This is the second article in a series of articles on Duplicate Content in the floral industry. Topics in this series include: Title tags, Meta tags, Product Info, URL Bad Habits & Identifying Your Duplicate Content.
Here lies one of the greatest travesties that plagues florist websites. The duplicate title tag.
First some background…
What is a title tag?
Every web page is comprised of some basic HTML elements, the <head> and the <body>. The <head> tag contains descriptive information about the page, and the <body> contains the information that is displayed on the page. Essentially, every web page starts out like this:
<html> <— Tells the browser this page has HTML information
<head> <— The beginning of the head section of the page
<title>Title of the page</title>
<meta …. /> <— Meta information, to be covered in more detail in a later post
</head> <— Head section is all done
<body> <— Beginning of the body section
… text and images for the page …
</body> <— End of the body section
</html> <— End of the HTML content of the page
The <title> tag is often referred to as the single most important tag in SEO. While this may be debatable, there is no doubting that proper use of the title tag can have significant benefits to your site.
Think of the <title> tag as the title on the cover of a book. If you walked into a book store and all the books on a shelf had the same title, would you look through each one? Or would you assume that having looked at one the others would have the same information? The <title> tag describes the topic of the content of each particular page. This is key, because people often think in terms of ranking a site, not ranking pages – that’s a big difference, and a big mistake. Each page on your site likely contains content related to different topics (well, it should!) and the title of each page should describe the topic of that page.
Using the same title on every page of a site is a sign of sloppy web design. Remember our example of the self of books with the same title? Why would Google bother display pages from your site when you are explicitly telling Google they are the same by using the same generic title?
The solution is an easy one – and yet it requires some work, some thought. The contents of the <title> tag should reflect the core topic of the page. It’s ok to include some branding, but don’t get carried away. Target the generic terms on your home page and cover the more specific terms on individual pages. A good home page title might be:
“Acme Florist – Springfield, NY – Same Day Flower Delivery”
Checking in at a robust 57 characters, this title fits a number of desired phrases within the ~62 character display limit of the Google search result display, and is human-friendly. Note that we did not choose a title like: “Florist Flowers Florist Delivery Flowers Online Florist NY Flowers NY Delivery Springfield Florist” That would be dumb. 🙂
For a page on the areas covered by our delivery service, we might use: “Acme Florist Same Day Delivery Area – Springfield, NY”
I hope you’ve found this post helpful! Comments and questions are welcome. For more info on good title tags, check out Chris Smith’s article on Title Tags for Local Search.