October 22, 2008
By Jill Whalen
How important is it to have a large number of indexed sites through Google? If so, how do we increase the number, and how do we edit what text appears under the link?
I've seen different requirements for the length of a Title tag. What is the most effective length? Also, is it important to list the name of your organization – and if so, should it be at the beginning or the end of the Title?
Also, how long does it take to see results of changes in your Title tags?
Thanks for your questions; please see my answers below:
How important is it to have a large number of indexed sites through Google?Do you mean a large number of pages indexed? (As opposed to sites.) If so, no, it's only important to have as many pages as you need on your website to say what you need to say. In other words, if you're asking whether you should add pages to your site because you think the search engines like sites with more pages, then the answer would be no. Adding pages for search engines is never a good idea. Only add pages to your site if you feel it isn't providing all the information that it should be providing to the site visitors who read it.
That said, if you mean that you have a lot of pages on your site but many of them aren't getting indexed, then that's another story. You do want every page of your site to be indexed, so if they're not, it's important to figure out why. It may be a technical problem with your site design that is impeding the search engine spiders' ability to get to every page. Or it may be the site's lack of popularity on the Internet as a whole (as measured by the links that point to it). Once the website becomes more popular, the search engines should more deeply index it.
Regarding the text that appears under your link at the Google search results pages, that is search-query dependent. That means it will change depending on what words were used to find your page at Google. So, if you type in the name of your company, you will see one description, and if you type in a keyword phrase for which your page shows up, it will most likely show a different description. Sometimes these descriptions will be pulled from your Meta description tag – often if the keyword phrase the person used at Google happens to be in your Meta description – and sometimes it will be pulled from some content on the page where the keywords were used in the copy.
Please see my Meta description articles for more info on this.
I've seen different requirements for the length of a Title tag. WhatThere is no such thing as a "required length" for Title tags. I prefer them to be approximately 11-12 words. That provides me with enough space to use 3 keyword phrases and make it enticing for the searcher to click on in the search results pages. Those who suggest shorter Title tags usually do so because they don't like their tags appearing to be cut off in the search results.
As far as adding in the name of your organization, you definitely want it first in the Title tag of your home page. On inner pages, it depends on a few things: If your organization or company name is very short, or can be abbreviated into just one or two words, then I would recommend keeping it at the beginning. If it's a number of words, you may want to leave it out or put it at the end. But if you're a well-known brand, you may want to keep it at the front of every Title. If you can't or don't want it in the Title tag, then make sure you use it at the beginning of your Meta description tag.
Also, how long does it take to see results of changes in your title tags?Anywhere from as soon as the new Title is indexed, to never. I know that's not a very good answer, but it's the unfortunate truth. In general, if you're going to see any changes at all, it would probably be within a month or so. Still, it depends on how drastic your Title tag change was, how competitive the phrases are that are contained within it, and how well optimized the page is for the keyword phrases in question. If you're optimizing for a highly competitive phrase, simply putting it into the Title tag may have no effect whatsoever. On the other hand, if you've added some non-competitive phrases to the Title tag, you will probably see quick results (but not necessarily a traffic increase!).
Just remember that all SEO factors work together to bring more targeted traffic to your website, and doing only one thing in isolation may or may not make a difference.
Hope this helps!
Jill Whalen is the CEO of High Rankings, a Boston SEO Company.
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