SEO best practices – valid title tags

In this article we will look at the title tag and look at what to do and what not to do with it, and we confirm the difference lengths used by Yahoo and Google.

What is the Title Tag?

The title tag is the second most powerful part of your webpage after your meta description tag. The title tag is defined in HTML as the following.

<title>Your page title</title>
This gives the reader of your website page an idea of what your page is about.

What ever is placed between the two tags will appear at the top of your page in the browser window or browser tab. The title of you page will also appear as the headline in the search engine results.

How to use a title tag?

The title tag is typically placed within the head section of the webpage and usually in the first line after the open head tag.  

Example

<head>
<title>Jasmine’s Chinese Takeaway Ashford Kent</title>
</head>

The title tag is one of the best places to attract you audience, search engines and search engine spiders.

To help your search engine optimization, a title tag should be a descriptive sentence that describes your business, organisation, or the topic or article that you are publishing.

It certainly must contain your top keywords and at the same time make sense to the reader. If it doesn’t make sense the reader will just ignore it. Search engines will also ignore it and possibly ear mark it as spam.

Example of good title tag

<title>Jasmine’s Chinese Takeaway Ashford Kent</title>

As you can see the above title will be shown in the search results and at the top of the browsers window or tab.

The title also includes the business name which includes the top keywords such as Chinese takeaway, and a location like Ashford and Kent. The last bit is helpful for local searching. 

How NOT to use a title tag?

There are 2 main points there.

The first point is that you should not “stuff” the title tag will loads of keywords like

<title>Jasmine’s Chinese Takeaway, Chinese Takeaway  Ashford, Chinese, Takeaway Kent, 
Ashford, Chinese Takeaway Ashford Kent</title>

This is totally unprofessional and will make readers click elsewhere like a rival or better presented website. Also the search engines will most definitely ear mark the page and website as spam and punish the website.

The second thing you should not do is actually leave the title tag blank. It may be an obvious error but it is actually still done by some developers.

How long is a title tag according to Yahoo and Google?

A title tag can be as long as you like however both Yahoo and Google differ on how long title tags these can be. Google allow only 70 characters in the title tag and so will cut off the text after the last whole word.  Yahoo on the other hand allows up to 115 characters and will cut off the text regardless. 

Two rules of thumb is to accommodate both search engines:
a) put keywords in the title as close to the beginning of the tag as possible.
b) write the most important part of the title within the first 70 characters and additional copy can follow

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