‘Titles’ That Sell – ‘Titles’ That Kill

  • M.L. Zupan
Three Kinds of Websites

<title>Is Your ‘Title’ tag Memorable or does it turn People Away?</title>

A well formatted ‘Title’ tag is the first step in a well formatted website design. Without it, all the SEO (search engine optimization) techniques in the world aren’t going to help you for long.

Below is a screen shot I took of a business website (we won’t name which one). Each page of the website was like the one you see below. The homepage title read: ‘home’; the product page title read: ‘product’; and the contact us page title read: (yes, you guessed it) – ‘contact us’.

No Help – No Benefit

Well Formatted ‘Title’? Not! As a matter of fact, this “live website” doesn’t even have a description or any keywords associated with it.

If you were a business owner and you hired a web developer to build your website and he doesn’t put in a good, and unique title for you on every page of your website, then he didn’t do his job. Making a website look pretty to the visual eye is only half of the job. Making it look pretty to search engines is the other half, and that’s one of the things that makes it well-formatted.

If you are building your website on your own, then you need to pay particular attention to each individual page and give them a  UNIQUE Title. One that is relevant for every page of your website.

So What is a ‘Title’ tag and what does it do?

Your ‘title‘ tag is:

  • a tag of html code in the top of every web page
  • the first descriptive text that a person sees when they do a search in the search engines
  • the descriptive line of text that appears at the top of your web browser when you open up a web page. Make it memorable.
  • the text line that is saved in someone’s browser when they save your site under their most favorite bookmarks. If it is uniquely title, it makes it easier for them to find your information again when they are searching their bookmarks. [Can you imagine what your bookmark list would look like if every web page you bookmarked simply read ‘home’?]
  • it is databased by search engines to help people search for relative search terms about you, your products, services and your company. If those search terms are wisely used in your title, you will have a better chance at being found. If you don’t have a title, it is highly likely that when it comes to search engines, your website will be passed over for a well-formatted website with a relevant title.

How to Format a Website ‘Title’

Understanding the roll that your title plays in search engines is key to formatting good title text. If you ever hope to rank well in search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN, then creating a unique text on every page of your website is paramount to your success and high rankings for your website.

  1. Keep your ‘title’ text under 6-7 words – which equals approximately 74 typed characters. Seventy-four typed characters equals approximately half a Twitter – no more.
    “That seems so short.” you may be thinking.
    It doesn’t matter. Any longer and it will be cut off by the search engine database system and be lost anyway. So when you go to Google and put in a search term – the first line result you see will be your title.
  2. Make it memorable: it is the first thing that your new potential client is going to see. You want to catch their eye long enough for them to read your description. You description is a short relevant description that entices them to action so they click on your link. [Read: The Value of a Good Description] It doesn’t have to be fancy or cute – straight forward and precise is usually the best. A simple title for a website design company in Oklahoma City might read:
    <title>Web Site Designs for Oklahoma City Businesses</title>
  3. Use keywords or phrases in your title tag. A word of caution. The title is NOT the place to load up on keywords or phrase. It is necessary to use ‘a’ keyword, or ‘a’ phrase. Notice in the above title I used the keywords ‘web site design’ and ‘Oklahoma City’ and I still kept the entire title short and simple.
  4. Try not to repeat words. You don’t need to repeat yourself in your ‘title’ tag. It should read like a short sentence.
  5. Special Note: Your Title does not have to include the name of your business. If the name of your business doesn’t tell me what you do or what services you offer – leave it out.  What do I mean by that? Let’s say your business name is “Joe’s Services”. Who cares.  At this point they are not searching Joe’s Services – they are searching for the services that Joe has to offer.  Your title should give me some indication as to what those services are. And your ‘description’ draws me in even more – compelling me to action. Joe’s Services doesn’t tell me anything about your company and in fact, makes me leary to want to click on that link. The wrong title can scare away customers even if you are the #1 spot in Google. The fact is, I can make any website #1 in Google – but unless your title is descriptive and your description is compelling – people will skip over you and choose another company.

Check Your Website

Now is the time to go check each page of your website. If you ‘title’ tag is the same on all of them, you will want to create unique titles for each page if you want to rank better in the search engines. If you had a web developer make your site and they didn’t do it properly – go back and make them finished the job.

I hope that this has helped you understand the value of your ‘Title’ tag. It is just one step in the ladder to search engine success.