Title Element: Just why is it so damned important still?

What is it?

Often misnamed as the Title tag, it is, at its simplest, the name of your web page.  It has to be included in every page on your website.  When you look at a web page, you can usually see the title rendered at the top of the page.

Title in Browser

(The technical description)

SEO and the Title Element

It has long been known that one of the easiest ways to improve your search rankings is to include your target keywords in the title element.  It’s been a particularly popular SEO technique because it can be easily changed without any seeming impact on the website (as opposed to including keywords on the page which might clash with that beautiful graphic design).

Unfortunately titles such as “PPC Edinburgh | SEO Edinburgh | Search Engine Optimisation Edinburgh” have become all too common – to the general detriment of the Internet.

Being so easy to manipulate you have to ask why it is still given so much weight in search engine rankings.  The answer probably lies somewhere below.

Beyond Ranking

The function of Titles has long been swept under the carpet in the chase for rankings.  Here’s why it’s always been sensible to avoid keyword stuffing.

Search engine listings

Sticking with the SEO theme, most search engines use your Title for the heading in your listing.  It’s therefore vital that it is appealing to searchers, otherwise you miss traffic.

Title in Google Listings


Most bookmarking systems will use the Title.  If it’s just keywords, will you get the visit when someone tries to find you?

Titles used for Favourites

Back buttons

Forward and back buttons are integral to the browser experience.  Titles are used to determine the text that shows up.  They are also used for Browser histories.

Titles in Browser History


The majority of us now use tabs when surfing.

Titles used for Tabs

“Sharing” Means Titles Are Becoming More Important

Whether or not Titles continue to have great SEO value, more than ever, you need to pay attention to Titles as the culture of sharing links becomes more promiscuous.

Guess where Facebook takes this text from!

Facebook links

Google Buzz does the same.  And guess what social news sites,  such as Digg, use as the default headline text?

Digg listing

And feed readers? Yep, you get the picture.  Most tools used to syndicate your content to Twitter etc will, by default, also use the titles.

So if you haven’t already dropped the mantra that the keywords are the single most important thing in your title tag, please do so now.

(By the way – your meta description tag is also being used in similar ways)

More about title tags

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