Title Tags: Less Is MoreVisibility.com

Michael Buczek - April 10, 2009

Creating good title tag text is not just important for search engine optimization. A recent study by Nielsen Research has found that users were more likely to comprehend and click on links in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) that contain the main subject of the page closer to the beginning of the title. The most successful link text didn’t contain bland, made-up or many “filler” words.   Title tags that were to the point and described the page’s content were more likely to be clicked on by users.

The study focuses on the first 11 characters of the link text and the ability of users to understand the content found there. The researchers found that when the first 11 characters contained a clear description of the page content, searchers were more likely to choose it.  

This study further strengthens what we teach our clients when we provide them with Meta Tag reviews. When creating your Meta title, you should use the keyword that you are targeting for the page as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.   This will give search engines, and more importantly users a better understanding of what they will find on the page.   For example purposes, let’s say we have a page about a new product such as   “Widgets”.   A good title for this page would be best if written like this:

Widgets – New and Improved from ABC Corporation
This title contains the keyword first and then describes it later on.  

According to the study, if the title was written like this:
Introducing New and Improved Widgets from ABC Corporation
It would not do as well with users.   The reason behind this is that using language like “introducing” or “new and improved” is so common and bland, that users are not enticed to click on it.  
If you feel the need for more descriptive language, use it after the main keyword, or reserve most of it for use in the description Meta tag.

To view the study from Nielson, please visit: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/nanocontent.html  

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