Higher Education Marketing

How to Write Great Title Tags

Date posted: March 1, 2012

Title tags are an essential component of the SEO puzzle. To put it simply, a good title tag can help your program pages show up higher on search engine results pages (resulting in more clicks and visitors). This is even relevant on the social media front, as title tags are displayed when your pages are shared on social media sites.

It’s important, therefore, to make sure your title tags are optimized for the best possible search engine rank.

Here are some tips on writing great title tags:

Use important keywords, lots and lots of keywords
It’s fairly safe to say that most visitors to your site will know when they’re on the home page, making it irrelevant to include “home” or “home page”. Doing so is a waste of an SEO opportunity, particularly since this does nothing to help your search engine rank. Do you really want to rank for these words?

It’s far more effective to make your title tags keyword-rich. As always, keyword research and clearly defined website goals are essential, but once you know what you want to rank for, it should be much easier to create effective, keyword-rich title tags.

As a rule of thumb, remember that the purpose of a title tag is to tell people and search engines what that page is about. Be descriptive, but above all, be keyword heavy.

Avoid using too many keywords
We know, we just said to use lots and lots of keywords. Confusing right? It shouldn’t be. Like all other forms of Web writing, title tags have to find the sweet spot between an amount of keywords that boost your rank, and an amount of keywords that look like an out-of-control spam bot. Remember, you have to strike a balance between writing a title tag for humans eyes and for a search engine crawler.

It’s important to remember that the ideal title tag should be roughly 70 characters long. Anything past the 70 character mark will not be visible, which means it’s important to create title tags that are close to that length. This restriction, however, can actually help your writing: it will force you to create title tags with only the most important keywords. No filler, all killer, in other words.

A Google search for the words “University programs” provides some examples. Lets consider the following:

Long Title Tag Example 1

Long Title Tag Example 2

As you can see, title tags that exceed 70 characters are cut off, with any excess replaced by an elipsis (…). This does not happen with shorter title tags:

Title Tag Example 1

On the other hand, this title tag may be too short (45 characters).  Short title tags ensure that nothing is cut off. However, they may not take full advantage title tag keyword opportunities. Try to get close to that 70 character sweet spot.

Start strong
It’s a good idea to have your most important, or eye-catching, keywords first. The attention span of an online searcher is often not very long, starting with keywords you think will be relevant to a searcher is the best way to pull them in.

We’re a big fan of long-tail keywords, particularly when the competition for popular keywords is intense (as it often is). A good way to really benefit from long-tail keywords is to include a city name or specific region in your keywords (e.g. Accounting Training Toronto). Of course, this has to make sense with regards to your goals and keyword list, but in certain circumstances, it can help boost your program page rank.


Do you have any other title tag recommendations?

As a certified Digital Analyst, Philippe Taza founded and created Higher Education Marketing, providing Internet marketing solutions for education institutions, such as K-12 schools, universities, and community colleges. In all, he has been working in the education market since 2001, specializing in Google Analytics, Education Lead Generation, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and Pay Per Click Marketing, among many other education marketing tactics and tools.

One thought on “How to Write Great Title Tags

  1. Pingback: Writing for the Web | Education Marketing Tips | SEO

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