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SEO 101 (pt 1): Title Tags

Basic SEO | 22 Nov 2010

Here at Nightlite Media we are growing all the time, adding new team members every month. As part of our orientation for our sales team, we spend a good deal of time educating on basic search engine optimization and our other services. Up until now, sessions were fairly informal and team members were asked to join several forums, read various articles and practice the basics. Although this proved to be effective, it made more sense for the information to be in one place, a manual for example. So, a manual was created and we figured maybe it would do some good to show you how smart we are and teach you! Hopefully, you can let us know what we missed and we will be that much better off. To begin, here is what you need to know about Title Tags…

What is a Title Tag?

Formally called, title elements, title tags define the title of a document and are required for all HTML/XHTML documents. Aside from the content on your website, it is the most important on-page Seo element. In the source code, you will find it tucked in between the tags and it will look like Example Title. Visually, they will look like this, and can be found in these places:



Search Engine Result Pages


External Websites


SEO and Title Tags

The title element of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content. This element creates value in three specific areas (covered below) and is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization:


Creating a descriptive, keyword-laden title tag is important for increasing rankings in search engines. As title tags are such an important part of search engine optimization, implementing best practices for title tags makes for terrific low-energy, high-impact SEO tasks. The recommendations below cover the critical parts of optimizing title tags for search engine and usability goals:

Be Mindful of Length

70 characters is the maximum amount of characters that will display in the search results (the engines will show an ellipsis – “…” to indicate that a title tag has been cut off).

Place Important Keywords Close to the Front of the Title Tag

According to SEOmoz’s testing and experience, the closer to the start of the title tag a keyword is, the more helpful it will be for ranking and the more likely a user will be to click them in search results.

Leverage Branding

Many SEO firms recommend using the brand name at the end of a title tag instead, and there are times when this can be a better approach. The differentiating factor is the strength and awareness of the brand in the target market. If it is a well known brand, and it can make a difference in click-through rates in search results, the brand name should be first. If this is not the case, the keyword should be first.

Consider Readability and Emotional Impact

Creating a compelling title tag will pull in more visits from the search results. Thus, it’s important to not only think about optimization and keyword usage, but the entire user experience. The title tag is a new visitor’s first interaction with your brand when they find it in a search result and should convey the most positive impression possible.

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