SEO Basics – Page Title

In a recent survey I did into a very competitive market place I found that out of around 6 million search results in Google, barely 5% of the pages listed had a page title. So what! You might say, if you didn’t know what a page title is or how important it can be. Well, think of a library of books – none of which have a title. How would you know what they were about?

The Page Title, which appears in the title tag of a web page is a key part of the cataloging information used to determine the subject or topic of the page. Most search engines use this information to file the page. The other important feature of the page title is that it forms the headline of the page’s entry in the search engine results. Let’s take a look at a typical snapshot of a search engine results page….

google search results

Now take a single result from the list for the search phrase “Be Your Own Boss”

single search result

It looks just like a small classified advertisement, which it is! Its job is to entice the visitor to click through to the webb page it refers to.

The first line of the result comes from the page title (title tag), this one is designed to correspond to the search phrase. It says to the visitor, “Look, this is what you are looking for!”

The second and third lines are often taken from the description tag on the page. This tag helps to categorise the topic of the page in the search results and also forms the body of the classified advertisement in the results page above. By now you will not be surprised to learn that very many web pages also lack a suitable (or even any)  description tag!

So where do we find these tags? Well, they should appear in the html code of the head section of the web page among the meta tags. This part of the page gives a lot of information to browser programs and search engines but is invisible on the actual web page when viewed normally on screen. The page title also shows up in the topmost border of most web browsers.

Ask whoever codes your web pages to ensure that these necessary tags are in place. And don’t make the mistake many beginners make of putting the same title and description on every page of the website. Use a different set for each page appropriate to the topic and content of the page. That way you help the search engines to accurately catalog your pages and you will often be rewarded with a higher position in the search results.

These changes alone will not get you top rankings, but should put you ahead of many competing pages.