One thing that many people forget with their SEO is to pay attention to their title tags and to make them user friendly. Title tags are something that you should not take credit away from or put on the back burner. Years ago your title tags played a huge role in SEO, but because everyone is so focused on keyword relevance, backlinks and content they have forgotten a few important things about SEO when it comes to title tags. In this post I’ll go over why title tags are important. Things to remember when using a title tag and then a couple of examples of Title tags that you may want to use as an example when you are thinking about how to modify your own.
Why title tags are important and still relevant.
Title tags are not only one of the first things that the Search Engines see, but they are what your website visitors see when searching the search engines. If your title tags suck then your end users won’t want to click on them. If your title tags don’t have keyword or meaning relevance to your landing pages and themes, you may have to put in extra efforts to rank for some of the general terms you are going after with your SEO and may lose customers. You basically need to use your title tags to not only show keyword relevance, but they have to be relevant to the end user and competitive enough for the end user to want to click it to come to your site. So how do you do this with your title tags?
Things to remember when using title tags and how to use title tags.
1. Keyword relevance. You want to try to use the keywords you are optimizing your page for in your title tag. You can use them one time or you can use them twice but you don’t want to keyword stuff them. Putting Blue Widgets, Blue Widgets, Blue Widgets,…… into your title tag probably won’t rank you alone and won’t be that appealing to the Search Engine or the end user. You should think about the keyword or keyword phrase that you want to optimize for and the long tail versions of it. You should then try to use them in your tag while keeping it user friendly so that the end user wants to click on it. It will not only be less spammy for the search engines, but the end user will see a more relevant result if they search that phrase.
2. The length of your title tags. I have seen title tags that go on for 50 words and more. I have also seen title tags that are only one or two keywords long. The reality is that you have space and room for a short phrase or sales pitch, why not use it to your advantage? You don’t want to go over a certain character amount and you also don’t want to sound spammy. You have room so try to think about what you want to say and turn it into a short phrase. You don’t want to use to many words because they will not only not fit in the SERP, but the SEs don’t always like long title tags. I’ll give some examples below.
3. Don’t forget your end user. Although keywords are important with your title tags, if the sentence or phrase is not relevant to the end user, it won’t matter if you rank because they may skip over you for someone with a more targeted title tag. One of the trickiest things to do is to find the right balance of keywords and sales pitches to not only make the search engines happy, but also to stand out against the other 9 results in the SERPs. What you may want to do is to look at all ten results that are currently showing up, then look at what long tail phrases you are trying to optimize for and think about how you can create a more appealing title tag that includes that phrase and also fits into the character limit of the search engine. Lets go over an example of how to use a title tag.
Examples of how to use a title tag.
Just like with every other Marketing site out there, we’ll use blue widgets as our example. We’ll start out by doing a search for Blue Widgets.
The first thing I look at is what are the title tags showing up in the top ten results and what would make the end user want to click on them? The first few sites are sort of store names so they could be brand loyal and stores that people know. The thing you have to remember is that not every customer is 100% loyal to a brand and if you are selling the same product or same blue widgets, use their lack of a title tag to your advantage and show the end user why you are a better choice.
If you look to the left you’ll notice that none of these title tags are salesy or really stand out. If you sell blue widgets but the manufacturer is the top listing, why not try to out sell them since you are not currently able to outrank them. They have their url as their title tag and as you scroll down you’ll see non url title tags as well as a couple of adjectives + the keyword. What you don’t see is a value proposition like the Best or something that would cause a click on your tag instead of the top results like Half Off or Discounted or Name Brand Blue Widgets. If you can show that your Blue Widgets are the same, but you can offer them for the better price, then that may cause the consumer to click your SERP instead of the top results. What you are trying to do is to show more value to a potential customer by giving them a reason to skip over the boring title tag that is in the first result and click on yours. The one thing to remember is that if you are going to be pitching a discount or name brand, you have to actually have them.
If you don’t actually have that brand or have that offer, you build a lack of trust or create a bad user experience for the end user and they may remember it and not click on your site again. You don’t want to lie to them and lead them in to find a deal or name brand when you don’t actually have one. That is a great way to lose customers and to lose potential referrals from them.
After looking through your competitors title tags and identifying who is showing up and where or why, you now need to figure out your own title tags. If your blue widgets are the same as theirs but you sell them at half off, why not try something like Half Off Name Brand Blue Widgets. You may also try something like Authentic Blue Widgets, Get a Free Quote Today! Both of those would fit into the SERPs and both may stand out in the top ten results if everyone else has boring title tags or just their url as their title tag. Not only do these title tags possibly show more value than just the words blue widgets, but you are helping to guide your new customers to you.
Title tags are great because they not only help you bring in new customers, but they can give you a value proposition and help with your branding. You can use tools like the Google Website optimizer or Analytics to see which one brings in more traffic or more interest. You can also use that data to see which version brought in more quality traffic and you can also use title tags to help with your SEO. Title tags are still extremely important and I don’t think enough people give credit to them. There are many more things that you can use them for and if you want to share one of them, feel free to leave a comment below.