How to Write a Great Web Marketing Title Tag - dummies

How to Write a Great Web Marketing Title Tag

By John Arnold, Michael Becker, Marty Dickinson, Ian Lurie, Elizabeth Marsten

Writing a great title tag is critical to successful web marketing and involves more than putting your keywords first. Search engines display the keyword tag at the top of each item in the search engine result pages (SERPs).


A well-written title tag might increase the odds that a searching customer will click your listing. If you balance the need for SEO with the need for an impactful title tag, you generally get more clicks and a higher ranking.

Get past your brand

First, don’t put your brand first. Your brand will be front and center when customers land on your website. In the meantime, focus on getting a high ranking and a click.

Here’s an example:

<title>Harrison’s Bikes: Seattle Bicycle Repair</title>

The brand went first. That placement reduces the relevance of the tag for Seattle bicycle repair because search engines more heavily weight the first words. Plus, readers won’t see the benefit in clicking unless they read the whole title tag. Why make them work for it? Instead, use this:

<title>Seattle Bicycle Repair: Harrison’s Bikes</title>

The key phrase is first. Even better:

<title>Seattle Bicycle Repair and Sales</title>

It leaves out the brand in favor of another keyword.

You can make a title tag as long as you want, but keep in mind that search engines ignore anything longer than 65 characters. The phrase at the end won’t affect relevance as much as the one at the beginning.

Avoid keyword stuffing

Try not to put a given keyword into a title tag more than once — twice if absolutely necessary. Search engines have long hated title tags like this:

<title>Bicycles and Bicycle Repair with Bicycle Sales at Harrison’s Bicycles</title>

Plus, doing so is a terrible way to introduce customers to your company — the writing is poor and is hard to read.

Tell your story

Your title tag may well be the very first thing your customers see. It should say something important about you. If something sets you or your business apart — an award, a unique service, or something else — try to work it into the tag:

<title>Bicycle Repair and Sales – Rated Seattle’s Number 1 Bike Shop: Harrison’s Bicycles</title>

Note that this title tag doesn’t repeat any keywords. To a search engine, bicycle and bicycles are different words.

This title tag maximizes the chances that a customer will click. Rated No. 1? Sign me up!

Make it readable

After all this work, it pays to reread the title tag and make sure that it makes sense.

Like link text, a title tag should make sense all on its own. It needs to be totally self-contained. So,

<title>Bicycle Repair and Sales</title>

is okay, but it’s missing important information, such as the location. The tag

<title>Seattle Bicycle Repair and Sales</title>

is far better. Now customers know it’s in Seattle. Plus, search engines award greater relevance in local searches because Seattle is in the title tag.

If you have a database-driven site and are editing your title tag using a maintenance or administrator control panel, you probably won’t have to enter the <title> and </title> tags. The content management system will do that for you. But make sure that you can edit your title tags. If you can’t, have a developer change it. Without editable title tags, your site doesn’t have a prayer in the rankings.

Make sure that your title tag can stand on its own. It’ll probably have to at some point. If folks create a link to your site, they might use the title tag as the link text. If your title tag clearly defines the page it titles, the link will clearly describe the page to which it points.