Posted Monday, September 20, 2004
As you probably know, the majority of engines place considerable relevance on the HTML title tag, making it generally the most important tag on your page.
You also probably know that title tags appear in the search results for most of the major engines, making the tags even more important. But, have you ever taken the time to learn how to create killer title tags, tags that will boost click-throughs, or traffic, to your site?
To make a point about how important titles are, let's look at some sample search results. In a search for "low cost life insurance" in one of the major engines, here are some of the titles from the top ten results.
* #1 worldwide travel insureance quotes!
* Oklahoma Insurance Quotes Auto Home Health Life Business
Do any of those titles appeal to you? Notice that the first example has a misspelled word, which doesn't elicit much confidence in the site. The second example isn't even using a title tag, which is why it's listed as "untitled." The third example is simply a listing of capitalized keywords, which isn't as easy to read.
Now, let's say that the next three titles on the page are:
* Does your low cost life insurance policy give you the coverage you need?
* Low cost life insurance at a price that's right for you!
* Stop paying too much for "low" cost life insurance!
Would you skip over the first three listed titles to visit one of the titles above?
My point is, if your title is more effective than sites that are actually above you in the ranking, you may get the traffic anyway, simply due to the effectiveness of your title tag.
Furthermore, offering something for free almost always improves response rates. For example:
* 21 Ways to reduce your life insurance costs for free
Notice how the above title emphasizes a benefit (i.e., saving money) while mentioning it is FREE. The "21 Ways" quickly defines what they'll be getting to achieve the benefit.
Top Tips for Creating Killer Titles
Let's look at some tips for creating killer title tags, and then some mistakes that will cause your site to be passed over in the search results.
1. Use compelling or "charged" words in your titles that will draw the user in to your site. Examples are: breakthrough, incredible, how-to, announcing, and revealing. Avoid over-used words and adjectives.
2. Use the power of questions when creating title tags. When you ask a question, you force the reader to stop and mentally answer that question, which boosts your chances at a visit to your site.
3. Use your important keyword phrase toward the beginning of your title tag, but use the phrase in a way that will pull in traffic.
4. Begin the title with a capital letter, and then follow with all lower-case letters. Why? It's easier to read than titles with every word capitalized.
5. Treat title tags as if they're advertisements for your online business. Make them short, snappy, and easy to read.
6. Write your title in a way that makes the user believe that the site will solve a problem or help the user in some way.
7. Create a sense of urgency in your title tags, when possible.
8. Make sure to use a title tag on every page of your site, and make sure that the title tag is the first tag on your page.
Top Mistakes Made when Creating Titles
1. Don't use just a series of keywords in your title tag. It's unprofessional and difficult to read.
2. Don't use complicated words in your title tag, unless those words are commonplace to whoever would be visiting your site.
3. Don't use all caps in your title tag. In other words, don't yell at your potential visitors!
4. Don't slap up a dull and boring title. Spend some time creating an effective online marketing plug for your site.
5. Don't use your keyword phrase more than once in your title tag.
6. Don't use your company name in your title tag unless you use your important keyword phrase as well.
7. Don't use yellow page tactics when creating titles in an effort to get to the top of the rankings. In other words, don't add a "!!!" or "AAA" to the front of your title to try to get higher in the alphabetical order. It won't help you with the engines, and editors at the directories won't allow the tactic anyway.
8. Don't use passive verbs like is, was, and has. Try to use active, exciting verbs like launch, catapult, and unleashes.
In Conclusion . . .
Create your title tags in such a way that they will serve as an online marketing campaign for your site. Remember that a well-written and effective title can make up for a lower search engine ranking.
Spend a lot of time on your title tags, and it ultimately will pay off for you in renewed traffic to your site.
Robin Nobles is Director of Training for the Academy of Web Specialists. Robin has taught well over a thousand students in her online and onsite search engine positioning courses during the past several years. Her latest book Web Site Analysis and Reporting, as well as her past book, Streetwise Maximize Web Site Traffic, can be ordered through Amazon. Visit the Academy's training site to learn more about their search engine ranking courses and products.
For more tips on writing effective title tags, see the WebPosition Gold Page Critic: (http://www.webposition.com/product.htm)
About the Author
Robin Nobles is the Director of Training of the Academy of Web Specialists, which teaches online training in search engine marketing. She is also a trainer with Search Engine Workshops, which presents on location workshops in search engine marketing at various locations across the country. Please visit our site for more information about online training and other resources.