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How your web page titles can help you with local search

If you're selling products and services that are related to a special area, it is crucial that your website gets found by the right people. One of the easiest ways to get found by people that live in your area is to optimize your web page titles.

What is the web page title?

The title of a web page is the text that is written between the <title> and the </title> tags in the HTML code of a web page. The web page title is displayed in the web browser window when someone visits your website and it is usually used as the linked text when your website appear in the search results.

Why is it important to use optimized web page titles?

The web page title is one of the main factors that Google, Yahoo and other search engines use to rank web pages. A good web page title greatly improves the chances of getting high search engine rankings.

In addition, the web page title is used as the bold linked text on search result pages. That means that it should be clear, concise and appealing so that web surfers click on it.

How to change your web page title so that it gets better local rankings

If you optimize your web page titles correctly, they will both increase your search engine rankings and they will attract people from the right local area to your website.

You'll benefit from targeted traffic and you'll get more sales than before. Here are some things that you can do to improve your web page titles:

  • Include the name of your business, important keywords and your city in the title of your homepage:

       Smith & Sons - The shoe shop for inexpensive footwear in London

  • Depending on your business size, change the order of these items. Well known businesses should list their company name first. If your business is new then it's usually better to list the keyword first:

       The shoe shop for inexpensive footwear: Smith & Sons in London

    People are probably looking for a solution to their problem (inexpensive shoes) instead of your company name. Instead of your city, you can also use the name of the greater area if your service is available in that area.

  • Use a different title tag for every page. This is important. The title should reflect the content that can be found on the page. For branding purposes, the titles should contain your company name and a popular keyword for which you want to be found on search engines:

       Smith & Sons: About our London shoe shop
       Smith & Sons: Buy inexpensive sneakers in London
       Smith & Sons: The best prices for boots in London

  • Use short web page titles. Short titles are much easier to read for web surfers. Do not try to stuff keywords in your web page title. It is much more better if your website is highly relevant to one keyword than somewhat relevant to many keywords.

    If you want to optimize your website for different keywords, optimize different pages for different keywords.

  • Do not use special characters in your titles. Avoid symbols and other special characters. They might not be displayed properly on all computers and your website might look strange in the search results.

If you change your web page titles as explained above, your website will get better rankings on search engines and it will be found by people who live in the right area.

Unfortunately, the web page title is not the only element that influences the position of your website in the search results of Google and other search engines. If you want to make sure that your site appears in the top 10 results, you should optimize all factors that are needed to get top rankings.

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September 2008 search engine articles