Do You Have A Clear Title?

Education & Training with Summit Web Design and Long & Foster Realtors

Did you know that the search engines place a great deal of weight in the title of your web pages? After the URL of a site, the first information a search spider records is the title of the site. The keywords within your title will likely be chosen as the title of your listing on the search engines and the title also plays a huge role in the relevance of your site. The topic denoted within your title will be compared to the content within the body of the web page. If the topic and content match, you will have a much better chance of obtaining higher targeted placements. So lets take a look at this important web page element.

Did you know your title tag is being displayed for all to see? Where can you see it?


Poor use of Title Tag

Example 1. Title Tag (circled in red above)

It's right there at the very top of every visitor's browser window, up above the Back, Forward, Refresh, Stop & Home buttons and where you type in a web address to go visit. In the screen shot above, the title is "Page 1". What the heck does "Page 1" tell any search engine about this web site? Nothing at all!

Take a moment right now to see what the title is at the very top of your browser window for this Blog post. Now that you know where to look, do you see it?

Now let's look below at a web page that utilizes the title tag properly when the page is displayed.

Proper use of Title Tag

Example 2. Title Tag (circled in red above)

So where is this title, "Fairfax County Real Estate - Suburban Virginia - Real Estate in Northern Virginia and Fairfax County", actually coming from? Right there in the HTML code in the "head" section. Below is a screen shot of the source code of the home page of

Title tag in the html code

Example 3. Title Tag (circled in red above)

This title tag is targeted, concise, and tells the search spider exactly what it needs to know to properly index this web site. We'll see the results shortly.

Unfortunately, it is far too common to be dealing with template web sites that don't allow for page specific title tags. These lower quality templates end up using the same title tags on every page within the website; this is the kiss of death for search engine rankings. If you are serious about obtaining top rankings, you need to either pressure your template provider to allow title customization OR switch to an alternative, more search engine friendly template design. You are just wasting your marketing money with these.

Let's see how having a clear title tag is used in the search engine listing.

Google listing display

Example 4. Title Tag displayed in Google listing

The title tag is actually the very first thing displayed in any listing in the search engine results. Compare what is in the HTML source code in Example 3 with the Google display to see where the search engine is getting this.

Creating Clear Titles

Titles should be written using the strongest keyword targets as the foundation. For example, ActiveRain's primary keyword target phrase is "Real Estate Network". A glance at their home page shows that phrase is used right in the site title. Some titles are written using two or three basic two-keyword phrases. A key to writing a good title is to remember that human readers will see the title as the reference link on the search engine results page. But don't overload your title with keyword phrases. Concentrate on the strongest keywords that best describe the topic of the document content.

  1. It should contain less than 80 characters.
  2. Uses important keywords and phrases unique to each individual page.
  3. Uniquely describes what the page or site is about.
  4. Make it be consistent with page Description and web page Body.
  5. The first few keywords of your Title tag are given the heaviest weight by the search engine, so it is important not to dedicate these first few words to your Company Name if your name is not what customers are searching for the most.
  6. Move your Company Name to the end of your Title tag.

The result of using the title tag properly (along with other good SEO techniques) is that Jeanne Littlejohn's site today ranks #2 in Google out of 1,490,000 possible results! This site is also #7 in Yahoo! and #2 in MSN/Live. Oh, by the way, her site is also using a reciprocal Link Directory to help achieve these rankings too (for those who have dismissed link exchanging as being useless). ;-)

Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about this discussion. 


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Comments 24 New Comment

FRANK LL0SA Esq.- Northern Virginia Broker .:.
Northern Virginia Homes - FRANKLY REAL ESTATE Inc

Hey Win,

I gave you props and linked to this blog over at my blog about Link Farming

Love to get your feedback.


June 15, 2007 11:45 PM
Kevin Raymund Lao Jacinto
Coldwell Banker Pioneer Real Estate
Thanks for the post ! great info. 
June 16, 2007 12:47 AM
Win Singleton
Web Designer & Associate Broker
Summit Web Design and Long & Foster Realtors

Brad - I couldn't agree more! The minute I see "Untitled Document" or "Welcome" in the Title tag at the top of the browser window, I just have to laugh and think, "Oh, that will get the site found. NOT!"

Robin - Unfortunately, not all real estate template providers even allow access to having the ability to customize the Title tag or other meta tags. Since the object for most real estate agents is to get prospects from their web site, and not merely be a "vanity" site, this is one more reason to either pick your template provider carefully OR go custom and leave the work to a Pro!

For the Hurleys - Actually, I hand code all of my sites using BBEdit by Bare Bones as my editor. You gotta love a piece of software who's slogan is, "BBEdit - It doesn't suck!" :-) And yes, each html page of a site usually gets a different search phrase in each Title tag.

June 16, 2007 06:39 AM
Tom Elder
Mortgage Broker Compliance Consultant
Mortgage Broker Compliance Consultants

Thanks Win,

Great advice.  and so often overlooked.  Luck for the rest of us :) lol.  Have a great week.

July 10, 2008 10:24 AM
Dave Sullivan
The Real Story on Your Credit Score - TheCreditGuy

Excellent information I will forward it if that is ok? thank you!!!

November 25, 2012 08:04 AM

Win Singleton

Web Designer & Associate Broker
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