Shhh… Don’t tell Yellow Pages this, but Google has taken over its territory!
When I need to look up a phone number, I don’t drag out that heavy telephone directory (that still gets sent to my house for some reason). I just hop online to Google!
No more flipping page after page, squinting because the print is too small. If the company I’m looking for has optimized their site correctly, I’ll find the phone number I’m seeking right away.
But wait a minute…. What if a site ISN’T optimized right?
For example, what if someone told me about a gourmet coffee shop, but I can’t remember the name of it. To find it online, I’d probably search “gourmet coffee” + Orlando (if that’s where the shop is located).
If that business has a website, and wants to be found by local customers, the easiest way to get noticed is to make sure the meta tag titles of its site include keywords such as “gourmet coffee” and the name of the city where the store is located.
What’s a meta tag title?
It’s essentially a headline that describes the contents of a web page. It’s found in the web site’s source code and gets displayed on a search engine results page.
It’s important to keep two things in mind when crafting a title for your web page: keyword placement and character length.
Let’s go back to our gourmet coffee shop. In this example, we’ll pretend the name of the shop is Java Jean’s, and the domain name is javajeans.com. If you know nothing about search engine optimization, you might be tempted to use Java Jean’s as your home page title. But that would be a big mistake.
Remember – you need some keywords. After doing some keyword research on sites like wordtracker.com or Google’s keyword tool, you decide to use “gourmet coffee” in your title. Which of the following titles do you think will rank higher?
Java Jean’s – Gourmet Coffee
Gourmet Coffee – Java Jean’s
It seems logical to put the company name first, but from an SEO standpoint, the keyword “gourmet coffee” will rank higher on Google & the other search engines since it’s more relevant to what the web site is about.
What about character length? The titles listed above are fairly short. You can add more information to a title, such as including a location for example. But don’t go crazy. Titles should be no longer than 65-75 characters, including spaces. Anything longer will just get cut off by Google, when it’s displayed on their page.
Don’t forget about the rest of your web pages. Each one should have its own unique title featuring keywords that are relevant to the content on the page. While it’s common for sites to feature the same basic pages, such as “About Us” or “FAQ’s,” these titles are opportunities to provide keyword rich content for the search engine spiders to find.
Your home page title also doesn’t even need to feature your company’s name, especially if that name doesn’t describe what your business does. That’s what the description is for. But I’ll save that discussion for another day. 🙂