When we talk to businesses about search engine optimization, one of the first things we do is check out their site to see how sophisticated they are about optimization. And one of the quick “tricks” our team uses is get a sense of whether any of the most basic SEO work has been done, is to check the page title. A page title that includes the important keywords consumers are using to find the business, and that is well written, tells us (in about 3 seconds) how much the people we’re potentially working with actually know. You’d be amazed at how many page titles say “Home” (Now if you look right now at the page title of your home page and it says “home”, you can immediately put yourself in the remedial class with a test score that doesn’t even give you credit for signing your name. You need help).
It’s also very interesting that many people have never really looked at a title tag (it’s the blue bar at the very top of the web browser).
So why do title tags matter? One of the most basic signals Google uses to figure out if your page is relevant for the keywords searched, is if the keywords are contained in your title tag. So if you sell Hardwood flooring in Princeton—and those are the words that your keyword research (more on that in another post) tells you are what your target consumer are using to find businesses like yours—then you want those in the title tag (not “home” or “welcome” or any other very sweetly pleasant but completely useless words that you could throw in there). The title tags are part of the “on-page” ranking factors that you optimize for, and part of the reason they are so tie your shoes, 101 training wheels basic is that this is a factor that has a major impact on ranking– and you control it. There are many other factors Google uses to decide how relevant your site is to a given search that are much more difficult to control, so this one, you want to get the hang of.
Another common mistake we see that businesses make is to just make the title tag the name of the business (and they do this for every title tag on the entire site). This is a real waste of valuable seo real estate. The reason is that it is relatively easy for you to rank for your business name, but much more difficult to rank for the most important keywords your consumers are using to find companies like yours. Do yourself a favor, put your keywords first.
There are some great posts out there that go into more detail, show you what a title tag looks like and give you examples of what to do and what not to do. Danny Sullivan recently wrote an excellent article about the latest thinking on optimizing title tags and it will be well worth your time to read through it.