Back to the basics for a minute – let’s talk about how to create the ideal title tag. There are several best practices that, in my opinion, make a big difference for the major effects you’re shooting for in title tag optimization (CTR in the SERPs, rankings at the search engines and value to users as navigational data).
In the simplest situation, you’ve got 3 pieces of data to convey:
* Company or Website name (for branding and ID purposes)
* Location in site architecture (if on a non-landing specific page)
* Keyword term or phrase targeted for search traffic
There are several ways to put this information together. Examples are probably the best way to show this:
1. SEO | SEM | Articles >> Beginner’s Guide to SEO
2. Beginner’s Guide to SEO | SEO | SEM Articles
3. Articles >> Beginner’s Guide to SEO from SEO | SEM
4. SEO | SEM | Beginner’s Guide to SEO
5. SEO Beginner’s Guide
In most situations where you have or are attempting to build a long-term brand online, configuration #1 is preferable – it accomplishes all of the goals sucessfully. However, certain situations demand more attention to keyword usage, or don’t require navigational structure, in which case, #2 or #4 might be options. If you need to be “ultra-optimized” (mostly for Yahoo! or MSN purposes), #5 is also a choice.
What to avoid:
1. SEO | Beginner’s Guide to SEO from the SEO experts at SEO | SEM
2. Beginner’s Guide to SEO where you’ll learn all the basics about the subject from industry leaders at SEO | SEM
3. ||>>|| SEO | SEM ||<<|| Beginner’s Guide to SEO
#1 – No need to run on and sound unnatural. #2 will never be seen or read and run-on titles appear highly unprofessional. #3 may look like it stands out in the SERPs, but Google and the other engines have been cracking down on overuse of non-letter characters, even those characters they would normally display.
If you’re dealing with the need to optimize for multiple terms/phrases on a page, the best thing you can do is to cleverly combine them in a phrase or short sentence. Using comma separation is a surefire way to look spammy. For example:
* Cellphones, ringtones, Nokia
Cellworld | Covering the cellphone world from ringtones to Nokia
* Glass art, glassblowing, Dale Chihuly
Glas.com | The art of glassblowing & glass art from masters like Dale Chihuly
* Dell, Gateway, Compaq, Lenovo
CPUStyle | Machine comparisons from Dell, Gateway, Compaq, Lenovo & more
I know I just broke the comma rule, but since it makes sense and fits logically…
The important point to remember is that the evolution of search technology means that its less and less important to make the targeted KW first in the title tag or repeat it multiple times or avoid too much additional text. What’s good for the visitor is, largely, what’s good for the engines.