Title tags and meta tags are strings of text are inserted in the head section of a web page. These tags are inconspicuous to a user, although not entirely hidden. The title tag appears in the top bar of the browser window, but does not appear on the webpage itself. The meta tags do not appear to the user, they are intended for search engines to read. The principal meta tags for use in search optimization are meta keyword tags and meta description tags.
Title tags are the most important ranking factor on an individual webpage; they are highly weighted by the search engines.
Often, a simple change to a title tag alone can yield significant changes in rankings. Again, remember the role of a search engine: to determine the topic of a webpage and return relevant result to its users. The title tag, logically, is perhaps the greatest signpost of what a page is actually about.
Title tags serve another important role; when a user enters a search query into a search engine, the first line of each entry on the search engine results pages is taken from each page’s title tag. So, now your title tag presents an opportunity to attract searchers to click on your result out of a field of other websites on a search engine result page. Not only that, both Yahoo1 and Google bold the words used in the search query within the title tags that they display on the search engine result page. So, if you use keywords effectively in your title tag, Google will highlight your entry in the search engine result page and that can help increase the click-through rate to your website pages.
Making perfect title tags
Keep in mind, space on search engine results page is limited, so Yahoo1 and Google don’t show title longer than 70 or 80 characters. Try a search for almost anything and you’ll see that if the title tag of the destination webpage is too long, the search engines truncate the title tag. Keep your title tags to 70 characters or less.
Also, keep in mind that search engines measure keyword prominence in title tags. This means that the first word in a title tag is afforded greater weight than the last word in the title tag. Put into practice, this means you should put your company name as the last word in your title tag and save the valuable and more prominent area of your title tag (the first 30 to 40 characters) for keywords related to your business or industry.
Your business’ name is not a high-competition keyword
Don’t use your business’ name or slogan in valuable on-page positions like the first five words of your title tag- you’ll likely rank for your business’ name even if that name doesn’t appear in your title tag at all because there’s little competition for your business’ name as a search term. Save those key positions for high-volume, competitive search terms, and user your business’ name in less important positions like in the body of your text or at the end of your title tag, after the keywords. For example, an ideal title tag for a pet grooming service would be Pet Grooming & Pet Care| New York| The Pampered Pooch.
Meta keyword tags are the subject of same confusion and remain misused and even abused. Some uninformed webmasters erroneously believe that stuffing keywords into a keyword meta tag will help rank for those terms. That hasn’t been true since about 2000 or 2001, yet the myth persists. In fact, Google is on record as saying that their algorithm no longer takes into account meta keyword tags.
If you were to use meta keyword tags, use them for Bing and Yahoo!, but not for Google. And, don’t overdo it with meta keyword tags: less is more. Remember, you want to focus your web pages on a fairly narrow topic area so you will never need more than 15 or so meta keyword tags. A truly well-crafted page will use five to seven meta keywords.
Unlike keyword tags, meta description tags are relevant to search results. Description tags are afforded substantial weight by search engines. Also consider that keyword prominence applies to description tags, so keep your important terms within the beginning of the description tag. Don’t repeat your keywords excessively; if a search engine discovers your keyword used repeatedly, it might filter out your result.
Description tags, like title tags, are used by search engines when they display search engine results pages. On a Google search engine results page, the description tag comprises the second and third line of each standard four-line entry. This presents an opportunity for your description tag. Your description tag can serve as a hook to readers to invite them to click on your result in lieu of all the other search results. Again, length is important because search engines only display about 160 characters of a meta description tag on a search engine results page. And, if you are thinking you’ll get some extra boost in ranking by creating a longer meta description, don’t bother: it widely believed that the major search engines only index the first 160 characters of the meta description tag. Anything more than 160 characters is ignored.
“Sell” with your meta description
Meta description are not merely repositories for keywords! Your meta description can “hook” customers and bring them to your site.
Because search engine display the meta tag in search result pages, that text may have quite a lot to do with whether a person clicks on your link, or one of the 20 or so other links on a search results page. Don’t use tired, stale descriptions; give your meta tag life and fire. See the image below for an example of an expertly drafted meta tag.
Google will nearly always display some text on the second and third line of each entry on its results page. What does Google display on search engine result pages if no description tag is present? If Google finds no description tag present, its algorithm will select some text from the body of the page and insert it as the description on its search engine result pages. For obvious reasons, this result is not ideal.