Before we get into the meat of this article, let’s answer the question many people ask me in regard to title tags…
What are title Tags?
Title tags are short descriptions of a page’s message. WE include them when we talk about meta tags although not all SEOs do. They are the first thing a searcher sees about your page but they are not visible on the page itself. Google displays your title tag in its search results. So, not only does it tell Google what your page is about, it is also an opportunity to convince a searcher to click through to your site.
How to Write an Effective Title Tag
Title tags used to be limited in search results by a number of characters. Now they are limited by pixels which means you can’t know for sure if your title tag will be cut off in the search results or not. This makes it even more important to get your target keyword up front. So, if your target keyword is “Link Building Service” then your title tag should be something like “Dallas Link Building Service for Small Businesses” rather than “My Company Provides Quality Link Building Service To Yours”. Similarly if you want to include your company or brand name, put it at the end. Back to length, the new standard is 55-60 characters. You can use more, but it will get truncated in the search results.
Your tag needs to be readable. That means don’t stuff it with keywords. Write it like a tweet (if you’re the sort that tweets) rather than a scientific formula. So, “Dallas Link Building Service for Small Businesses” is preferred over “Dallas Link Building Service, Inbound Links, SEO Backlinks” As with all content it to be natural and not forced. If Google thinks you’re trying to game the system you’ll get a good bump down in the listings.
Each title needs to be unique. That means more than changing the service or city. Rewrite the entire thing. When you have a dozen city-focused pages for the same service this can get tricky, but it’s possible. Sometimes you can get away with rearranging similar tags, but remember to do what you can to naturally keep your focus keyword up front.
Don’t keyword stuff. I know I mentioned this before, but it’s really important. It’s very tempting to want to put 2,3,4 keywords in there because you never know what a searcher will search for. Thanks to the Hummingbird update you can relax. Google knows what the searcher means and know s what your page is about even if the exact keyword isn’t mentioned.
This isn’t technically a title tag update, but using rich snippets on your page where appropriate can help. Rich snippets highlight particular areas of your page such as a product title, a review, or location. Sometimes Google will add that information to beneath your title in the search results.
Title Tag Testing
The only true way to test your titles is to change them. If you have several service areas then try some with your brand closer to the front or keyword closer to the end. Maybe use some emphatic wording to coax searchers to click through to your site. Make some longer or shorter. The important thing is you need click through data before you change them so you know what methods works and which methods don’t.
As always you can call us for a free analysis of your title tags or any other aspect of your SEO efforts.