A quick how to on how to optimise page titles, with particular emphasis placed on user, as opposed to search engine, optimisation. By Gareth Mailer
Photo by Peter Rukavina
The Page Title: it’s probably the most over-analysed aspect of just about every low-level, webmaster-driven SEO campaign.
The funny part? They don’t even matter that much, at least not for the purpose that webmasters tend to utilise them for i.e. to generate additional visibility in search.
The page title is one of the more important on-page factors but it is just that, an on-page factor; that basically means it’s not worth very much (SEO, as you will probably be aware by now, is predominantly about links, content development and making sure that content can be accessed by visiting web crawlers).
However, that said, they DO still matter and if you are to do anything on your site – excluding content development and accessibility of course – to bolster your SEO campaign, then page titles are the place to start. And I will explain why.
One of the mistakes most webmasters tend to make is almost treating their web presence as if it’s not viewed, or read – if you treat it that way then it probably never will be.
Think about the factors which influence your decision to click on a listing in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs):
That’s a LOT of competing factors and variables, and THAT’s why you need to make your page titles sell your page. Communicate your key selling points and try to make sure your page titles are kept to a maximum of 65 characters in length, inc. whitespace (this is to prevent any possibility that they will be cut off from view in the SERPs).
The ultimate aim for your website is to drive conversions – you’re not trying to secure vanity rankings, thousands of visits or even a Google Analytics account so jammed with traffic it makes you want to show it off. The real bragging rights come from the sales you generate through your website.
Get, read, visit, look, call, find, search – what do all of these terms have in common? They are all calls to action, they are all actively saying to the user: “do something”. Incorporate calls to action into your page titles, alongside one other crucial snippet of information: your phone number!
Wouldn’t it be nice if someone called you directly from the Search Engine Results Pages? My challenge to you is to make your page titles so enticing that they simply can’t help themselves.
Ok, we’ve arrived at the part you’ve been waiting for, the “optimisation” basics:
And that’s about it. However, rather than “SEOing” your page titles, focus on selling your pages – your click-through rate will likely improve, and your user’s will thank you for it when they arrive at your website to read all of your great content.