Six months ago we explored how title tags should be a cornerstone of your SEO strategy, and the inspiration gained by examining how others have improved their own. We thought it would be valuable to do another scan to see what trends and ideas we can gather from a new set of title tag upgrades. What is clear is that title tags communicate with two equally important audiences – the search engines and your prospects, making them as important as ever.
Title Tags 101
The keywords in your tag are used in search algorithms, which determine where your page will rank among the returned results. Then, that same phrase will appear as the first line of your SERP listing – the first copy potential prospects read as they scan their search results to decide what is worthy of further investigation.
To ensure that we’re all working from the same understanding of what makes a good title tag, I’ve summarized the best practices recommended by SEOmoz.
- No more than 70 characters – click to tweet this fact
- List keywords first, save the company name for the end – click to tweet this fact
- Prioritize keywords. Those at the start have the most impact – click to tweet this fact
- Write for humans and search engines. Tags that read as sentences will be more compelling to your audience – click to tweet this fact
Interesting Trends: Are Title Tags Still Important?
A recently published SEO Ranking Survey shows that there are more factors than ever affecting search results. While all of these variables are important, the good ‘ol title tag takes the number one spot for most instrumental page specific ranking factor.
Top Five Best Title Tag Improvements
To compile the list, I reviewed the 12,000+ companies Rival IQ tracks on behalf of our customers, selecting the best title tag changes made in the last 60 days. To be considered, a company had to improve on a title tag that was more than just the company name. Yes, this was a subjective exercise, based on my opinion of improvement in keywords usage and expected overall impact on SEO strategy. Please use the comments section if you disagree, have feedback, or have other great examples. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
IN FIFTH PLACE . . . Downard & Assocaitates
- A valuable SEO move for a regionaly oriented business is to put a location keyword in the title
- Increased customer readability by moving to a sentence format
- Addition of the branded company name to the end of the title tag helps ensure successful branded searches
This was a great opportunity to highlight how all sorts of business categories can benefit from tuning their title tag. Downard & Associates already had decent keyword, but the improvement in readability as well as the addition of location and the company name makes this a winner.
IN FOURTH PLACE . . . THINK | DIFFERENT [LY]
- A great application of “say it clearly” with this change
- I would guess that “Small Business” is going to have a higher search volume than “Lean”
I really like this simple but valuable modification. It is amazing how much clearer the title tag is now. This may or may not improve search results, but I’m very confident that when THINK | DIFFERENT [LY] appears in a SERP, their reader will know if they are the target market or not. I expect click through rates to increase.
IN THIRD PLACE . . . Pixlee
- Great to see the iterative work at title tag improvement – final product is a much clearer statement of the business value
- Following best practices by moving company name to the end
It’s nice to see the hard work that went into clearly describing their business in a way that makes sense for both search and customers. I wonder if by taking it a step further and making their title tag a complete phrase would be even more powerful? “Personalized Visual Marketing Using Customer Photos | Pixlee”
IN SECOND PLACE . . . Scringo
- Iterative work at improving clarity of the value proposition and improving keyword value
- Final product has two keyword rich statements
- Cherry on top by moving the company name to the end, as per suggested best practice
This was a fun one to research since it was clear the folks at Scringo have been hard at work fine tuning their title tag over the last three months. From the ethereal “swipe. discover.” three months ago to the clear, keyword rich “Mobile App Development Tools & Monetization Platform”, it has been a journey. Well done Scringo!
AND THE WINNER IS . . . InsightSquared
- Simple change that clarifies what exactly InsightSquared offers
- From an SEO perspective, “Data Intelligence” is an ambiguous term and will likely be difficult to rank on. The more focused “Salesforce Analytics” is a much more likely SEO winner.
- There is room to add the company name to the end of the title tag, while still remaining under the recommended 70 characters; I would suggest this as an additional improvement.
Another application of “be clear” that I believe will bring great results for InsightSquared. A small change, but it packs a punch. Nice job!
You can’t set and forget your title tags – they need to be reviewed regularly to ensure you’re leveraging best practices and popular search terms. In this round of SEO inspiring title tag changes, we saw the application of clarity of value proposition being a key theme. Do you have an example of a great title tag improvement to share? Let’s hear about them in the comments.