Posted on December 6, 2011
A required element of HTML/XHTML documents, title or meta tags can be the most memorable part of your website. They appear in the top browser bar and show up in search results, linking to your website. Suffice to say, they get a lot of eye traffic.
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A required element of HTML/XHTML documents, title or meta tags can be the most memorable part of your website. They appear in the top browser bar and show up in search results, linking to your website. Suffice to say, they get a lot of eye traffic. Getting your title tags right is a big way to increase your search viability and gain clicks. Title tags can make a quick and noticeable improvement to your SEO rankings--and to your bottom line. Five tips will help you improve title tags, for increased traffic.
1. Choose your first word wisely.
Search engines weigh heavier on the first word in the title. Try to make it your most relevant word. If you have a cupcake bakery, "Cupcakes" makes sense as the first word. If you put the name of your business, it will not rank as high in searches for local cupcake shops. Chances are, unless you're very well-known, people aren't searching directly for you or your business. If you prioritize your keyword--"cupcakes" in this instance--you increase your chances of visibility. Likewise, if you write "Fresh, seasonal cupcakes," you risk a lower SEO ranking--and reduced website traffic--because there are two words blocking your keyword.
2. Don't stuff keywords into the title. Try to use the keyword once.
Google will only display the first 63 to 70 characters of your title. If you stuff the title with keywords, you won't have the character real estate needed to personalize your site. Make your characters count by being straightforward and to the point.
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3. Say something important about your offering. An award, service, something that stands out.
You know that you've got to catch user attention to get a click. Well, selling your service can grab user interest long enough to get them away from Google and onto your website. Your title tag is not the place to be shy! If you've won a service award, or if you have a hot product, tout it here. "Apartments for Rent - Boston" gets your location in, but it's vague. Your listing won't stand out from 20 others just like it. One word can make a big difference, though. "Apartments for Rent - Downtown Boston" communicates what's important about your offering, and it makes you stand out from your competition.
4. Say something specific. Avoid generic text.
With 63 characters, you've got room geo-location and branding in the meta tags. If you're a realtor, you know how important location is to your services. Likewise, other small business owners can boost marketing and awareness by adding geo-specific detail to title tags. "Real Estate - Colorado Springs," "Bikram Yoga Studio, San Diego," or "Beginners Web Design" are more likely to capture the attention of those most likely to use your services--your core audience. Don't waste time or real estate with a vague title that might not pique users' interest in your website.
5. Use keywords in the title tag.
Search engines automatically bold keywords in title tags in user search results. While you don't want to stuff your title with keywords, you still need mileage from your major keyword. For a title reading "Bikram Yoga Studios, San Diego," bikram, yoga and San Diego will be bolded. For "Apartments for Rent - Downtown Boston," apartments, Boston and rent will all appear in bold. Again, the bold draws the eye, putting attention right where you want it.
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