SEO 101: Title tags

Ian Lurie

Learning to use Camtasia, so I recorded this quick video. If you’re new to SEO, this is the ‘SEO 101’ look at the title tag, why it matters, and best practices for using it:


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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (that's more than 25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team, training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Thanks again Ian…very helpful as usual…
    Quick question: I’m a big fan of the “pipe” symbol. No specific reason, I just like the way it breaks things up on a title tag or heading. Why do you suggest staying away from it?
    Thanks again,

  2. I was actually coming to the blog from my RSS reader to ask the same question Travis!
    I’ve always used the pipe too so would be keen to hear advice as to why not to use it.

  3. I’m not a fan of pipes because the pipe symbol has special meaning to computers. And I’m always concerned about screwy interpretations. I’ve tested the pipe versus dashes on some sample sites and dashes seem to get better recognition as separators of concepts and phrases.
    Note that this was on totally fake sites, so I can’t vouch, but I really, really feel like the dashes work better.
    That said, this is one small factor among dozens – if you like ’em, keep ’em!

  4. Hey Ian,
    Wow, your most recent post certainly looks familiar:
    Even video, and calling it SEO 101?
    Not sure whether I should be flattered, or it was pure coincidence…I know I sent you the link to it via Twitter and on your blog a few times in response to some of your posts that talked about the Title tag.
    I really respect a lot of your stuff, so I just wanted to reach out and ask whether this was a slight (or blatant) rip off, or if you thought there was something that I missed in my video that you wanted to address.
    Certainly I have no legal or any other right to the term SEO 101, or talking about title tags (seems there’s a new post every week on it) but I was just wondering…

    1. Chris, I promise I in no way lifted this from your blog, or any other blog for that matter.
      I hadn’t actually read your blog until I received this note.
      The concept of ‘101’ has certainly been around a long time. The first piece of writing I ever did as a professional was “Cellular security 101”, if I remember right.

      1. Hey Ian,
        Not a problem — as I said, ideas aren’t “unique” pretty much any of the time.
        Rather they are thoughts, imprints and conscious and subconscious neuron firings that lead to bigger and better ideas.
        I red a study recently — or maybe not so recently! — that talked about how not only is no idea unique, but how great “aha” moments that seem to propel humanity forward are often a collection of ideas that were iterated over long periods of time to lead to the “grand idea” that really wasn’t that novel at all when compared to the rest of the person’s thoughts and thinking over time and the evolution of those thoughts.
        In fact, I can attest to that very fact in that all the reading I do online gives me great “ideas” for new blog posts, things that piss me off, or something interesting to pass along to my readers.
        No harm no foul, I just thought I would at least bring it to your attention.
        By the way, would appreciate if you removed my email address!
        Me no like spam bots!
        Thanks again Ian, looking forward to future collaboration and “idea” sharing!

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