Webology, Volume 2, Number 4, December, 2005

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Alireza Noruzi

The HTML Title Tag and Its Importance

The Title Tag is an HTML code. The text embedded in the title tag of a web page appears as the title of the web page in search engine results. Moreover, the information contained in a title tag appears as a header or label at the top of the screen in the reverse bar of a web browser window (such as Internet Explorer) to present obviously the title of the web page that is being viewed.

Each web page should have a title tag that efficiently describes what the page is about. The title of a web page should be informative as to its contents, not including the repeated keywords. The title of a web page should correctly and concisely inform what the page is about. The title of a web page is important to its meaning and it is likely to appear on search engines' results and in bookmarks or favorites (Noruzi, 2006).

Search engines consider certain on-page (for example, meta-tags, title tag, keywords density, words in the URL) and off-page (for example, backlinks) factors when determining the relevancy and ranking of a web page in relation to a search query. One of the factors in achieving high ranking is the presence of keywords in the title of web pages. Note that all search engines support the title tag to some extent. Google claims that "if a page includes the words "civil war" in its title, that's a hint that it might be more relevant than a document with the title "19th Century American Clothing." In the same way, if the words "civil war" appear several times throughout the page, that page is more likely to be about the civil war than if the words only appear once" (Cutts, 2005).

The title also serves as a means of identification and distinction. A web user can perform a title search using words from the title of web pages on search engines. A logical place to start reading a web page is the title or the first-level heading. So the title should be informative enough and attractive as well.

The main objective of this note is to examine how different countries use the title tag in their web pages and to demonstrate the importance of the title tag. The sample for this note was comprised of 25 countries' top level domains (TLDs) from five continents (i.e. five countries from each continent). We searched on Google for the number of Untitled web pages appears in our sample of 25 countries, using a combination command for each country (see Table 1). The following searches were determined:
- the number of Untitled pages, for example:
          allintitle:Untitled site:uk/
- the total number of pages from each country, for example:

Table 1. Untitled Web pages in Google (18 December)
Country TLD No. of Untitled
No. of pages in each
country domain
Percentage of
Untitled Pages
Canada .ca 4,900,000 168,000,000 2.92
Netherlands .nl 3,980,000 45,900,000 8.67
France .fr 3,090,000 99,400,000 3.11
United States .us 2,060,000 66,300,000 3.11
Australia .au 1,950,000 93,400,000 2.09
Japan .jp 1,880,000 142,000,000 1.32
China .cn 1,870,000 51,000,000 3.67
UK .uk 1,810,000 472,000,000 0.38
Germany .de 1,660,000 161,000,000 1.03
Spain .es 1,550,000 31,400,000 4.94
Mexico .mx 607,000 13,700,000 4.43
Chile .cl 475,000 15,300,000 3.10
South Africa .za 445,000 17,800,000 2.50
New Zealand .nz 299,000 22,700,000 1.32
Venezuela .ve 60,400 2,930,000 2.06
Iran .ir 26,600 2,750,000 0.97
Morocco .ma 24,400 3,240,000 0.75
Pakistan .pk 17,200 3,590,000 0.48
Egypt .eg 11,200 3,190,000 0.35
Algeria .dz 10,200 331,000 3.08
Saudi Arabia .sa 934 3,190,000 0.03
Nigeria .ng 473 106,000 0.45
Fiji .fj 297 462,000 0.06
Papua New Guinea .pg 136 211,000 0.06
Guam .gu 48 11,100 0.43
Total - 26,727,888 1,419,911,100 -

Table 1 shows that more than 26 millions of web pages from these countries found to be untitled and many have incorrect or misleading titles. This means that the use of title tags needs to be considerably reviewed and improved by webmasters.

It is also interesting to compare the generic top-level domains, using the above-mentioned method. Generic top-level domains include .edu (educational), .com (commercial), .org (organizational, non-commercial), .net (network), .info (informational), .gov (governmental), .mil (military); .biz (business), .name (personal), .pro (professional), .aero (air transport and civil aviation), .coop (business cooperatives) and .museum.

Table 2. Generic top-level domains (18 December)
TLD No. of Untitled
No. of pages in
each domain
Percentage of
Untitled Pages
Com 11,400,000 4,020,000,000 1.37
Edu 8,060,000 1,520,000,000 0.96
Org 6,960,000 1,990,000,000 1.07
Net 1,820,000 279,000,000 0.13
Gov 1,790,000 982,000,000 1.14
Mil 353,000 25,800,000 0.91
Info 208,000 21,700,000 0.05
Biz 77,600 7,220,000 0.01
Name 5,120 3,990,000 1.37
Aero 3,720 327,000 0.96
Museum 2,510 275,000 1.07
Coop 730 1,410,000 0.13
Pro 13 91,800 1.14
Total 30,680,693 8,851,813,800 -

Table 2 shows that more than 30 millions of web pages from generic top-level domains found to be untitled. Although the actual number of untitled web pages, based on Google hits, may be controversial. But the number of untitled web pages throughout the Web is significant. Based on this note, it can be suggested that the title tag of untitled web pages needs to be considerably improved by webmasters and search engine designers.

It should be pointed out that checking the web pages presented as "Untitled Document", indicated that some of them have their unique titles and are not untitled. In other words, search engines present many web pages as untitled documents, while they have their unique titles. The question is why such pages are retrieved in response to the title command (i.e. allintitle:Untitled or intitle:Untitled)? This is also true for other search engines, like Yahoo, as we tested the title command on Yahoo (title:Untitled).

Articles in This Issue

We have three application-oriented articles and a book review in this issue, the first article concerns with aspects of Online Multi-Lingual, Multi-Faith Thesaurus, and the second and the third articles discuss information seeking behaviour of university scholars and the use of the Internet by students.

A. Neelameghan & K.S. Raghavan: An Online Multi-Lingual, Multi-Faith Thesaurus: A Progress Report on F-THES. Multilingual thesaurus, dictionaries and other tools are important for scholarly communication because of linguistic diversity in the digital world. Online thesaurus are useful for inter-cultural communication. Authors argued that "it is therefore important to device means, methods and tools for improving inter-cultural and inter-faith exchange of ideas." The construction and maintenance of a multilingual thesaurus is a complex task. Acording to this paper, "building a multilingual thesaurus for a culture-specific domain raises several issues. Most of these are related to the nature of the respective culture-specific domains." It is concluded that "multilingual thesauri in culture-specific domains facilitate inter-cultural communication and comparative studies."

Kingkaew Patitungkho & Neela J. Deshpande: Information Seeking Behaviour of Faculty Members of Rajabhat Universities in Bangkok. Most research on information seeking behaviour focus on information seeking environments such as libraries, academic institutions, research organizations, and the Web. The understanding of faculty members and students' information seeking behaviour has become an increasingly popular research. This survey examines information seeking behaviour of faculty members of Rajabhat universities in Bangkok, Thailand. It is shown that faculty members consult a knowledgeable person in their field for seeking information. They also discuss with their colleagues and reference librarians. It is also shown that textbooks, periodicals and newspapers are the preferences of faculty members to seek information. Lack of knowledge in using the library and lack of time to search for resources are two problems they faced while seeking information.

Rajeev Kumar & Amritpal Kaur: Internet and its use in the Engineering Colleges of Punjab, India: A Case Study. This survey analyzes the use of the Internet and related issues among the teachers and students of engineering colleges of Punjab, India. It is concluded that the Internet facility enables teachers and students to enhance their academic excellence by providing them the latest information and access to worldwide information. This study suggests that the Internet facility should be extended to the hostels and rooms of the teachers and all colleges should have their own web sites, so that users can easily get the academic news.

Hamid R. Jamali: Review of Theories of Information Behavior. The final section of this issue is a book review on Theories of Information Behavior edited by Karen E. Fisher, Sandra Erdelez, and Lynne McKechnie. Tefko Saracevic said that "Theories of Information Behavior is much more than a research guide. It is a compendium and an encyclopedia of theories, philosophies, and experiments in information behavior research conducted over the past four decades or so. The presentations are concise, and many are a delightful read, written by protagonists of that research."

Finally, I would like to appreciate founders of the Google Books project, because they make it possible to easily verify incomplete or inaccurate citations to books on Books.Google.com. My thanks to manuscript reviewers and my special thanks to all the contributors to this issue. All suggestions and comments for improving the contents and design of the Journal will be appreciated.


Bibliographic information of this paper for citing:

Noruzi, A. (2005).   "Editorial: The HTML Title Tag and Its Importance."   Webology, 2(4), editorial 6. Available at: http://www.webology.org/2005/v2n4/editorial6.html

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Copyright © 2005, Alireza Noruzi.