So following our blog titled Small Business SEO Strategy we have decided to build feature blogs explaining in plain english what each feature is and also how it helps. We’re hoping that this will help marketing execs, business owners and SME’s bypass all the tech nonsense and empower themselves. First off is “page titles” and Joanne, our researcher, will explain what they are and how important they are to your business and website.
The page title tags that you choose for each page of your website are one of the most important things to consider when managing your SEO. This is what will appear at the top of your browser, in tabs and on search engine results pages.
The HTML code looks like this:
<title>Page Title Goes Here</title>
Essentially, this is the point where you let search engine robots and your potential customers know what your page is all about. The wording you use here is critical, as it can make the difference between a click onto your site or a disinterested scroll past.
The secret to a great page title can be summarised in three main points:
- Be concise
- Be unique
- Be relevant
Ideally you need to be keeping your page titles down to around the 50-60 character mark, as search engines have a limit on what will show on result pages. This will differ between search engines (Google cuts off at 66 characters, while you have up to 120 on Yahoo), but where possible it is much better to keep it as short as you can to be on the safe side. Leave out ‘filler’ words such as ‘and’ or ‘the’ and so on, as they will take up valuable character space and won’t be recognised by search engine robots. A useful way to separate different points you want to make in your title is to use a vertical bar (also known as a ‘pipe’) between key phrases; for instance:
Web Design Bath & Bristol | Digital Agency would look like the below in code:
Individuality is also a key factor when thinking about what to call your page titles. It is important to remember that nowadays, the majority of website owners are going to be competing in a very crowded online marketplace – so being unique and crafting something that stands out against all the other search results is going to greatly improve your chances of traffic. This is your first chance to let your potential customers know what your business is all about, so make it count.
In addition, you need to make sure that each page title that you create for your website is different from the last. Sites that simply duplicate page titles across the entirety of the website will be ranked lower by search engines, as well as losing you valuable opportunities to enhance your traffic. For instance, if you have a website that primarily deals with running shoes, but which also sells other products such as fitness clothing, exercise equipment and so on, then simply naming each of your page titles ‘Running Around | High Quality Running Shoes for All Your Running Needs’ you’ll be missing out on a lot of the traffic you could be getting for your other services.
However, the importance of keeping your titles unique and catchy doesn’t mean you should favour quirkiness over relevance. If your page title isn’t an accurate representation of what the page is actually about, you’ll risk ‘click backs’ – where a potential customer finds your site through a search engine but quickly clicks back to the search page because you haven’t provided the information they were looking for. Naturally, in some cases this is unavoidable, but the more time you invest in ensuring that your page titles provide the best explanation possible, the less likely you will be to have people clicking on your site and quickly discovering that it wasn’t what they were after.
A good way of doing this is by using the same or similar keywords in your page title as you do in the actual content of your page. This way, you’ll ensure that there can be no misleading information set out in your title that will drive people away from your site. Keywords are a very useful tool here, but be sure to use them wisely – keyword-stuffed page titles will only result in penalisation from search engines, so try to keep them to a minimum. By avoiding keyword spamming, you’ll also be creating a title that is more likely to attract the eye of your customers. Users are much more likely to pay attention to a well-written and expressive sentence than they will to a string of keywords.
Getting your page titles concise, unique and relevant is a vital part of your digital marketing strategy and will greatly improve your chances of increasing your search engine ranking and site traffic – so make your first impression a good impression.
Check out our other blogs on SEO and Digital Marketing and also check out the following resource for more information: Moz – http://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag and Search Engine Land – http://searchengineland.com/advanced-seo-learning-experiments-using-googles-title-tag-changes-example-189850
Image by Colin Dunn – https://www.flickr.com/photos/colindunn/