Search engine optimization involves a lot of moving pats. It all comes down to an SEO title that’s also human-friendly though.
Yes other bits and pieces matter to SEO also such as
- Backlinks to your website (who links to you?)
- The content of your pages
- The meta description
but nothing matters as much as the title.
The title is the first thing people look at when they search for a topic on Google or any other search engine.
What’s the first thing people see in search results?
It depends on where they’re looking.
For many industries, a smartphone is the most common way for consumers to be searching. In the eCommerce world, mobile plays a huge part in shoppers behavior.
If it’s not a smartphone then it’s most likely a computer. In the last place among the most common devices is the tablet.
No matter what device someone is on when searching the most important part comes down to the title.
This listing in Google search for a plumber is the perfect example of a well-formed listing (except maybe the all-caps FREE).
It’s straight to the point of exactly what you’re going to find on the website. If you say something is on your website, though, it better be there and obvious too or the back button will be pushed.
From the listing, you can see what they do (exactly what someone searched for) and some benefits they offer.
The free estimate callout is a great call out that jumps out in Google search results. Browsing down the page that page title will draw some attention and pique some interest to read the description also.
Once the title steals attention the description does the rest very well. People know they can get a free estimate right away and could even call directly from the search results.Creating interest in your website title makes it more likely that people will click. Click To Tweet
Oh, the internet coupon is helpful also and will push people towards actually visiting the website which is important also (the site better meet those promises though!). The more people are clicking on your result the more Google knows you’re meeting searchers needs which is their goal.
As long as visitors aren’t disappointed when they get to the site and hit the back button then this page should have great success.
There are some important pieces that should be kept in mind when forming your page titles on your website starting with the length.
There’s nothing worse on a search result than not being able to see the whole listing.
If you write too long of a title then it’s going to get the dreaded ellipsis.
The ellipsis tells people there’s more information in the title but it got cut off. What was it?
It’s abrupt and cut off which is never good for a first impression. Not only is the title cut off and doesn’t provide a lot of helpful information but that description is horribly wordy.
This isn’t about descriptions though. I focus more on descriptions paired with titles in the ultimate guide to SEO with a title & meta description.
How long should it be?
If you don’t want your title to get truncated and have the dreaded ellipsis, there is a generally acceptable limit for a title length.
This is a complex answer though because of the way Google chooses how to display your title.
According to Moz, Google doesn’t base title tags off of characters but rather a 600-pixel wide container.
That means a title with narrower characters (l,i,t,j,l) will naturally take up fewer pixels than a title with wider characters (w,m).
To simplify things it’s recommended to stay under 60 characters for a good SEO title tag on your website.
If you search for your page and still see the ellipses and you’re within 60 characters, modify it a bit more.
With a title that’s within the limits, there’s also other parts of a good SEO title to focus on.
Within the length limits of your SEO title on your website, there are parts of the text you’ll want to focus more on.
You’ll want to also focus on making a good SEO title interesting and accurate.
Making a title on your website interesting is the most difficult part of an SEO title that works well.
There’s a balance between capturing attention, making it interesting, yet not being click-bait.
There’s nothing worse than click-bait that goes too far overboard on making it interesting to the point it doesn’t clearly represent the content.Click-bait titles are a sure way to get people to immediately leave your website. Click To Tweet
Click-bait for social media may work but not really for search engine optimization. Take a look at some of the titles analyzed by Buzzsumo and you’ll notice the ones that work the best are also very click-bait sounding.
Sometimes testing is the best thing you can do.
If click-bait is no good and boring is no good, what makes an interesting SEO title?
It depends on what you’re trying to accomplish
For business pages interesting isn’t as important as accuracy.
Interesting for an SEO title on a business page comes down to telling people in terms that match their search term how your page will help them.
Using the same keywords people are going to search for you by is the best way to be interesting.
This one is really straightforward and matches my search term (Roseville plumbing) perfectly. I can see they do plumbing in Roseville and have the added benefit of 24-hour service.
All of this comes in just over 60 characters (61 characters). It works though because there aren’t many wide characters.
Interesting in the case of my search for Roseville plumbing is direct, descriptive, and feature rich also (24-hour service).
That will make my job as a searcher easier.
This result was on the first page and as you go to the second page you can see why they’re not on the first page.
Blog posts need to be done a little different than pages for your business.
They have a different purpose.
People aren’t necessarily looking for a business to call but rather they have a problem and you’re presenting them with a solution.
Your good SEO title for a blog post needs to sound interesting and focus on convincing people their solution is waiting inside if they’d just click.
Interesting blog posts that sound human with a little personality in them do better than straightforward and descriptive.
Intertwining personality with accuracy is important.
HubSpot does personality, directness, and accuracy perfect.
You know what’s inside that blog post and you know how it’ll solve your problem if you’re searching for the perfect social media post.
Among all the creativity and thought that goes into the perfect SEO title, accuracy is still central to it all.
If you misrepresent your content then it will be immediately obvious to your visitors.Innacurate titles on your website will increase the chance you'll get a website bounce. Click To Tweet
Do you know what inaccurate titles get websites?
If people are bouncing from your website or abandoning the page then Google doesn’t see your page as valuable for the search term it was found using.
So, while creative semi click bait looking titles may do great on social media that doesn’t mean much for getting the right people to view your post which can more easily be done with search engine optimization.
Find the balance between an interesting title when it’s necessary and a functional title that explains what visitors will get if they click.
I gave some examples of an accurate SEO title from plumber websites. They tell people what they do, where they do it, and maybe one very pertinent piece of information (24-hour service).
Keep it simple and you’ll find success and of course you can always tweak the title a bit if they’re not working as well as you’d like.
Content Is Still King
Good content and a well-designed website is still important along with a good SEO title.
When someone does a search on Google or any other search engine they expect to see what they’re looking for in the website they visit.
It has to be a well-designed website with quality content that matches the search result text.
If a visitor has to work to find what you said was in there (coupon, discount, free estimate, etc.) then they’re going to leave.
Your job is to have a thorough and complete listing that piques a searchers interest, gets them to click, then delivers amazing content that matches exactly what they’re looking for.