Search Engine Optimization and Title Tag Optimization

Search engine optimization, more commonly referred to as SEO is the process of getting traffic or visitors on your website from the “free,” “organic,” “editorial” or “natural” listings on search engines. The important search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing have such results, where web pages are ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users when they search a specific term or phrase. No payment is made for such rankings unlike paid search ads. Search engine optimization involves a lot of things ranging from content on the website to how other pages link to it, to how the website is structured.

Search Engine Optimization

A number of agencies and consultants can provide useful SEO services for your business. These services include:

  • Review of your site content or structure
  • Technical advice on website development: for example, hosting, redirects, error pages, use of JavaScript
  • Content development
  • Management of online business development campaigns
  • Keyword research
  • SEO training
  • Developing expertise in specific markets and geographies

SEO Process

To do effective SEO today, one needs to be a digital strategist, social media marketer, a content strategist, conversion rate optimizer, and a PR specialist. The new SEO process involves the following steps:

  • Discovering opportunity for business – Opportunity discovery is the process of understanding brand opportunity with regard to business goals, target audience, industry specifications and past performance. It involves a deep understanding of the brand and where it is going as well as an understanding of the business goals so that everything is done within the goals. It also involves as extensive market research on the product offered by the business.

    Keyword research also forms an important part of this step. This involves researching on keywords that match the business goals, the target market, and are viable on search engines.

    Finally, one needs to do a competitor analysis to understand how competitive brands are capturing the target audience.

  • Building strategy for content and content development – Building the right content forms an important part of the SEO process. The content needs to connect with the brand’s target audience and must be designed by the creative team as per your specification. This stage involves ideation of content, ensuring that the design of a website considers SEO and CRO and building the content.
  • Technical development – Ensure that the technical team has built a structure of the website that agrees with search engines as well as customers.
  • Social strategy – This involves building a strategy that targets the right people. This includes link building for your website: linking out of the website, participating in social media, taking part in and winning contests, email marketing and building relations with customers as well as other brands.
  • Measurement – Building a mechanism to measure the audience being affected by your SEO. After all, the ability to tangibly measure is why digital marketing is far more effective than traditional. This involves reporting as per the specific goal of the SEO. The reports should present an analysis of why or why not the SEO has been successful. Reporting also needs to be correlated to the link building efforts of the team.
  • Optimization – SEO is a never ending process. There is always more to be done. Conversion rate optimization or CRO team should be a separate team that measures and runs tests for effectiveness of SEO. Post the reports the SEO should be done all over again keeping in mind what improvements are required.

Title Tag Optimization

Title tags or title elements define the title of a webpage. Title tags are important because:

  • They have more SEO power than any tag on the page for establishing keyword relevance for search engines
  • Their contents are the source for the blue-link text shown in the search engine result pages (SERPs)
  • They are the best place for users to get a concise description of the content on the page
  • Many external websites use the title link of a webpage to link to that website

Optimal Format of a Title Tag

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

Favorable Length for Search Engines

Google will usually display the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, or as many characters as will fit into a 512-pixel display. If you keep your titles in less than 55 characters, at least 95% of your titles should display properly. Titles in search results may be rewritten to match your brand, the user query, or other considerations and hence the Title displayed maybe different from the one you provided.

Following are practices you can undertake for title optimization:

One title per page, placed within the <head> tag

Having either no <title> tag at all, multiple <title> tags in the code, putting the <title> tag within the tag instead of the tag and negates the potential value of the <title> tag.

To keep your code valid and earn the value inherent in this key HTML element, simply keep this in mind: there should only be one <title> tag used per page, and it should only be used within the section of the code.

Top keywords in descending order

Your top keywords should form a part of the <title> tag. This is because, the value of the words used in the tag are so potent that the search engines often deem the first word the most valuable word used, the second word next most valuable, and so on in descending order. Given this, you must write your <title> tag text with care.

When you do your keyword research (such as with Google AdWords), note the search traffic that each word or phrase attracts per month. Also note how competitive the word is as well for close calls and as tie-breakers between keywords. Then use these traffic values as a general guideline to help you create your <title> tag text in descending order of value.

Make sure to write your <title> tag text in natural language, making it as compelling to the reader as possible.

Put the brand name at the end

Unless your company brand name is a more searched-for term than the individual products or services you offer, always put your branding last in the <title> tag text.

For pages other than your homepage, you can leave it out of the <title> tag text if you have stronger keywords on the page that will be more relevant.

Avoid using stop words

Stop words are words that carry little or no keyword value. Your best keywords are, grammatically speaking, nouns and verbs, with adjectives in close support. But function words are your stop words, which consist of:

  • articles (such as “the”, “an” and “a”)
  • auxiliary verbs (such as “am”, “is”, and “can”)
  • conjunctions (such as “and”, “or”, “but” and “while”)
  • particles (such as “if”, “then”, and “thus”)
  • prepositions (such as “of”, “that”, “on” and “for”)
  • pronouns (such as “he”, “we”, “which” and “her”)

Use the most important keywords used in the page’s body text

To maximize keyword relevance for the words used in the <title> tag text, you must use the most important words used in the text of the article.

This tells the search engines that these words were selected for the <title> tag because they best define the overall contents of the page.

Make each page unique

On a well-designed website, you don’t have multiple pages devoted to the same topic. So don’t repeat the same <title> tag text. Ensure each page has a unique <title> text string, reflecting the targeted keywords used in that page.

Avoid keyword stuffing

Lastly, do not use the same word several times in the <title> tag text. The search engines can clearly see the intent here due to the sophisticated algorithms.

Such a clumsy attempt to game the system is foolish, and potentially dangerous. If a keyword-stuffed <title> tag is detected, there might be other forms of page spam in the page code? It potentially raises a red flag that prompts a more detailed page review, and if additional spam problems are found, penalties could be levied.

Consider Readability and Emotional Impact

Create a compelling title tag which will pull in more visits from the search results. For the same reasons that an article with an interesting caption in a newspaper or journal attracts you to read the article, compelling titles will also attract web readers. It’s important to consider the entire user experience when you’re creating your title tags, in addition to optimization and keyword usage. The title tag is a visitor’s first interaction with your brand when they find it in a search result and it should convey the most positive message possible.

Tell the readers through your title tags what your pages are about. Help them understand the theme of each page by using concise, well-conceived, powerful keywords and phrases, used in order of search usage potency, unique to each page of your website, capitalizing text used on the page, all within the <title> tag text string and you have optimized you title tags!