How do we find most of what we need these days?
By searching on Google, of course. This incredibly powerful (if imperfect) functionality puts the world, literally, at our fingertips.
Anyway, once you type in your query and hit Return, Google currently shows 3 components for each organic listing: A small black page URL; a large blue Title Tag; and a small dark-gray Description Tag.
Your own company website and SEO plugin give you control of all three of these elements (though sometimes Google will pull out on a snippet of page content to use for the Description Tag).
Today, we’re going to talk about the Title Tag for core pages (not posts). That piece of text is especially important because it’s the one the searching eye goes to first.
So, what’s generally included in a Title Tag?
In terms of common practice, two things: The keyword phrase that the page is optimized for, and the company name.
Using the first one is essential; including it near the beginning of the Title Tag is a core practice of on-page SEO. The second one, well, not so much.
In fact, unless your brand name is nationally famous, it has no recognition or inherent value for the new searcher, and serves only to divert precious characters that could be put to better use (plus the URL above it usually already indicates the company name).
What should we do instead?
The thing to remember is that while your prospect is staring at the Google Search Results Page, you’re in a 100% competitive situation. So will you get peoples’ attention by blending in or by standing out?
The answer seems obvious, but apparently that’s not the case for a whole lotta companies out there.
The best way to say “click me, click me!” is to suggest a meaningful benefit that none of your search-results neighbors are openly offering. So basically, some pre-selling, right on Google’s real estate, that taps into what’s likely important to buyers.
The challenge is to keep it brief, because those 60 characters you have to work with include spaces, as well as the keyword phrase.
Some examples, please?
Certainly. Let’s say your company does cloud backups of people’s computer data. On the search results page you’re targeting, you’re competing with these entries:
Cloud Backups | TechnoCloud Services LLC
Online Cloud Backups | Andromeda Digital Resources
Cloud Backup Systems | Fishtail Backups
The keyword tells us what they do, but none of those Title Tags give us a reason to deserve our click. Sure, you also have a chance to include some enticing language in the Description Tag below. But humans generally don’t dig down to a second level message unless the first level message has sparked their interest.
Okay, let’s see what happens when we throw these Tags in the mix:
Online Cloud Backups Featuring 1-Step Setup
Cloud Backups: Get Unlimited Storage For A Fixed Price
Cloud Backup Systems With Advanced Encryption Security
See how it works?
With a clear, up-front benefit that taps into the real-world needs of buyers, why would they click one of those generic entries?
Of course, once people click, the web page messages should ‘pay off’ the promise made in the Title Tag. If your product or service doesn’t seem to have any obvious competitive advantages, a Discovery/Strategy session with the right consultant or writer may unearth a difference in your company’s approach that you can link to what buyers ‘should be looking for.’
Some may disagree with eliminating the company name from the Title Tag, and they may have a case – but it may reflect a company-focused vs. a more enlightened customer-focused approach.
Need writing that appeals to humans and search engines? Let’s talk about it.
About the Author: Tom Tortorici is an Atlanta copywriter and web content writer who helps companies make a genuine connection with their audience. His classes and conference presentations have focused on how writing, strategy and design can work together to grab attention and interest even among readers with short attention spans. In addition to working directly with businesses, Tom regularly partners with web designers and marketing agencies.
Tom Tortorici Inc. | Tom@TomTortorici.com | 770-934-7861 | 3101 Rockaway Rd | Atlanta GA 30341