Why and How to Optimize Page Titles to Drive More Traffic

“What’s in a name…?” asked Shakespeare. If an SEO were to reply, the answer would be ‘everything’. The name or the title of your page is the first and most important thing that search engine spiders track while ranking your website. So, your first step on the path to higher ranking should be to write your page titles correctly.

What Are Page Titles and Why are they Critical?

For the beginners, your page title is what’s inside the <title> and </title> HTML tags. If you’re using WordPress or another site building platform, the words that you write in your Title field are automatically converted into an HTML title tag. You cannot have two title tags in an HTML document and if you omit the title tag, your page will no longer validate as HTML.

Your customers can see the page title on the search engine results page (SERP), and in their browser titles (tabs) and address bars when they are visiting your page. The title is also prominently displayed in social shares, and is used as anchor text by people who link back to your page from other websites.

Do you get the idea how important the title tag is? Now, let’s see how to write the page titles that work for your website’s success.

#1. Use Keywords in the Title

When a user searches on Google, Bing, or other search engines with a particular search term, the search engine matches the search query with the page titles. Hence, the title for each page must contain the most important keywords for that page, the keywords that your potential customers are using to search for the information that you have on that page.

#2. Match Title with Page Content

In order to rank high and bring you heartwarming organic traffic, and to offer a satisfactory user experience to your visitors, your page title must also correctly represent the contents of your page. For example, if you have a page for selling Valentine Day Roses, the title should contain these same keywords. It should not say Wedding Flowers or Mother’s Day Flowers. Sounds quite simple? Well, it is.

#3. Think User Intent

Your page title is not only read by spiders, but by people too. The wording of the SERP page title can play a crucial role in delivering higher click-thru rates. You need to consider the intent with which your users are searching for your product or service. For example, see the following results for the search term “google panda recovery services.” Can you say which page titles are matching the user’s intent more closely than the others?

screen shot of Google Panda

#4. Mind the Length

Search engines only display the first 50-60 characters of your page title on the SERP, so you should aim for around 55 characters to have all your titles display in full. However, this is not something carved in stone. The search engine can sometimes display a different page title than what you wrote inside the title tag. Sometimes, Google may pick up a snippet from the end of a longer page title and omit some of the characters in the middle to match the results more closely with the search terms.

#5. Include Your Brand Name

The number of branded searches, or searches with terms containing your brand-name, now have a significant impact on your SEO rankings. Google considers branded searches as incoming links or citations and gives you credit for them by ranking your page better. It’s also good for your brand visibility, awareness and recall.

#6. Get Creative

Finally, page titles are also important for social sharing and link building. The page title shows with the link you share on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, and can get you more engagement, traffic and shares if it is creatively drafted. People use your page title as anchor text when they link to your page, so the more accurate and engaging your page title, the more the traffic that it will bring to your page.

 

References:
https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag

http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/good-titles

http://www.w3schools.com/TAGS/tag_title.asp

http://www.hobo-web.co.uk/title-tags/

Free Tip Sheet:

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