SEO Services > SEO FAQ > Meta Title

What is a Meta Title, and what is its role in SEO?

The meta title is the HTML code that specifies the title of a certain web page. It appears at the top left corner of your browser when you visit a web page. In coding, the meta title is embedded at the header of a web page, above the meta description and meta keywords tags. It looks like this:

Insert Web Page Title Here

Every page must have a meta title, and it plays an important role in how your web site is perceived, as well as in your SEO. First of all, the meta title is used by directories, web resources and other webmasters and site owners when they link to your page. If you have a concise and catchy meta title that really sums up your site's topic, your site will more readily be reviewed and favored by these sources. Since submitting links to directories, resources and other websites is a big part of search engine optimization strategy, having a solid meta title can really help speed things along.

The meta title is also the main header that users will see when they find your web site through a search engine. This is another reason you want a concise and direct meta title. While it can certainly be effective to use a keyword or two in your meta title, be careful not to overuse them, as to the viewer, a solid title will be more appealing than a series of keywords.

But most importantly, the meta title is one of the first and most important things that search engines look for when determining the focus, content and relevance of your site, and this in turn has a big effect on your ranking in search results.

Because of this importance, many people try to simply load their meta title with keywords to attract attention, but this is not a good policy. The most effective title tags will balance using keywords with being linear, concise and attractive to viewers.

Guidelines for Creating a Meta Title

For starters, the meta title should always be typed with the first letter of each major word capitalized, in the style known as Title Case. This means everything is capitalized except for smaller words like "for", "is" and "a". If you run into discrepancies, consult a reference on Title Case.

Make sure every page on your site has a unique meta title. It may sound straightforward, but you'd be surprised how many pages do it. This hurts your SEO marketing scheme as it disallows you from indicating the independent and unique keywords and content associated with each of your pages.

Be specific. If you're writing a meta title for your home page, never use simply "Home" or "Index Page". Remember, your meta title has to draw in viewers from the search results pages, so the meta title should tell your viewer, as well as the search engine, what each page is about specifically.

Pay attention to length. Google will crop your meta title on the results page after 66 characters, but Yahoo won't crop your title until 120 characters. To get the best results for both of these prominent engines, try to make your meta title have a primary and secondary length. Try to get a full sense of the main focus of the site within 66 characters, and then secondary information to read in Yahoo. Make sure that you don't leave words or phrases cut off in the middle. Find shortcuts too, such as using "&" instead of the word "and".

And finally, be sure to include at least one primary keyword in the meta title of each page. As mentioned before, the crawlers pay special attention to the meta title, so be sure to take advantage of the opportunity for search engine marketing. The meta title is the most important of the meta tags, and therefore they can be valuable SEO tools for web optimizers.