SEO Series: 10 Things Before the Spiders Come #1: Title Tags

SEO Series: 10 Things Before the Spiders Come #1: Title Tags

10 Things to do Before the Spiders Come

#1: Write Good Title Tags

Every week we'll give you a new lesson in Search Engine Optimization (SEO); so stay tuned. 

We all know the importance of making it easy for web crawlers to index your site. But did you know these important steps to take before the spiders come?

Tip #1: Check the Title Tags. In our opinion, creating great title tags can be one of the most valuable ways to help increase your SEO. Make sure you have relevant, keyword-rich title tags for each page on your site. This will make it easy for web browsers to search and display your website. Now let's discuss how to write a tag that Search Engines (and your customers) will love.

There are two competing forces pulling for your title tag's attention. First, the search engines use your title tag to help determine where in their engine your website fits. Second, your customers will see and use your title tag to help them determine if your site has what they're looking for and to remind them what your site is about when they see it in their bookmark list. A good title tag takes care of both.

First things first. You need to find some good keywords for your site. I'll write more about keywords later but for now just pick the top word that you can think of for your industry. What do people search for when they want what you've got? A very quick example would be a mortgage broker. Obviously, "mortgages" would be a great keyword. But, that's a very competitive term. If the broker only does business in Texas then "Texas Mortgages" would be even better. If that broker wanted to only focus on Austin then "Austin Texas Mortgages" would really narrow the field. More on this later. For now, let's work with "Austin Texas Mortgages" as our example term.

So, assuming you've got the best keywords, you just put that as the title and your done...right? If that's all you did then you'd be OK but you'd miss out on the full value that a title tag can bring. Let's start with that, though. Our title tag looks like this:

Austin Texas Mortgages

Now, that works for search engines but not so much for customers. Sure, they'll know that you sell mortgages but they may not remember which company. You always want them to remember who you are. So, you could do this:

My Mortgage Co | Austin Texas Mortgages

OK. That's Good for your customers but it moves the really good keywords out of the first position. (Search engines assume that the most important words come early in the title tag.) So, how about this?:

Get Austin Texas Mortgages at My Mortgage Co you're optimizing for the word "Get". Not so good. How about this:

Austin Texas Mortgages by My Mortgage Co

That's pretty good. The keywords are front and center and the company name is right out there where everyone can see it. You could also put a separator of some kind instead of the word "by". Like | or - . I think it's more of a personal preference than an important SEO point.

Now, go write your own!

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This article was published on Friday 27 July, 2007.
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