Good practices when you SEO a page title has to be at both the top of my list of pet peeves and one of the most common mistakes I see on websites. So many people overlook their title tag and the importance it holds both for ranking and Click Through Rate (CTR).
A properly formatted title tag could mean the difference between low page 3 and the first-page ranking for your keyword. It also could make a HUGE difference in the amount of clicks you get once people find your page in the listings. Take a look at the example below. Which one would you rather click on?
- Which one would you click on based on title.
I don’t mean to dump on the designers that created these sites. If fact most of the time it’s due to the Content Management System they are using and they just left the defaults. Other times no thought was given to how to SEO the page title from a marketing perspective when competing for every click in the 10 results that show up when you do a search. This is about the only time you can tell Google how to treat your site so take advantage of it.
When it come down to search ranking your SEO Page Title is extremely important. It’s one of the main ways the search engines determine what the page is about.
Here are the details of having a great Title tag that the search engines and your users will love.
- Make sure you have one. I know this goes without saying but I have had clients who “Just didn’t know what to say” so they left it out. Guess what? The search also left out their page.
- Total words – This is a personal preference just remember that this is what people will see in your listing when you come up in search. This is about TITLE and keywords not about your marketing message. That comes later (see Meta Description). Keep it short and to the point. Have the name of you website in the title does not het especially if your domain name contains the keywords you always want to rank for. If you have to do it in a title see if you can use the plural to keep yourself from repeating.
- Use the keyword your trying to rank for only once in the title. Using it more times does not help and can even hurt you since it looks to the spider like your trying to spam. There is some debate on placement but my rule of thumb has always been to get it as close to the beginning of the page title as you can.
eg. Solar Turbines: Customer Service > Gas Turbine Overhaul
Gas Turbine Overhaul | Solar Turbines If I wanted to rank for Gas turbine Overhaul the 2nd one is a much cleaner and better choice. I know my keyword is in there twice but in the case it makes sense since it the title of my domain. In case your wondering YES it does matter on the plural on whether you will show up for Turbine or Turbines. In this case we have all our bases covered.
- Keep it short. The more long winded you get in your title the less chance you will have to rank for your keyword. Plus Google will only display the first 66 characters of the title. The rest are still there just no one will ever see them. If you ignored step 3 and your keyword is at the end you have no chance of the searcher even seeing it in BOLD in the results.
One last thing, if your using a CMS with breadcrumbs try not to use those breadcrumbs for your title unless you give some serious thought to what it’s going to look like 2 or 3 categories deep. Once you’re that far gone into multiple nested categories it’s hard to come back and redo it all. Trust me you will have to go back once you realize that none of those deeper pages are ranking for what you want.