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SEO Talks: Title, a big word for a lot of roles

For those who missed our November User Group , here’s a recap of the Search Engine Optimization portion addressing the Title Tag.

The title tag is referred to by many terms: title tag, head title, title bar, title bar override and title elements are among the most common. In Site Manager, you can find the field to build and edit your title tags in Page Properties; it’s called Title Bar Override.

Most experts state that the Title Tag is the second most important on-page SEO element, which is a very significant position! Ranking just under content for importance, it appears in three key places: browsers, Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and external websites.

As we’ve been discussing throughout our webinars this year, if you focus on building your website with the user, and the user experience in mind, you’ll also be doing many of the basics of good on-page SEO work. That includes the Title Tag.

Looking at just the role the Title Tag has with SERPs, the content in your title doesn’t just help drive search engines, but also is what the user reads. Therefore a well created title tag is not only relevant to the page content, but is also written in a way that will interest the users and encourage them to click the link.

Building a title tag that is both optimized and engaging begins with the format. The optimal format for many of our customers may be:

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Church or School Organization Name

But, if your organization is well known in your community – and certainly some churches and schools are simply recognized by name, then you may want to reverse the order, like this:

Org Name | Primary Keyword and Secondary Keyword/Phrase

Updating or even building your title tags is one of the easiest ways you could increase your rankings. Or, if your rankings are already good, it can increase the number of visitors to your site. In Site Manager, page titles are a per page field, making this job a bit overwhelming for websites with many pages. We suggest breaking the project up into batches based on priority. Your home page is the most important, followed by all your key landing pages. It should not take long to do those pages. Next, do an assessment of the pages that the most relevant for searches. For example, if you are a church, that page may be the service schedule & directions, and if you are a school, it may be pages about your admissions process.

With that game plan in hand, let’s go through a few best practices.

  1. Keep your title under 65 characters. Less is more.
  2. The title tag is weighted left to right. That means that the most important words/phrases should be at the beginning.
  3. The title content MUST be relevant to the content on the page. If you have the word athletics in your title, the page must be about athletics.
  4. User experience matters. Write to be read. Consider readability and emotional impact or connection in your title. You are creating a title tag for SEO, yes, but what the search engines want is a good user experience. Write for your audience first and search engines second.
  5. Evaluate. After you have changed the title tags, put a reminder in your calendar to review your analytics occasionally and evaluate the results. Tweak a few key pages at a time and continue to evaluate regularly.

Even if your church or school isn’t particularly interested in Search Engine Optimization, you should be interested in User Experience. Titles help users understand what to expect on a page, they help guide users on where to click, and in certain browsers, they help identify your site on the screen. We recommend taking time to craft solid title tags for all of our customers.

If you’d like to learn more and keep some basic SEO practices updated on your site, be sure to join our monthly user group webinars – free to all our customers! Hope to see you then.

 

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