Search engine optimization is a key component of digital marketing, with 82 percent of marketers reporting that SEO effectiveness is improving. While there are many factors that go into search engine optimization or SEO, one effective but often overlooked SEO edit to make is the title tag.
After writing more than 7,000 title tags for each promotional product offered, we at 4AllPromos have seen our best organic search results in 10 years. To learn more about title tag edits and the positive effect on SEO, read on.
What is the SEO Title Tag?
Meta tags use HTML to communicate information about your website. A title tag is one kind of meta tag, which communicates -- as its name suggests -- the title of the webpage. On the front end, titles appear in a couple of places. You will see the title displayed as a clickable link in search results and again when you click a link on the browser tab.
On the back end, you will find title tags in the website header, although many content management systems allow you to set the page or post title in the general settings field.
The purpose of the title tag is to tell search engines and website users what the page is all about. Many title tags are short and snappy to catch the reader's attention and effectively tell search engines about page content. An imaginative page title isn't very useful because it doesn't accurately explain content.
According to Weebly, your title tag is one of the most important tags a website can have. Thus, every single page and post should have its own title tag that answers the question "What will I find here?"
With ecommerce, some business owners skip the title tag because they either don't refer to the products in-house by their names (perhaps they use numbers instead) or they want to get the listings up quickly and don't think the title really matters. These poor page names lead to missed opportunities to get found in search results and close sales on the webpage.
Why Title Tags Matter in Ecommerce
Let's illustrate with an example. Consider a company that sells headlamps, which come in different colors and have different wattages. Some headlamps are even solar powered. Imagine the company didn't give thought to title tags because they hired a writer to write great product descriptions and decided to take care of the SEO in-house, and they used the lumen output and headlamp model in the page title because that's how they refer to the headlamps in the warehouse. Thus, their page titles might say "300Trailblazer" and "200Shasta."
Consider how a customer will feel when they review these titles. They may figure out the numbers refer to the lumens, but they might have no idea how many lumens they need in a headlamp. Likewise, descriptive model names don't communicate what makes one headlamp different from another.
The information that helps the company sort headlamps in their warehouse does not help customers shop for headlamps, nor does it tell search engines anything valuable about the product on the page, which the search engine can use to show relevant results.
Benefits of SEO Title Tag Edits
The title tag is one of the most important ranking elements, which tells you that search engines place a high value on the title tag. By making your title tags relevant to the products you sell, you can boost your search placement, get found, and sell more products.
At 4AllPromos, we realized that our page titles were not accurately describing the promotional products we were offering, and we decided to make a change. With more than 7,000 products on offer, this was a major undertaking.
The screenshot below illustrates the dramatic improvement in organic search we found when we rewrote our title tags to conform to SEO practices. As the data shows, one little tweak to a product page can have a major impact on organic search traffic and on sales.
How to Write an Effective Title Tag
Now that you understand the benefits of good title tags, how do you write them?
Above all, strive to be relevant. The title tag must convey what the page is about. This is not a place to showcase your sense of humor or get creative with adjectives.
Title tags are short, typically falling within 50 to 60 characters. Longer text can be cut off, so it's a best practice to keep to the 60-character limit with all title tags.
Less is more with title tags. If you stuff the title with keywords in hopes of achieving page one results, this will backfire. Instead of shoving those keywords into the title, work them into the image tags or sprinkle them through the product description. This way, you can still use all those important keywords -- just not all in one place!
If you've described the item and haven't hit the 60 character limit, add in the brand name. Since many users search for items by brand names, this can help your target traffic.
As with other web content, originality is key. If you try to use the same title across pages, search engines will penalize you. Even if you have the same item in different sizes or colors, you cannot copy and paste the same title for each page. By adding in the size, color, or other differentiation, you can vary the page title enough to avoid a search engine penalty for duplicate content.
Likewise, headlines can appear similar to the title (after all, it's the same product) but should not duplicate word for word the title tag's phrasing. Alter the wording just slightly to communicate the same information without creating content that is redundant.
Last but not least, appearance matters when it comes to page titles.
Title tags should be consistent across your website and should be proofed for spelling errors (which will backfire for SEO purposes). You can choose to capitalize only the first letter of the first worn in your page title or use title case, in which the first letter of every word in the title is capitalized, with exceptions for words with three or fewer letters (for instance, "the").
If you've made other updates to your website and you aren't seeing a difference, it could be time to rewrite your title tags. Yes, this can be a major undertaking -- and it certainly was for us -- but as our results show, it pays off.