Title meta tags explained.
Good title meta tags improve your search engine ranking.
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Now it's time get down to the meat! In this article we'll drill into one of the most important factors in achieving high search engine rankings, the title tag.
<TITLE>Title meta tags</TITLE>
Some Web site creation tools automatically generate the title tag from information you provide. You may have noticed Web pages that are labeled "Page 1," "Page 2," or "Home Page" in the browser bar. Labels like these are used by beginning Web site designers who simply don't know how to use title tags for maximum benefit.
For example, if your company is named "Johnson and Smith Inc." and you are a tax accountant in Texas, putting only "Johnson and Smith Inc." in your title tag will probably be fruitless. If you absolutely insist on including your company name in the title tag, put it at the end of the tag, after the more important keyword information. (A number of search engine gurus believe that some search engines give more weight to words that appear first in the title tag.)
In our Dallas accountants example, you could create a title tag that says
<TITLE>Dallas tax accountants</TITLE> or you could say <TITLE>Dallas CPAs</TITLE>.
However, there's more than enough space in the title tag to include both of these important keyword phrases. (In fact, search engines will display 60 to 115 characters of your title tag.) Here's an example of a better approach:
<TITLE>Dallas tax accountants dallas CPAs</TITLE>
Most search engines are not case-sensitive. In the past, a few of them were, so it was important to try and utilize both lower and upper case in your Title as necessary. Since most engines don't make any case distinction any more, I recommend creating Titles that look the most enticing; that is, something that will get the user to click on your listing. Whether this means you prefer ALL CAPS to make it stand out, or first letter caps, is up to you.
As for placing the word "Dallas" twice in the title tag, I have found this approach to be both permissible and effective. Just make sure that you don't put the same words right next to each other. For example, a tag that reads "Accountants in Dallas -- Dallas CPAs" is very likely to trigger a red flag with the search engines, so that the word could get ignored entirely. It's also not a good idea to use a word more than twice or to repeat more than one or two words total in the title tag. However, if you keep these caveats in mind, it's fine to repeat one or two keywords in your title tags.
The optimal approach when creating a Web site is to think of all the keyphrases that best reflect your business, and then compose text around those phrases. When you go to write your title tag, you simply revisit the keyword list, make sure the keywords are being used on the page, and poof, you've a good, keyword-rich title tag.
But remember: If the words don't appear somewhere in the text of your page, they shouldn't be in your title tag.
Using our tax accounting firm example, suppose you look at the text on your page and notice that the phrase "Texas tax accountant" doesn't appear anywhere on the page. Does this mean you shouldn't use this phrase in the title tag? Well, yes and no. If you're not willing to change the text on your page, then no, you shouldn't put those words in your title tag. However, you can also forget about ranking high for those words! The smart thing to do is to rewrite the text on your page so that it utilizes the keywords that are important to you. This doesn't mean to just stick the words at the top or bottom of the page. It doesn't mean to hide them in the background. Nor does it mean to put them in a tiny font so that no one will notice them. And it doesn't mean to simply put them in your meta keyword tag. If keywords are important enough that you want your site to be found under them in the search engines, they are important enough to be elegantly incorporated into the body text of your page.
Once you have incorporated important keyphrases into the text of your site, all you have to do is take these same phrases and put them in your title tag. It really is that simple.
Jill Whalen of High Rankings is an internationally recognized search engine marketing consultant and editor of the free weekly email newsletter, the High Rankings Advisor.
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