Title tags are an important element of any website, no matter what your business is. They are your “first impression” when it comes to your organic (natural) result in the search engines. Here is an example:

Title tags appear on every page and/or post of website. Most web designers and developers will have included a rule to include a title tag in the architecture of your site whether you know it or not. Many popular blogging or CMS programs like WordPress, Tumblr or Typepad also come with the functionality built in and customizable. See how important they are if all these fine folks know to include them?

What some of these fine folks might not know is how best to utilize and optimize a title tag. Quite often, you will find that designers and quite a few of the blogging and CMS programs simply take the title tag you specify and use it repeatedly for every single page on your site. This is no bueno. So with this in mind, here are 5 simple steps to optimize your title tag in order to increase traffic and (more importantly) conversions:

1. Keep it under 65 characters

If you don’t do this, Google will treat you with a lovely ellipsis at the end of your title. Yuck.

2. Brand it

Include your website or company name in every title tag on every page. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the beginning or end, just so long as it’s there. Why, you may ask? Well, think about when you’re walking through a grocery store shopping for cereal. Do you head for a brand name that obviously had some thought put into it, or do you head for the plain white box that says “CEREAL”?

3. Use keyword phrases and nothing but keyword phrases

In a previous post we offered you 5 tips to beef up your SEO where we mentioned some keyword tools. Specifically, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Use this to come up with some mid to low-level competitive terms for your title tag. Start by inputting keywords you know your users are using to get to your competitor(s) sites. You may find that by focusing on the longer (and so less competetive) terms, you will see less of an increase in traffic but more conversions. This is thanks to a standard logic when it comes to human beings and searching online:

Aim for a unique target keyword for each page of your site and be sure not to use the same target across mulitple pages. Since each page of your site has a unique focus, your title tags should reflect that unique focus. Note: If you find that each page of your site does not have a unique focus, contact us.

4. Consistency is key

Don’t change the overall structure of your titles across your various pages. If your homepage title has a structure like Keyword #1 | Keyword #2 | Company Name, don’t start mixing it up across another page.

5. Test conservatively

If you aren’t already using Google Analytics, it’s time you did. Once you have that up and running, you can use the “Annotations” feature to list the changes you made to your title tags and see what happens. Give your tags at least a month or two to circulate and get crawled (This will depend on the amount of traffic you get, but the general rule should be: More than 1K visits/day = 1 month before you make changes, Less than 1K visits/day = 2-3 months before you make changes). Just remember to not go crazy tweaking those titles. They need time to stew and gain some strength in order to have an effect. Just be patient and you’ll notice the effects.

Brian Thomas Clark

Brian Thomas Clark

Owner, Auditor, Janitor

I'm a Dad, Husband, Brutal SEO Auditor & BBQer. I do SEO, Analytics, Backlink, and Local Search Audits in Orange County, CA, where no one uses turn signals and there is a Chase Bank on every block for some reason.

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