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Keywords, Title Tags and SEO

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The title tag is perhaps the most important HTML tag on a web page, with regard to search engine optimization. Although the title tag text does not appear in the web page body, search engines pay a lot of attention to its contents. When you view a page of search engine results, each result will have a link to a website. The text in this link is the text that is held in the title tag.

Search engines pay special attention to title tag contents because they believe the text is a good indicator of page content. It is always their ambition to deliver search results that are highly relevant to the query text, and the title tag, rather than the keyword meta tag, is one of the most trusted page elements. Keywords are the words typed in as search engine queries. If you want your web page to be ranked highly in the results for a query, those keywords must be included in your title tag. The keywords cannot simply be included as a list of 'buzz words'. The title must read as a normal sentence. One of your main goals should be to include keywords by building them into a good title sentence. The software spiders used by search engines are programmed to recognise good sentence construction, and to spot 'keyword stuffing'.

An important consideration in creating a page title is the number of words to include in the text. Each search engine has its own optimum title word count, ant that number is not published as public information. Research has shown , however, that 9 to 12 words in the title tag seem to be most effective. Having fewer words greatly restricts the range of keywords that can be included, and provides fewer options in sentence construction. Too many words in the title will result in keyword dilution. The keywords will be seen as being less important as they are surrounded by many others. Where possible, the keywords should appear twice in the title. Some imaginative sentence construction will mean the words can be used twice in a meaningful and valid sentence.

When creating the title sentence it is important that you minimise the use of 'stop words' or other characters in the text. The search engine spidering software looks to see if the title text is constructed and reads as a normal sentence. Words such as 'the', 'for', 'with' and 'in' do not contribute positively to the title content, and should only be used where they cannot be avoided. Do not include commas, colons, semi-colons, hyphens and full stops etc., as they suggest you are trying to pack more keywords in. Words at the start of the title text are seen to be more important than words at the end, so always start the title with keywords.

If the website is about you or your company, don't include your name in the title text unless people search on it because it is well known. It is better to include 'widgets and wobbles for sale' than 'welcome to my website'. Use the title text to attract people who are searching for your product or service.

Don't fall into the trap of having the same title text on each page. It is easy to get lazy or forgetful and not change the title. The search engines will assume that if the title on each page is the same, the content must be the same. See each page as a new opportunity to optimize for different content, and select your title text accordingly.

You have seen that the title text on a page is critical to search engine ranking, and should not be neglected. Construct the title carefully, and you will see immediate benefits in your number of visitors. Attention to detail will always pay.



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