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Best Page Title Uses 4 Tactics for SEO

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Search engine titles

If there is any starting point for search engine optimization, it is with the page title. Adding SEO to a page title will boost the search rankings of a document with a minimal amount of effort.

How long does it take to write a sentence with less than 55 characters including spaces? Not long at all. Thinking about what to write takes more time than the writing itself.

Google shows no more than about 55 characters of a title before it is cut off with an ellipsis (…). If the last word in the title is one character too long, Google cuts off the entire word. As a result, every word and letter counts.

First, it helps to think about how page titles show up in search engines.

Tactic #1: Keywords at Start of Page Title

Search results usually display three objects to the searcher:

  1. The document title.
  2. Document URL.
  3. Document meta description.

For many years, search engines would bold the keywords that appear in all three of the objects. As of this writing, Google now only bolds the keywords in the meta description while Bing does so in the URL and meta description.

Regardless, the typical searcher looks for the keywords in the title first, the meta description second and the URL third. The URL is third because it is less dominant than the large letters of the title and the large number of words (usually) for the meta description.

People using the English language read from left to right. So it’s common sense that keywords appearing at the beginning of the title are more likely to catch someone’s attention than keywords at the end of it.

It’s especially true for searchers who scan quickly and take action once they see what they want to click.

Tactic #2: Choose Number of Words Carefully

With a 55-character limit, a title might contain eight to 10 short words. That assumes the writer of the title wants to use the entire title space. Some don’t.

The keyword phrase is the first consideration. The phrase usually consists of two or three words. One word has little relevance. Four words may reach a small and highly targeted audience. Four long words might leave only enough space for just four more words, which is not much space to explain the article’s topic.

For effective page title SEO, the phrase should be highly similar if not exactly the same as the document’s <h1> tags, references in the article body, image alt tag, etc.

Some SEO practitioners believe that a title should consist only of the keyword phrase. That approach has one major benefit: It’s easy and quick to read. It also has two major detriments: It lacks a selling point and a brand.

Tactic #3: Sell the Article


Credit: Pixabay license

Our hypothetical searcher above sees four or five titles that look appealing. Thanks to intense competition by websites with similar content, all of them have the same keywords from the search. One of them has only the keyword phrase and nothing else.

The searcher needs more information to make a choice. That increases the odds the title with only the keyword phrase will be dropped from consideration because it doesn’t explain enough to justify a click. It simply doesn’t compete with the other titles.

The keyword phrase appeals to the searcher. But several more words sell the benefit that goes with clicking on the link. That benefit says in a few words that the document contains relevant and original content that will fulfill the original search need.

Selling the article with the title also is more effective by using verbs and calls to action.

Tactic #4: Include the Brand

Branding is an important online marketing tactic for many sites. It is the ability of a site to get people to remember the site name so that they come back to it and become loyal and frequent users.

If the title has any space left, it is a simple practice to add the site name after the keyword phrase and selling point, such as “Best Page Title Uses 4 Tactics for SEO – Promise Media”.

If a user searches enough in a narrowly defined topic area, and if a site has a large number of pages relevant to that area, the user will be more likely to see the brand repeatedly in the title, remember that brand and visit the site directly.

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