Page title tags are behind-the-scenes code on your web pages that Google is looking for. A page visitor does not see them. Technically speaking, they are called “meta-data.”
Often, but not always, a page title tag is the same text that is seen on a search engine results page as the title of the page.
Google looks for page title tags to help it START to determine relevancy for a page. It is very important to have them in place on all of your pages. They should contain your targeted keywords and closely “match the search” someone types in at Google.
They should not just be keywords stuffed together, they should be somewhat readable and make sense to someone reading it on the search engine results page (SERP).
Page title tags are a very important SEO ranking factor.
Without very good page title tags it will be difficult to get a page top ranked for its targeted keywords/phrases.
A description tag is similar behind-the-scenes code on a page that should be a short description of the page. Google also looks at description tags to determine relevancy for a particular page. Again, use your targeted keywords in this description.
Here is an example of both a title tag and description tag for a top ranked caterer in New Jersey (Google search query: new jersey caterers).
<title>New Jersey Caterers – Catering and Catering Services in New Jersey </title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Catering, Caterers and Party Rentals for your Wedding, Party or Event in New York or New Jersey”>
It is a considered a best practice to keep title tags less than 55-60 characters. Description tags should be less than 150-160 characters. Both should use your most important keywords up-front. If you use your company name in your title tags (and I never do), put it at the end.
Each page at your website should have a unique page/description tag. They might be very similar, but they should not all be the same (Google looks for this and it is a penalty factor).
How you add page and description tags to your web pages is determined by the platform you built your website with. HTML sites are hand coded or “hard coded.” WordPress sites can use a SEO plugin like All-in-One SEO or Yoast. Wix and Square Space also have built-in tools to manage your page/description tags.
Homework: take a look at the page title tags and description tags across your website – but especially your home page. Are they in place on every page? Are they all the same? Do they contain your targeted keywords like the catering example above?
Here are two helpful resources related to this topic: