Post by Joe Davies
Planning to make your website SEO friendly?
On-page SEO is one of the simplest things you have complete control over. This is why you want to optimise it completely. With on-page factors able to move the needle and directly influence your rankings on Google, it’s worth your while to stay on top of the latest trends.
And one of the most important factors to consider for on-page SEO are your Titles Tags – better known as your page titles.
However, the way you optimise your page title depends on the type of page you have.
A blog post, a homepage, and a service page all have their own best practices.
So let’s dive into each one and make sure your page titles are attracting attention for all the right reasons.
How to write an effective SEO title for blog posts
Thinking of writing a blog post? The goal is to inform your readers.
This means you’ll usually be satisfying users with what is known as ‘information intent’.
This means your readers will be typing into Google things like “how to”, “what does”, “ways to” and similar information-driven terms.
But don’t think you have to be too technically just because your readers want information.
After doing her own experimenting with titles for her blog, Renee McDonald, a Business and Life Coaching expert, says that being descriptive can help increase your click-through-rate (CTR), saying “I’ve found the most important thing is to be descriptive. People won’t click on your result if they don’t know what’s on it. Instead of being vague, just be clear with what the page is about. Be descriptive to entice people to click and find out more”.
Tips for writing your SEO title for blog posts
✓ Front load your keywords so search engines and readers know you’re discussing the topic they’re searching for.
✓ Use questions and numbers to create a sense of curiosity. For example terms like “How To”, “5 Ways To”, “What does _______ mean?” catch the eye and demand attention
✓ Add your branding at the end of the title, separated with a | or special symbol. An example can be seen in the page title “Website Designs by ZAAAX ⋆ Award Winning Business Web Designers”
Here’s an example of an effective SEO title for a blog post:
“5 SEO Tricks To Boost Your Blog’s Traffic | Zaaax”
Why is this effective?
✓ It matches the information search intent of readers
✓ It adds business branding at the end
✓ It front loads keywords
✓ It shows benefits of reading
✓ It uses numbers to stand out visually
How to write an effective SEO title for a homepage
Your homepage is the hub of your business.
This is where everything points back to and is where it’s important to focus on branding. This page is typically what you want to be the first result displayed on Google when someone types in your brand.
Because of this you also want to show the benefits of what you offer straight away. Most often, this is related to your keywords. If your homepage SEO title doesn’t read well or is confusing you can change it yourself by logging into your WordPress dashboard (or equivalent if you’re using another site building tool).
While this may sound technical, according to the team at Modern Day Concepts, you don’t need a lot of experience to optimise your own page titles. They say “one of the most important parts is to remember that Google only shows the first 50 or 60 characters. During this small space you need to make sure you fit your main keywords in. So focus on being clear rather than too clever”.
Tips for writing your homepage’s SEO title:
✓ Put your brand at the front
✓ Use a separator after your brand. This is usually a stylistic preference, you can use a hyphen, a vertical bar, or even a symbol.
✓ Add benefits and secondary keywords after the separator
Have a look at Moz’s homepage title:
Why is this effective?
✓ The brand name is at the front
✓ The separator is used – in this case a hyphen.
✓ The keywords are used with implied benefits.
How to write an effective SEO titles for a service page
If you’re a service based company, you should be aiming to get your service pages ranking on Google.
This means people who are looking for your service can land directly on your service page to get the exact information they need. When they have to navigate through your homepage instead, a number of them may click elsewhere which costs you conversions.
With 93% of online experiences starting with a search engine, getting your service pages properly optimised means boosting your chance of appearing for the 9 out of 10 shoppers who go searching online.
If you’re a local business looking to stand out, consider the following exclusive tip provided by the team at Northern River Demolition. They encourage the addition of your location into the title if you’re a service based business, saying “when our clients found us, they Googled for demolition services. But we stood out because we had Brisbane in the title. So they knew straight away that we could work with them and provide a quick and simple service”.
Tips for writing a service page SEO title?
✓ Front load your main keyword
✓ Add your secondary keyword, separated with a hyphen or a vertical bar
✓ Put your brand name at the end, also separated with a style break
An example of an optimised service page title:
“Lawn Mowing In Sydney | Gardening & Lawn Maintenance | Jordans Gardens”
Why is this effective?
✓ The focus keywords are at the front
✓ The secondary keywords are afterwards, separated with a vertical bar
✓ The brand name is at the end, separated with another vertical bar
Trying to improve your SEO in 2019 doesn’t have to be confusing or even expensive.
Making your website SEO friendly comes down to optimising for mobiles, getting the small technical tweaks right, keeping your load time fast, creating valuable content that is easy to find, and building backlinks to promote your brand.
Get these small steps right and you’ll make great strides towards the top of Google.
3 common SEO title mistakes (that you might be making right now!)
It’s easy to take some best practices a bit overboard, or even do the complete wrong things.
You might think that the changes you’re making will boost your rankings, and that could actually happen at times.
But over the long run, it’s likely your rankings will fall even lower than it was before if you’re making any of the following mistakes.
✗ NUMBER ONE – Stuffing your title tag with keywords
This ruins the user experience, which is very important to Google. Stick to just your primary and secondary keywords (only if that fit naturally and add to the value provided)
✗ NUMBER TWO – Not tracking your visitors
You could have increased your click-through-rate with a better title. But if your body content doesn’t match, you’ll have visitors bouncing. This will negatively affect your rankings in the long run. Keep track of your CTR and if you’re getting more visitors but your bounce rate is high, your content may need optimising too.
✗ NUMBER THREE – Optimising the wrong keywords
You could be the first ranking page for your keyword. But if you’re not ranking for the right keywords you likely won’t see the results you want. This could mean you’re targeting an audience that won’t convert, focusing on too low of a volume keyword, or you could be focusing on keywords that are too competitive for you (right now).
Now that you’ve optimised your title tags for your pages, it’s time to work on gaining higher rankings on Google.
Your title is just one aspect of on-page SEO. It’s one of the easiest and fastest things to optimise, but also one of the most important.
But it’s also important to remember that not every page has the same purpose. Your homepage should be promoting your brand and be the first result on Google for your brand name.
Your service pages should be optimised for your main and secondary keywords (and location if you provide local services). While your blog posts should be focused on the content it’s around.
Have any questions about optimising your title tags? Or have a different opinion on the best practices to follow?
Comment below and let us know!
Joe Davies is an Australian freelance writer and Sydney-based university student. As an Interior Design, he has a passion for learning about global changes in business culture and specialises in entrepreneurship and innovation-related topics. When Joe isn’t at his desk, you’ll find him exploring National Parks.