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
In our next installment of optimizing Meta Data for a website, we look at the Description Tag. This tag is often the first description of a page the Search Engines and searchers will see. The Search Engines will see it when they crawl the page, and the searchers will see it when they have results displayed in the search results. If this tag is not utilized or left blank, the Search Engines will go else where on the site to find information to give to users in the search results, which means you have no control of what the searcher sees. By writing effective Description Tags, you have the chance to tell the Search Engines, and searcher what your specific page is about.
Tips for writing Effective Description Tags
When writing Description Tags, it is important to keep the searcher in mind. Writing unique and descriptive tags will help convert lookers to clickers. Research what is being displayed for your targeted keyword and then write a description that is appealing and different from the others displayed. This can be difficult so here are some quick tips to help in the process:
– Include Keywords — 2 times if possible. If two times doesn’t make sense or is not readable, don’t force it, once will do.
– Be Unique — What makes you different from your competition? Highlight these aspects in your Description Tag. It is also important to make it unique from all of the other pages on your site. Each page needs a different Description Tag.
– Be Creative — This is your chance to capture your target audience. Think about whom that is and write your tag in a way that will engage them.
– Limit to 180 Characters including spaces.
Like other Meta Tags, Description Tags are just a piece of the SEO pie. You are now one step closer to having a more optimized website.
When it comes to optimizing your website, there are a lot of things you need to do to compete with the big boys. You must make sure that you have proper metatag structure, relevant page copy, a strategic linking plan, up-to-date search engine friendly web design, proper site architecture, a blog, videos, social media and much much, more. Discouraged yet? Don’t be. Let’s take it one step at a time. First, pick a keyword, and just one keyword for your page. For the sake of conciseness, I am saving how to pick a keyword for another post.
This is an important step, because in most cases this will be the first thing the search engine AND the searcher sees regarding your site information. The title tag should contain your keyword and some supporting words to describe what will be on the page. If your keyword happens to be “Ski Boots”, you will want to include that and make it clickable. Something like “Men’s Ski Boots for Sale” would be a good title. This is good for both the searcher and the search engine, as it tells both exactly what someone will find on the page.
Quick and Dirty Tips
Title tags, as well as metatags in general are only a small piece of the SEO pie. Stay tuned for more help with metatags, keyword targeting and content optimization tips.