords targeted in page Titles actually represent the topic of their respective page.
- Do not use keywords or phrases more than once in page Titles without a specific optimization purpose. This will help to avoid keyword stuffing.
- Do not exceed 12 words in length. This length guideline does not include stop words.
- Do not use any individual word more than twice under any circumstances.
- Keep high-priority keywords within the first 70 characters of your Titles.