SEO for Title Tags Tip 4 Filter Words

by demtron on Wednesday, October 08, 2008 05:11 PM

Filter Words are a common issue that affects title tag quality and SEO. What are Filter Words? They're words ignored by search engines due to their common use and offering very little value toward making a page appear to have valuable content. Some examples of filter words are a, the, best, all, name, not, and new. There a several hundred words that are generally considered to be filter words.

Why are they a problem? First, to conserve disk space and assist in search performance, stop words are filtered out of a search engine's database and not cataloged. Therefore, no matter how many times filter words appear in your text, they'll be completely ignored.

Second, and perhaps more important, is that these words take up valuable space in a page title and dilute the importance of the other words. Consider these two titles:

Acme Brothers Offers the Best Custard, Shakes and Burgers in Milwaukee

Acme Brothers Milwaukee Custard, Shakes, Burgers

The first example has 11 total words, 4 of which are stop words and one (Offers) that is of questionable value to searching. Contrast that with the second example, which has six total words, all of which are valuable to searching and pertinence to the page and the site. After removing the filter words, we're left with a title tag that's highly optimized.

One important point to note is that removing stop words typically results in title that appear stiff to a human reader. A compromise like "Acme Brothers - Milwaukee's Favorite Custard, Shakes and Burgers" creates a more excitement, only has two lesser-quality words, and fits in 64 characters. As a personal preference, I occasionally add filter words into titles that need to appear more natural or if I have many titles o a site that are stripped of filter words. That little bit of variety won't seriously impact page positioning but will make the titles more appealing and more likely to be clicked on.

SEO for Title Tags Tip 3 Keyword Phrases

by demtron on Monday, October 06, 2008 09:21 PM

Like any advertising campaign, it's important to understand your target audience and know how you are most likely to be found in a search.  For example, if your company is "Knutson Pools Inc." and your target audience is pool and spa shoppers in Naperville and Chicago, your title tag should be more than just "Knutson Pools, Inc."  Ideally, your page should show up in searches such as "Naperville Pools" and "Chicago Spas"

One way to construct your title tag would be:

Knutson Pools – Chicago Pool and Spa Store – Naperville, Illinois

Notice that this phrase title includes some key elements: company name, target audience, and specific city location.  This type of phrase has a greater chance of ranking highly among many phrases due to the variety of important keywords contained that describe the store.  If your store is a dealer for specific brands or trade names that have recognition in your marketplace, consider using them as well.  For example:

Solana & Hot Springs Dealer – Knutson Pools – Naperville/Chicago

This title tag offers instant recognition that your shop is a dealer for these brands with a location in Chicago.  With this additional information, a search engine user is more likely to find your content relevant to his specific request and therefore click on your link.

Remember that your title shows up in a large font at the top of each search engine listing.  As a user is skimming his search engine results, your title, and sometimes only a few words of it, will need to catch the user’s eye.  A title must serve two masters: SEO for positioning and attractiveness to a visitor.  Crafting titles to satisfy these two objectives will increase the quantity and quality of visitors to your site.

SEO for Title Tags Tip 2 Character Length

by demtron on Sunday, October 05, 2008 11:04 PM

Neither search engines nor visitors care to see a whole slew of words in the title.  In general, SEs cut off any title after 65 characters in length, and many visitors won’t look past the first three words, either.  Stuffing multiple city names and product names is usually not worth the effort.  Consider these titles:

Bad: XYZ Company – We Design Web Sites for Businesses in Chicago, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and St. Louis Using PHP and MySQL

Good: Chicago Web Site Design, PHP, MySQL – XYZ Company

In the Bad Example, the title is entirely too long and everything after Chicago will be truncated.  The alternate cities as well as the technology names will be lost and not impact SEO.  In the Good Example, we use 49 characters and convey the most important aspects of the page.  There are many factors to go into good title tag development, some of which I’ll cover in later segments.  For right now, I’m assuming that this company wants to attract customers in the Chicago Area for we site design services using PHP and MySQL.

One aspect of good site design is that each page has a separate topic and focus.  A short and simple title tag reinforces this notion as it forces us to think about what the pages is really all about.  What kinds of visitors should be attracted to this page?  What are the most important points of the page?  Keeping this in mind will make it easier to determine short, relevant titles.

SEO for Title Tags Tip 1 Titles on Every Page

by demtron on Sunday, October 05, 2008 10:14 PM

Web page title tags are the most important aspect of on-page SEO, yet I find so many sites that completely ignore this very important concept.  If you want your site to have any chance of being found in search engine result pages (SERPs), attention to title tags is a must.

This article begins a series here related to title tags, their importance to SEO, and how to enhance your title tags for better impact in SERPs.

TIP #1 - Titles on Every Page

Make sure that every important page on your site has a legitimate title tag.  Any pages without tags, default titles like “untitled page”, or just the company or site name are the KISS OF DEATH for web page SEO.  Nameless or redundant pages tell search engines that there’s not much important content in them.  Doing this is like advertising in the phone book with just your business name under a category named “Unknown” and without your phone number.  It doesn’t make any sense for phone books or for SEO.

Ideally, every page on your Web site should be unique, so every page title should be unique as well.  The title should pertain to the content on the page (we’ll talk about this in a future tip) and use keywords found in it.  When a visitor finds your link and goes to your page, you’ll improve your chances of that visitor staying on your site if the page content is relevant to the title tag shown in the SERPs.

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