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Improve Your Title Tag
Theme-Based Spiders

Steve Wilson has over 35 years as a senior level marketing professional and is the owner of the local Worldsites.network franchise. Worldsites is the world's largest and fastest growing full service Internet Marketing Company with over 800 consultants in 80 countries. Steve is focusing on helping clients to "Be Found", as well as Website and e-commerce development, database integration, targeted marketing, and economical hosting. He recently attended a Beyond SEO three-day workshop and is Texas' only Beyond SEO certified Internet marketing consultant.

Improve Your TITLE Tags
I recently read an article where the author said, “By now just about everyone knows that you should use META tags to improve your ranking in the big search engines.”  Well, in San Antonio, I would have to say that’s not what I see.  I test about 10-20 sites a week performing an Internet marketing checkup on prospective clients’ Websites and I find that over 70% of the sites do not even come close to properly using Meta tags.

The Title tag has a huge impact on your search engine ranking.  Common sense changes to your page titles will make a significant difference in how many surfers can find your Website.

It’s not possible to have hard and firm guidelines for improving your search engine ranking since each one has different rules on how they determine how relevant your Web page is on a particular search query, but common sense should tell you the title of your Web page is important.

Yet, I see Website after Website with the home page title being “Home” and then the interior page titles being page one, page two, and so on.  The other common mistake is to name the pages after the company, like “Jim’s Gifts Home Page”.  The chance that someone looking for gifts would type in “Jim’s Gifts Home Page” is zero and none.

So instead of saying 
<TITLE>Jim’s Gifts Home Page</TITLE>

Try this:
<TITLE>Jim’s Gifts: silver dinnerware, tableware, cocktail shakers, home décor, bar accessories</TITLE>

Now, the chance that your relevant keywords will appear in a search engine query has been greatly enhanced.

You can use up to 100 characters (not words) in the TITLE tag area; however, many search engines will only display about 70 characters.  This means that the title that appears in the browser will be abbreviated.  While this might be inconvenient for the site’s visitor, the “extra” characters for the search engines are worth it.

Going one step further, most of the search engine tutorials say that the order within your site is also important, with words at the beginning of the title being given the greatest weight.  So I would have written the title like this:
<TITLE>silver dinnerware, tableware, cocktail shakers, home décor, bar accessories at Jim’s Gifts</TITLE>

This would give a better score to the reverent search query keywords and if Jim’s Gift is “cut off” and not displayed on the browser that is probably OK as the surfer probably wasn’t specifically looking for “Jim’s Gifts” in the first place. 

One last note, the title will be listed in the search results and if it is just a listing of your keywords it may be confusing and less inviting to someone using the title to determine if they are going to visit the site.  So with the above being “designed” mainly for search engines, I would then write the Description tag more for the surfer to pull them into the site.

Theme-Based Spiders
Search engines latest attempt to deliver high quality results to searchers is the use of theme-based spiders.  Recently Google, Inktomi, AltaVista, Lycos, and Fast have added this to their “ranking” algorithms.

A theme-based spider will look at individual pages but then will combine the results and analyze the site based on its primary focus.  If you have already been optimizing your site using a focused title tag, description tag, keyword tags, and targeted keyword content on the site, your site probably already is theme-based.  

Up until now, we have thought of spiders being page-based and have designed sites with many different themes.  For example, a site that contains several pages devoted to pest control, lawn service, and pool service.  A page-based spider could give all three topics a high search results ranking if the individual pages were optimized properly.

Not so with the theme-based spider.  When it sees the many different keywords and content from the different topics, the spider will have a difficult time determining what the site really represents.  The keyword phrase that might get the number one results rank could be “pest pool service”.  Can you guess how much traffic, if any, this keyword phase will generate?

Just like a page-based spider, a theme-based spider crawls through your site indexing the following information:

  • Top-level domain name and subdirectory names
  • TITLE tags
  • META tags
  • HTML tags (header tags, alt. tags, hyperlinks, etc.)
  • Content on the page
  • Inbound and outbound links

This is the same as the page-based spider, but the theme-based spider goes one step further.  When the spider finishes crawling through the site, it then determines the site’s theme by evaluating the pages as a whole, not individually. 

If you can’t accurately describe your site in one sentence and then optimize the whole site to reflect that focus, then you may have a problem.  Your site’s traffic will suffer if the spider assigns a focus that doesn’t match your intended focus.

As we said above, if your site has tightly focused content and keywords then there is no need to panic and “rework” your Website.  But if you are having trouble getting to the top in some engines, the lack of a focused theme may well be the problem.

In fact, the absence of a focused Website will hurt you with either a page or theme based spider.  Theme-based spiders will magnify the problem.  

In conclusion, as theme-based spiders grow in importance, you may find it’s necessary to break up your current Website into single theme sites with different domains and linking between them instead of trying to combine many varied topics into a single site.

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