Natural Search Blog

Key to Relevance: Title Tags

I recently penned an article at Search Engine Land on Leveraging Reverse Search For Local SEO. In it, I describe how in certain exception cases, one may benefit from adding the street address into a business site’s TITLE tag. It’s not the first time that I have mentioned how TITLE tags are key to relevance in Local Search — I’d previously mentioned how critical it is for local businesses to include their category keywords and city names in the TITLE as well.

Yet, a great many sites continue to miss this vital key to relevance, and they wonder why they fail at ranking for their most apropos keywords. Keywords for which they’d otherwise have a very good chance at ranking upon!

Key Relevance: Title Tags
W3C calls the TITLE the “most important element of a quality web page”

Yesterday I reviewed another major retailer website which had their brandname embedded in their page titles — and nothing else. Thousands of product pages all had identical TITLEs! This company could’ve had top three rankings on a great many competitive keyword phrases had they only customized their TITLE tags very slightly.

The W3C calls the <TITLE> tag “the most important element of a quality Web page.” Google has apparently paid attention to that, and all of the search engines have placed especial weighting upon the words found within page titles when evaluating the topics for which a webpage is associated.

It makes sense, when you think about it. A title should be a super-concentrated blurb that tells a user what a page is all about. In search engines, the title is often also displayed as the link text for each of the pages listed in the search engine results page listings. Informative titles appearing in SERP listings will get clicked upon more as users are reassured that the page they’re clicking upon is what they’re actually seeking. A page with an informative title will get clicked upon far more likely than a vague or unrelated page title.

I heard Googler Amanda Camp once mention that she’d recommended to a friend of hers to customized a page title, focusing it upon the main topic keywords for the webpage, and it immediately began ranking in the very first position for the keyword phrase.

And, I’ve seen it many times myself — engineer a good, simple, appropriate, keyword-rich title tag, and your page canĀ  zoom its way above all the other nonoptimal page listings for the very same term.

8 comments for Key to Relevance: Title Tags »

  1. MyAvatars 0.2

    So many people miss the importance of a title tag. Thanks for the informative article that reminds us that fundamentals like title tags are key to success.

    Comment by Barbara — 4/10/2009 @ 8:04 pm

  2. MyAvatars 0.2

    Would love to see an example of a keyword rich title that doesn’t sound like your trying to fill it with keywords!

    Comment by Julie — 4/13/2009 @ 9:09 am

  3. MyAvatars 0.2

    Julie, how about:

    “Acme Fixit – Plumbers – 101 Main St – Springfield, Missouri”


    “Lonesome Dove Bistro – Restaurant in Ft. Worth Stockyards”

    Comment by Chris — 4/13/2009 @ 9:16 am

  4. MyAvatars 0.2

    My impression was that title and keyword tags played only a very modest role in search ranking, primarily because they are too easy to game. Anyone have real world examples of where title tags actually made a difference?

    Comment by Kraig — 4/13/2009 @ 11:08 am

  5. MyAvatars 0.2

    Kraig, HTML titles play a very big role in search ranking — this article was based off of a lot of varied personal experience with creating good titles for pages.

    Keyword Meta tags indeed are comparatively weak/useless for SEO purpose.

    Perhaps you have confused with the Title Meta tag which is different from the HTML title? I don’t know of any search engine that pays any attention to a Title Meta tag.

    Comment by Chris Silver Smith — 4/13/2009 @ 12:12 pm

  6. MyAvatars 0.2

    Title can make or break your page. If your title is not interesting enough then visitors would hardly pay interest.nn1

    Comment by Postergal — 4/17/2009 @ 1:09 am

  7. MyAvatars 0.2

    A good way to get keyword suggestions is to use Google Adwords keyword tool. First, you need an Adwords account. Then start a new PPC campaign for your site and use the keyword tool to find not only keywords that people have searched on but also their relative popularities.

    Comment by Internet Marketing Network — 4/26/2009 @ 5:59 am

  8. MyAvatars 0.2

    Wonderful article now i realized what is the importance of title tag for SEO and why it is used thank u.

    Comment by sanker — 3/27/2010 @ 6:44 am

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