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Optimizing Titles Tags for WordPress. Part 3: How Title Tags Can Rock SEO

  • The hint-to-action
  • Using keywords smartly

I mentioned click-throughs but not specifically the call-to-action because in organic search, this normally belongs within the description meta tag (the text snippet that appears in search results under the clickable title). It’s longer (up to 160 characters) and consists of a few sentences, the last of which gives the reader a strong command to take action (click the search result).

The hint-to-action

The call-to-action doesn’t belong within the title tag. Like the headline in paid search, the title sets things up. The description tag goes for the close. One of my favorite setup title tags can be seen on product review websites.

Don’t buy [product name] until you read this!

Fear, curiosity, urgency, and the expectation of value are all compacted into this title.

Using keywords smartly

As you are baiting the curiosity of potential readers from within the title tag, you have to make sure to deploy keywords intelligently within the title tag. This is not just necessary for SEO but also helps with, yes, you guessed it, click-throughs. The appearance of a keyword in the title that a searcher has on his mind usually means there will be a higher probability of action. Use the Google AdWords tool on exact match to research the best keyword phrases to use in your title tags and the other SEO elements. Tip: spend plenty of time on this. Researching keywords pays off. The keywords you end up choosing for your title tags will depend on the specific goal of each page. Key points for researching the best words for your title tags:

Exact Match Keywords – Because of modern-day technological advances in semantics, search engines don’t need to be spoon-fed the exact keyword phrase that you would like your page to be found for. In fact, being too exact can hurt you (Google Penguin). Rather than repeating the magical and perfect keyword phrase, think more in terms of creating a profile of your typical audience member and speaking to their wants and needs in their peculiar language. Get inside their heads so to speak.

Word Order – The most important or “head” terms go at the beginning. The closer the proximity a phrase is to the beginning, the better it describes the page and the more rankings weight is given.

Synonyms – Find secondary phrases that resonate with your audience to include.

Product names – Including elements like model number and SKU can draw in long-tail traffic. Yes, people search for them.

Brand name – If you care about brand propagation, consider including it site-wide at the very end.

Dilution – Whatever words you put in the title tag will have an opportunity to rank. Ostensibly, the more words you use, the less weight is put on each. Keep this in mind and don’t stuff title tags with keywords.

Keyword Variance – Varying the title tag from that of the post title itself (usually the H1) naturally demonstrates that more thought has gone into the page. You can expect to get away with making the title tag longer and more inclusive of keywords than the actual title of the post.

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