SEO Marketing Part 2: Tags n’ Titles


Today is our second post on SEO Marketing Tips. We are going to discuss two important aspects of any Search Engine Optimization campaign: Tags and Titles.

When your computer views a webpage, there is data that you cannot see that tells the computer how the page should be displayed. All of the code that you cannot see is called tags. Tags are useful to a Search Engine Marketer, because the search engine uses tags to determine what content is more important than others. For example, an html page uses tags to make headers look big. A search engine can “see” that these headers are bigger, and therefore determines that the content inside the header gives more accurate information about the page than just the content.

There is a set of tags that do not determine the look or the layout of the page, but rather give data and information about the page to Search Engines and browsers. These tags are called metatags. Metatags are the most important type of tags to a Search Engine Marketer. Let’s talk about why.

The title tag is the most important metatag of all. You see the title tag every time you open up a browser page. The title tag is what is displayed at the top of the browser window. The title tag is also what is displayed in a search engine when someone searches for your page. Search engines give title tags more bearing than any other tags when it comes to determining the content of the page. When picking a page title, you must create a good balance between ranking effectiveness, or crafting the title for a search engine, and referral effectiveness, or giving a user not only information about your page, but a call to action. The table below shows some examples of titles and their effectiveness.


Ranking Effectiveness

Referral Effectiveness

SnapShot Home Page

Just One Keyword

No call to action

Snap Digital Cameras for you

Better, but not enough

Still no call to action

Save on Snap digital cameras

Still weak

Good call to action

Snap Electronics – Snapshot Digital Cameras

Improved Keywords

No Call to action

Snap Electronics – Snapshot Digital Cameras – Save on digital cameras

Strong on keywords

Good call to action

SnapShot Digital Cameras from Snap Electronics – Save on digital cameras

Strong keywords with improved prominence

Good call to action

SnapShot Digital Cameras – Save on the best digital camera from…Snap Electronics

Very strong keywords (including singular and plural forms) with strong prominence

Good call to action that reinforces brand image, but company name will be truncated on screen.

SnapShot Digital Cameras from Snap Electronics – Save on the best…digital camera

Very strong keywords with very strong prominence

Good call to action with brand image reinforcement, with repeated keyword truncated onscreen.

Snap Digital Cameras – Save on a SnapShot digital camera

Very strong keywords with very strong prominence and density

Good call to action with no truncation.

Ellipses (…) indicates estimate truncation point onscreen.

–Taken From Search Engine Marketing, Inc. Second Edition, IBM Press

As you can see, there are many choices for a page title, both bad and good. When choosing a title, there are certain things to keep in mind.

  • That the title has both keywords and a call to action.
  • That the title is between 40-65 characters
  • That important words are in the title before the truncation point.

Besides the title tag, there are other important tags. We are going to discuss the description tag, and the keywords tag.

The description tag gives the search engine a small bit of information about your site/page. Many times descriptions aren’t given much weight, however in Google, descriptions are displayed under the result, so it is a good idea to ensure your description is appealing to people, and gives them a reason to click on your link.

The keywords tag used to be extremely important in SEO, but because of the way it was abused by marketers, most search engines all but ignore it. It does not hurt to have keywords, but it shouldn’t take up the majority of your time for the SEO campaign. Ensure that the keywords are relevant, and that you don’t have too many of them.

This wraps up our post about titles and tags. Stay tuned for the third and final post in this series: SEO Marketing Part 3: Navigation, Categorization, Linking.


Cory is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science from Eastern Connecticut State University. Cory is skilled in XHTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, C/C++, and Objective-C. Cory has extensive knowledge of open source software, and participates in the development of well-known software projects, such as Mozilla Firefox and Drupal.

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