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Title/Meta Tags – Not Just for SEO

September 30, 2008
Jay

I was recently asked by a client if it would be a big deal to leave off title tags and meta tags from their site. Coming from an SEO background, I couldn’t express enough how important title tags are for ranking for keyword phrases. It made me think, however, about the effects title and meta tags have on click through rate.

Let’s assume that you do rank in the top ten in Google for a targeted keyword phrase. What is going to make a user click on your listing? Well, the first thing they will see is your title tag. At first glance, what is mentioned in your title tag is all they will know about your business. You basically have a fraction of a second to catch someone’s attention and provide them information about your page with your title tag. Since most search engines only display about 60-70 characters of your title tag, keep it short and sweet with your most important keywords at the beginning. Only use words that will make a difference, such as your main keyword phrase and the name of the company. Space is limited and precious, so don’t waste space with unnecessary filler words.

Since there is only enough space allowed in the title tag to grab the user’s attention, you need to complement it with the meta description. Since many search engines include a snippet from the description on the SERPs, this is your chance to provide more details on what your page is about and persuade them to click on your listing. Restate your main keyword phrase in the beginning of the first sentence and let the user know that this is the page they are looking for.

Of course the meta keywords are the least important piece of the heading, but if you can include them, do it. Just make sure any words you place in the meta keywords tag appear within the body of the page.