By Stephen Sandecki
This is part one of a series designed to help educate self-storage operators on the basics of on-page search-engine optimization (SEO). To read other installments in the series, search for "Sandecki" using the search box in the upper right corner of this Web page.
To clarify, on-page optimization relates to things done directly to your Web page(s). Everything explained in this series can be done by whomever manages your website. If you run your website on a third-party platform or use third-party CMS (content-management system) software, you may be limited to how effectively you can optimize your on-page SEO. To get the most out of on-page SEO, you need to take it into consideration during the development of your website.
This series is divided into seven parts, each focusing on a different optimization technique. It might be a little rough on someone who doesn’t have much knowledge in HTML markup or the concept of Web development. If you fall into that category, you can still educate yourself with this guide, and forward it to whoever handles your Internet marketing and SEO. I'm starting this series off with title tags because it’s one of the easiest things you can manipulate when it comes to SEO.
The Technical of the Title Tag
The title tag is part of the head HTML element and is located inside the <head></head> HTML syntax. In terms of HTML, the title tag is used to define the title of your document (Web page). Below is an example of the title tag HTML syntax.
<title>This is the title of your Web page</title>
There are three core things the title tag will do, and one of them is crucial to SEO. They are:
- Define the title visitors see in their browser
- Be the default title used when visitors add a page to their favorites
- Be displayed in search-engine results
It’s important to remember you can only have one title tag per Web page. If you have more than one, search-engine crawlers and Web browsers will always use the one that appears first in your HTML code. Now that you understand exactly what a title tag is, it’s time to learn how you can use it for on-page SEO.
How Search Engines Use a Title Tag
Search engines will use the title tag of a Web page when showing it in their search-engine results. This gives the title tag two important factors. First, it can help attract the attention of the actual person searching. The other is search engines use the data in title tags to help rank sites in results. Below is a simple example of how a title tag would be used in search results. The section inside the red circle is the title tag for that Wikipedia Web page.
As you can see, the title tag is one of the most prominent parts of search-engine results. It’s also what initially catches the eye of a searcher and draws him to your listing. Obviously, search engines all have their own algorithm, so how they use a title tag when it comes to ranking Web pages in search results will vary.