Copywriter Serves up the Truth About Title Tags in SEO Content
As a freelance copywriter, I regularly talk to people who think they’ve got organic SEO all figured out, but then they give me blank stares when I talk about Title tags. Just today I was arguing with a web developer who failed to use the Title tags I’d written for a client’s website, fighting for my Title tags and explaining their importance. It’s 2013. We’ve been using Title tags and Google for quite some time now to win searches, but we still aren’t giving Title tags their due. Is this because people simply don’t know? Well then, I am going to unveil the truth about Title tags: They are critical for SEO for more than one reason.
Most marketers don’t seem to realize a Title tag has two jobs. One is to use your important keywords so Google indexes you well. That seems to be an overlooked feature of Title tags. Even more often, however, marketers overlook their second job: getting clicks.
Your Title tag wins you search results because it is also your search result. Look at this screenshot, for example:
This showed up on the first page of search results in Google searching on the term all natural pork bacon. Do you see how the keyword phrase is in bold? That draws the searcher’s attention. But wait, there’s more! See how the Title tag is actually compelling copy?
“All Natural Pork Bacon Adds Zesty Zing to an Easy Squash and …”
If that’s not intriguing enough, the description jumps in to help convince the searcher to click on the link (in this case the description is the beginning of the blog post). This Title tag is doing both jobs: It’s doing SEO by using keywords correctly and it’s getting clicks by being compelling content.
Whether you’re the online copywriter working on SEO for a client or a small biz owner doing your own, there are three lessons for you here:
- Use your keywords at the beginning of your Title tag so Google will rank you for them.
- Also use them at the beginning so they’ll show up in bold at the beginning of the line in the search results.
- Really think through your Title tag to make it something people will want to click upon.
Now here’s an example that I hope illustrates the importance of the keyword in the Title tag on a search results page. For this, I was screwing around and typed 1890 farmhouse into Google just because I am in the process of rebuilding an 1890 farmhouse. The screenshot below shows you the search results:
Our farm website shows up on this page, even though “1890 farmhouse” is not a keyword I’ve optimized for. See where it says Literal Road Farm? That’s our farmhouse website. See how your eye wants to skip right over that search result and go to the others with 1890 farmhouse in bold blue type? That’s another reason why you need to have the keywords in the Title tags. If I’m searching for 1890 farmhouse, or Seattle plumber, or Ohio software company, I am going to notice the search results that have my keyword in big, blue type.
Remember: Title tags are much more than something hidden in your html code. They are much more than a critical SEO tool too. Title tags show up on the search results page because they are the search result! As such, they must convince people to click on the link that will take them to your site.
Now you know the truth about Title tags. Will it change how you write them?