Investing in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is critical for making sure your website can be found by potential customers, and be found first. In a series of posts, we’ll be going over the most important things to include in your SEO practices. First up, your title–it seems obvious, but there are some tricks to making your title stand out from the rest. Here are 11 tricks of the trade to help search results work for your company.
- The title tag is a critical element to optimize, as far as on-page SEO is concerned. Your title tag, or technically- the title element, should be placed within the tag of the HTML document. Having this piece of code will tell both the search engine and the users what the page is about. Refrain from having duplicate title elements on multiple pages; this will only confuse your users. Each web page should be unique—so logically, all of your page titles should be too.
- Don’t forget about the customers! They are the ones clicking on your web page and buying your vehicles after all. Adjectives are a fantastic way to make your site appealing in a search engine. Saying “We have good cars” is not enough. “We have exceptional cars” always sounds better. People also love articles that begin with a number. “10 cars to make your ex jealous” is more eye-catching than “You can make your ex jealous with these cars” in the search results.
- Have a short, accurate title. According to SEO expert Bill Hartzer, Google measures in pixels and not characters. After performing an experiment, he found out that the maximum page title length is actually 512 pixels, not 70 characters. Though if you keep your title to 55-60 characters, you will likely avoid having it cut off in the search engine. For those of you who like to double check your work, there are Title Emulator Tools such as the one by Website Advantage or the one by Dvana, shown below.
- Use pipes | to separate keyword phrases. This helps to minimize stop words, and utilize the essential keywords as well as getting your point across. Unless the keyword is written with punctuation, refrain from using commas, underscores, or dashes. Ampersands (&) are an acceptable substitution for the word “and.” This also hinders Google from thinking you need to be asking for both keywords “Short and Sweet” as compared to “Short & Sweet.”
- Avoid using the contents of your tag in your title tag. You are missing out on an opportunity to add more relevant keywords to your page when you duplicate these.
- Keyword phrases outrank keywords. If someone is searching for something, they rarely type a single word. For this reason, long-tail keywords (keyword phrases) work better than a single keyword by itself. As an example, instead of searching for “Chevrolet,” customers will search for “2017 Chevrolet Malibu”. Long-tail keywords are more specific and provide better results for the person conducting the search. If you need a little help in this area, Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a great tool that will assess your page and find the best keyword phrases for you.
- Create a unique Meta description. While this is not your title per se, it is still a crucial part of what the consumer sees when they are looking for a website to click on. A Meta description is the short description that appears under your title in a search engine. Usually being under 160 characters, your description should contain your keyword phrase and a call to action to entice people to click on your site.
- Starting with the main keyword helps users find what they are looking for. Avoid stuffing too many keywords into the title; it turns users away from actually clicking on your page. The closer you place the keyword phrase to the beginning of your title, the more weight it will have in a search engine. If you are targeting a particular keyword, you can also use synonyms. Search engine spiders look for meaning within your text of your page—particularly when words have more than one meaning.
- Put your company name at the end of your title. This tip tends to be more of a judgment call. Generally, if your brand is not part of the relevant keywords you are using, put it at the end. If people will see your company name and instantly click on it, put it toward the front. Some SEO consultants will tell you to leave it out entirely. This is an excellent thing to do A/B testing on.
- Avoid using stop words. These are filler words that are not necessary for your title. Some examples include: if, an, the, but, while, or, he, we, and other similar words. Most search engines skim over extremely common words to speed up their results. Take this into consideration, but your titles should still be comprehensible to users. For a full list of these Stop Words, visit Jacob Stoop’s blog.
- Use your title element keywords in the body text of your page. This will increase the relevancy of your page in a search engine. Preferably, you should have a few keywords within the first 100 words of your text. As the reader scans, they will stop reading your page if they do not see anything that they searched for.
Now that we’ve gone over the tips for your title, you should have a better understanding of the things that you can do to increase your search engine optimization in this area. These 11 tips have all been shown to work in helping keep or get your website page shown on the first page of the search engine results. Put these tips into action by testing their helpfulness on pages not currently ranking well in the search engines. Keep in mind this is only one element of SEO and isn’t likely to have a significant impact alone. Successful SEO is dependent on all of the on and off page SEO elements working in concert.
Be sure to check out the rest of our SEO series to learn more ways to optimize your search results.