Ah, title tags. Such a small thing, such a huge effect. Here at Business Marketing Online, we have a brilliant little tool (available to our Insider Programme Pro subscribers) which crawls your site, and lists all of the pages in a spreadsheet, along with their title tag, meta description tag, headlines, etc. It’s a total eye-opener for everyone who uses it. And the one thing I see time and time again is the same title tag repeated on dozens of pages.
The result? You’re not telling Google what’s on the page, reducing your chances of ranking well for the page’s subject. And when you do appear in the Google results, what the viewers will see is some bland page title which doesn’t entice them to click on your result at all.
But what should you put in the title? Key search terms, of course. However, many people also insist on putting their company name in the title (indeed, many content management systems seem to force this), and this dramatically reduces the number of characters left to get those search terms in. One way around this is to put the company name after the actual page title, so if it gets cut off, at least Google users see the main part. But some research suggests that the company name just dilutes the effectiveness of the rest of the title, and is unnecessary, because after all, you’re presumably doing well for your own company name, aren’t you? The decision perhaps comes down to branding, and there’s a good discussion in Do You Use Your Brand Name in the Site Title Tags? on Search Engine Journal. Be sure to read the comments thread too.