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9 Common Title Tag Mistakes and How To Avoid Them

8 Feb

A website’s title tagsare very important for several reasons:

1) The title tag shows up in search results as the blue link, and a good one helps the site get more clicks and visitors from search results. 
2) Title tags are a crucial SEO element that can help the website show up higher when people search for the words in it.
3) Title tags show up when web pages are shared on social media sites like Facebook. This is important because social media mentions are now a ranking factor in Google search results.

So if you have the time to optimize one thing on your website, title tags are it.

Here are some of the top mistakes and missed opportunities I’ve seen in title tags. Avoid these and you’ll be ahead of the game. You’ll rank higher in search results and entice more people to click on your site.

9 Signs of a Bad Title Tag:

1. “Home” or “Home Page” in title tag

It may be logical or helpful to the website owner, but including “Home” or “Home Page” does not help visitors or search engines. All we really care about is what the page is about, and what it offers us. Why take up space with this non-information? You surely don’t want to rank for the terms “home” or “home page.”

2. Domain name in title tag

Including the domain name (like example.com) in the title tag is redundant and takes up prime SEO real estate.

If a searcher cares what site they’ll be taken to, they can look at the green URL that’s visible in the search result before they click. And web pages are automatically going to rank very high (at the top unless something is wrong with your SEO) when people search for your domain name, whether it’s in the title tag or not.

Put another way – Is it more important to tell people your website address, or to tell them about what you offer and show search engines a keyword?

3. Too long

Search engines display only the first 70 characters (about) of a web page’s title tag. The rest gets chopped off and replaced with ellipses.

4. Too short

Short and sweet can be nice, but you might as well use all the space available to tell people and search engines about the web page. Making your title tags close to – but not exceeding – 70 characters is a good way to get the most out of your title tags and optimize your chances of showing up for different keyword searches.

5. No keywords

The purpose of your title tag is to tell people and search engines what your web page is about. If it doesn’t include keywords, you’re doing it wrong.

6. Just the business name

I know it’s tempting to make your title tags be just your business name, especially on your home page. But unless your business name is 70+ characters long or contains several of your important keywords already, you should really include more so that you’ll be found – and clicked on – by people who aren’t familiar with your business yet.

For example, if you were searching for a local business that sold widgets, how likely would you be to click on a search result that just said a generic business name like “Jones & Jones, Inc.”? You probably wouldn’t waste your time clicking on a search result that doesn’t make it clear the company is in your city and or that it sells what you’re looking for. Because the title tag doesn’t make it clear what Jones & Jones sells, or where they’re located, search engines are less likely to rank that result high in search results.

7. First few words aren’t important or eye-catching

Research shows that people scan search results quickly. Searchers pay the most attention to the first few words in search results, and
the first few results on the page. The heat map at right shows you where people tend to click in a page of Google search results.

Make the first few words of your title tags count by including the keywords you think will be most relevant to searchers. Or write something that will catch people’s attention. Put your best foot forward, and cut the meaningless fluff.

For example, I searched for “cat toilet training” and found the search result shown below. It did catch my attention and make me read the whole search entry to see if it was really what I was looking for. But many people would just skip it, and focus on the search results that mention their search terms right up front.

8. Doesn’t include geographic location – if location is important

If you have a physical retail location, or if you want to target customers in a specific region, you should make it clear to searchers and search engines where you’re located. Include your neighborhood, city, state, or county – whatever makes most sense for your business – in your title tag and in other website content.

9. Too many keywords (spammy looking)

If your title tag is just a long string of keywords, it might rank well for those keywords, but the real live people searching for those words will probably be less likely to click that result.

Here are two examples of keyword-filled title tags in a search result:

 

” This article was contributed by Kristina Weis of AboutUs.org (visit).
Kristina is customer service lead and SEO guide for AboutUs.org. She helps website owners who are trying to promote their businesses online. “

 

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What is “Search, Plus Your World” and Why Is It Important?

1 Feb

Search Plus Your World

What is “Search, Plus Your World”?

Last month Google released its latest changes to their search algorithm called “Search, Plus Your World”. Essentially the changes mean that now the search results presented on Google will be even more tailored to each and every individual.

The important thing to remember is Google’s business model and their mission, which is to provide the searcher with the most qualified results.

Why do they want to do that? Well it’s quite simple – if they provide the search user with search results that do not meet the user’s expectations, then the user will move to another search engine such as Yahoo or Bing. If the searcher then finds those results are better suited, then next time they are looking for an answer they will bypass Google and go elsewhere.

Now of course Google don’t want this. Google wants you to use its plethora of services: Google docs, YouTube, Gmail etc, because if users switch to another search engine then they will start to lose advertising revenue. This is important because advertising revenue is Google’s largest income stream.
So what Do the Latest Changes Mean?

If you combine this change with the Panda update of last year and Google’s social media strategy Google+, then I think the underlying theme is that you have to create unique quality content that adds real value to your community on a regular basis.
Why Have The Changes Been Made?

Google are aiming to provide each individual user with a unique search experience. Yes, I did say that, a unique search experience. They will do that by taking the organic search results that are gathered by the Google search algorithm and combining that with results shared, reviewed and liked by people in your online community – it could be friends, family or work associates however you categories them.

So for example you want to book a holiday, you go to Google and type in “cheap holiday to Mexico.” In the search results come all the usual airlines, holiday and travel companies but also there is a review from one of your friends.

The review says that they just came back from Mexico they had a great time, the resort was superb and it was really great value.

Now when you see that review, because you already know and perhaps trust that person who has made that review, you will be more inclined to be influenced by their experience than other reviews from other holiday companies.

The same theory applies for any content on the internet. If you write an article or a blog post on small business marketing tips that gets shared by “Bob” on Google+, and somebody in Bob’s following then does a search for small business marketing tips, then your post is likely to appear in the search results because their friend Bob has already recommended it. To make it really personal, there may even be a picture of Bob or a little logo by the side in the search results. It is all about Social proof (Watch the official Google video below).

As you can see it is a pretty important and significant update.
As a small business owner what should you do?

The previous strategy was to get a website or blog, optimize content for relevant search criteria, get some back links and then convert the traffic on the back end. This process will not change, however just churning out content and syndicating it to social media sites will no longer be good enough. You need to make sure that you practice the following:

1. Create top quality content
2. Deliver incredible value with your content.
3. Motivate people to engage with your content. (Like, share, comment)
4. Position yourself as an authority in your niche
5. Listen to your customers and other people in your niche.
6. Comment and share on what is meaningful to you with your community.

Providing incredible value, listening to your community and being meaningful to others will help build your brand and position you as an expert in your field. One thing that is certain is that in an age where the mass of messages multiplies daily, only a small number really matter. Google know this, and that is why they have made the changes. (“Search, Plus Your World” )

If you want your business and brand to have sustainable profit and your messages to influence others, then you need to make sure your message is the one that matters.

Important Google News: Recap for Last Week

24 Jan

Google News -LogoIf you were sick last week or on vacation or in a coma you missed a LOT of Google news. Here is a must read recap of articles on Google, Google changes and Google news.

 

Industry Related
– Google PR Nightmare: Search Giant Apologizes for Evildoing – SEJ

Google+
– “Ask On Google+” Links Appearing In Google’s Search Results – SEL

– New Gmail, YouTube, Blogger Users Join Google+ by Default – SEW

– New Google account users forced to join Google+ – MSNBC

– Larry Page: Google+ Now Has 90 Million Users – Mashable

– Search Plus Your World: Google and Twitter Exchange Blows – SEJ

– Why Google’s Biggest Problem with ‘Search Plus Your World’ Isn’t Antitrust – Time

– FTC Investigating Google: Google Launches Ad Campaign to Control Damage – SEJ

– Why Google owes you nothing – CNet

Above the Fold
– Pages With Too Many Ads “Above The Fold” Now Penalized By Google’s “Page Layout” Algorithm

– Google Announces Above-the-Fold Algorithm Change – SEJ

– An Interview With A Google Search Quality Rater – SEL

– Does Google Have An Interest In Pinterest? – TechCrunch

– AdWords Search and Display Networks Will Soon Get Impression Share Metrics – SEW

– Is Google Selling Investors Private Search Data? – SEOBook

Non-Industry Related
– Google’s 4Q disappoints as advertising prices sink – AP

– Google Trims The Fat – TechCrunch

– Google’s Mobile Ad Revenues Could Surge To $5.8 Billion In 2012 – TechCrunch

– Google Tops Fortune’s List of Best Places to Work – PCMag

– Google Plays Both Sides in the Web Piracy Fight: Susan Crawford – Bloomberg

– The White House Joins Google+ -White House

– Google Fires Rogue Contractors for Vandalizing Competitor’s Database – SEJ

Important Google News: Recap for Last Week – SEJ