Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices

Title Tags

What is a title tag?
A title tag is a short description of a webpage that appears in the head tag section of the page. It is not visible on the page, but it is visible on browser tabs and in SERPs. The images show a title tag on a browser tab (1), a SERP (2) and the webpage HTML (3)

Why are title tags important?
The only part of a webpage more important than the title tag is the content of the page itself. Title tags are the first thing customers see on a SERP, and they’re an important part of how search engines categorize pages to put in search results.

How proper title tags are made:
A title tag should include a concise description of a webpage’s contents. It should include the keywords that the page focuses on, as well as the company brand. The format of title tags should be uniform across the website, but they should not be identical. For example, Indiana State University should not have the title tag “Indiana State University | More from day one” as the tag for every page on the website. This title would be useless to search engines and to people viewing SERPs because it gives no information about the page’s contents.

Instead, a good title tag should look like this: “Academics and Majors | Indiana State University In this title, the keywords are prominent and the company brand is included. Sometimes it’s not obvious what the page keywords should be. For example, the ISU A-Z page (left) doesn’t have a clear topic. In that case, the point of the page should be the focus of the title. “Search ISU A-Z | Indiana State University There is no hard and fast rule about which keywords to choose. Good words will usually be obvious. If not, try to think like the customer. What words would they search for to find this page? Use those words in the title. (For more information on choosing keywords, see the section on keyword usage.)
A title tag should not exceed 70 characters in length. The search engine will truncate the tag in search results if it is longer than 70 characters, or the engine will make up a new title tag entirely.

Do Not:

ISU Best Practice
Format: Primary keyword and secondary keyword | Indiana State University
Length: Does not exceed 70 characters
Content: intuitive keywords, university name, unique to page, descriptive of page content
Appearance (HTML): title tag Primary keyword and secondary keyword | Indiana State University