How to Write Effective Title Tags & Other On-Page Stuff

I would first like to point you wonderful readers to two introductory posts on this topic:

1: Selling SEO to the Uninitiated – which also serves as a basic intro course on what is important an what is not; and
2. SEO Keyword Research – which speaks for itself

This post is actually going to focus on a some primary html onpage elements, and is targeted at beginners and intermediate SEO’s who may have questions.

From a pure SEO point of view, and taking keyword research and use into consideration, the most important on-page elements are the following:

• Title tag
• META description
• Headers
• ALT attributes
• Link/Navigation Structure
• Copy

General consensus, with which I happen to agree, allows that the Title tag is the most important of these.

How to Write Title Tags

1. Conduct extensive keyword research, utilizing at least 2 data sources.
2. Check KEI of each term you are interested in (higher KEI (Keyword Effectiveness Index) means it is more likely that you will be able to rank. KEI is a method of determining competitiveness of a term by taking the number of searches for the term and dividing it by the number of web pages competing for the term – usually in the title tag
3. Apply common sense; if you are involved in developing online children’s games, targeting the term ‘children’s games’ is not worth it – despite the huge volume of searches… It’s just far too generic; children’s games include party games like pass-the-parcel, baby-sitter guide games like hid-n-seek, toddler games, board games, computer games, DS, Wii, Sony, Play Station etc etc from manufacturer level to the abstract.
4. Wherever possible, if it makes sense for your offering, include geotargeting
5. Include your brand name
6. Keep the title tag to a maximum of 170 characters including spaces for Google (who have the major search market share in North America)

Using WordTracker:
• always assume that the search volume numbers you see are around 1% of total search volume (it’s probably less, but this gives you something to base real figures on) and extrapolate out to get full search volume
• WordTracker provides numbers on a daily basis

Taking everything into account and based on keyword research around:

Keyphrase ‘Children online games’
…gives up

extrapolate the data out to reflect full *possible* search volume in the US

Decision Time:

(This illustration is not making use of multiple data sources, nor I am conducting full keyword research… it’s just indicative of a best practice approach)

At this point you have the option of choosing to go in one of two directions with your IA:

1. You create two portal pages for you online children’s games:

  • One page for online games for children
  • One page for online games for young children

Each must be clearly different from a content perspective, and can be targeted effectively at different age groups

2. You conduct further research on toddler (young children) games; e.g.

Ok, so perhaps sticking with a portal on children’s games, one on young children’s games and one on toddler games is a good way to go here. Depends on your budget really.

Let’s focus on writing the Title tag and other onpage elements for one page – say ‘young children online games’. What we have so far is the search volume for two primary terms. Let’s add competition and mocked up KEI a’la SEMInsights – and by no means the one you should base your SEO efforts upon:

I think that at this stage targeting the term ‘online games for young children’ makes sense.


Bearing in mind our title tag requirements, and assuming our company name is OnlineGames4U (This is a real domain, but seems to be a holding or an ad based domain – again, it is an illustration);


Online Games for Young Children |


This title tag is well within Google’ character count limit at 51 characters, there is little dilution due to unnecessary

data, and we have full URL (canonical version excl. www) for reference


Writing META Descriptions:


Google tends to apply a maximum upper limit of 168 characters including spaces. The META

description is what people see under the headline in the Google search engine results pages

(SERPs). It needs to be motivational, logical, easy to understand and above all relevant to the

title tag and the copy on the linked-to page.


We apply our research keywords: offers online games for young children direct via online order. Our fun, educational young children online games are for ages 3 to 7. Credit card & …                         


This META description is 167 characters long. We have chosen to end the actual description with

an ellipsis ‘…’ to encourage click-throughs.


What we have so far:


Online Games for Young Children | offers online games for young children direct via online order. Our fun,

educational young children online games are for ages 3 to 7. Credit card & …



Writing SEO Friendly URLs:


Assuming here that we are not dealing with CMS, Personalization or other backend issues and

that we are just considering URLs for a static site that has a backend shopping cart – which are

not addressing *breather* – we can continue…


If possible, without being ridiculous, include keywords in your URL and keep your URL structure

small – minimal sub-folders are good. The further you get from the root (the main .com) the less

likely spiders are to crawl on a regular basis.


For this example, this URL I would recommend is this:


Therefore, what we have now for our snippet in Google (our site’s free organioc display ad) is



Online Games for Young Children | offers online games for young children direct via online order. Our fun,

educational young children online games are for ages 3 to 7. Credit card & …



If someone types in the primary term we identified in the keyword research ‘online games for

young children’, they will see the following (all terms searched for an included in the display are in

bold in the SERPs)


Online Games for Young Children | offers online games for young children direct via online order. Our fun,

educational young children online games are for ages 3 to 7. Credit card & …


Now we move into the rest of the copy


Header tags:


The header tag should be applied to the headline of your page – similar to the headline in

magazine article. It identifies the content to the users and the spiders.


Make use of the H1 tag to title each individual page utilizing the Title tag words.#


Suggested H1 Tag for this page:


“Online Games for Young Children”


Main pages need sub pages that relate and interlink effectively. Sub headers on the page can be developed according to your needs (no research has been conducted into these examples – simply illustrative):


e.g. 1:


Page – Dora the Explorer Online Games for Young Children

Page – Bob the Builder Online Games for Young Children

Page – Veggie Tales Online Games for Young Children

Page – Fifi and the Flower Tots Online Games for Young Children


e.g. 2:


Page – ABC Online Games for Young Children

Page – Maze Online Games for Young Children

Page – Coloring Online Games for Young Children

Page – Recognition Online Games for Young Children




ALT Attributes


ALT attributes were initially designed for those who’s browsers were incompatible and for the visually impaired. That remains true today.


First make sure your web design is compatible with IE, Firefox, Opera and Safari, and the rest are too small to really worry about at this stage.


Then target the visually impaired by making your images ‘readably understandable’:


You need to:


describe the image in few words

include keywords where possible

ensure the viewer understands its and image by utilizing the term ‘image/picture/pic/img’ or other


Due to the enormous popularity of image search it is also advisable to rename your image files from; e.g. image1.jpg to ..say… online-game-flowers-pic.jpg


Onpage Copy


This remains a bone of contention amongst SEO practitioners. I’m going to give my opinion.


  1. If your page copy speaks to your title, META description and header and you include your primary phrase and variations (longtail phrases) throughout the copy in a logical manner for the human user, you are going to come out on top.
  2. If you can ensure that you have enough space on each page – even if they scroll on your main information pages – that’s OK. If human users see information applicable to their query, they will read further. If spiders see the keywords and variations all around a single theme used continuously through the thread that is not spammy, they will appreciate your page as a topical resource.
  3. To that end, it is viable to utilize keyword density tools. For people who are new to SEO and worried about too much keyword inclusion, check your keyword density. Your safe areas are roughly 5-15% keyword density for a given phrase on-page, (5-15 keywords per 100 on the page). There are free tools to help you out. Comment if you can’t find them and I’ll help you out.


Take it easy and it will work for you!





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