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The Power of the Page Title
Ted Moffatt, Senior Consultant
SEO and the overall performance of a brands web site are often held in close proximity of each other. However when doing business and web analysis of your brand site the data points are usually miles apart. More often than not SEO related data is not included with the page view and visitor data that the business turns to for understanding on how the site is performing. SEO analysis in the reporting tool is measured off of referring URL’s and keywords, but that’s a small slice of the SEO data pie. With that said I wanted to take some time and focus on a key factor in driving reporting insight and SEO strategy the “Page Title”.
Web Analytics & Page Titles
As the web advances the value of a Page Title has grown to hold greater weight over a meta-description.
With today’s intelligent search engines Meta keywords aren’t as important as they used to be. In fact most SEO experts will tell you Keywords should be used sparingly throughout the body copy unless linking to sourced content on other pages in network or external sources of reference.
Page titles are the MOST important element when it comes to SEO copy and rank effectiveness. Writing a dynamic SEO page title can be difficult and there are different scenarios that are dependent on Page Type [Home, Article, Conversion, Registration, Social and yes Video].
The Page Title has to have engagement appeal so end users will click on your listing in the respective search result. Inclusion of Keywords are helpful but be mindful of search engine constraints on results. A best practice recommendation for title is to limit your SEO Page Title copy to 65 characters or less.
Another Best Practice is to avoid what's termed as "Keyword Stuffing" which is the practice of loading Keywords into your title for rank position. Most engines are intelligent and based on crawl technique can determine whether the content of your page - reflects to the content of your Page Title so when possible avoid this practice as it can hamper your rank# with the engines.
Another key factor to assist with Page Title is the proper setup of Meta descriptions. Meta Descriptions are where you capture important keywords in appealing copy. The limitation in the Meta Description fields is 160 characters so it is critical to be creative and make it sound compelling in a concise format. If you exceed the 160 characters limit, your listing will be truncated and ellipsis (....) will appear. This is a not a best practice in SEO because search engines primarily Google has the tendency to decrease your click-through performance rate (CTR) with a lower page rank. Also be mindful of syntax in your copy.
Make sure that you include your the Top Keyword/Key Phrase for your page in the H1 Tag and any image used as a header on the page will need the alt and title tags applied to them. The reason for this practice is that Search Engines do not identify pictures they identify the tags associated to them.
Last collect your “Page Title” in a variable for your analytic reporting. Understanding how your copy performs from page views, repeat visits, social shares, to time spent on page are all important factors in determining whether your SEO strategy is solid or can use a few tweaks. By strategizing how to utilize your Page Title within your analytics program you’ve strengthened the foundation of your data from SEO to Nuts!