To reach your target audience on the Web, you need is to ensure that your website is optimized for the search engines.
Search engines are a free source of targeted quality traffic, and understanding how they work should be a top priority for any marketer with a Web presence. You can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on advertising, but the search engines can give your site massive amounts of traffic for free.
Importance of Getting Your Title Tags Right
To get good rankings on the Web, the first step is to write good titles for your pages. Title tags should accurately describe the web page’s content; or if it is the homepage, then the title tag should describe what the site is all about. Title tags are very important, and factor greatly in the ranking of the websites in the search engines.
Experts’ advice that you need to choose a title that effectively communicates the topic of the page’s content. Think of keywords visitors are more likely to use in search engines to find the type of content you have written in your paper.
Let’s look for example the keyword “toys.” A highly competitive keyword, you need to have “toys” in your title tag if your site is about toys. Just look at the top 100 sites for this keyword, and almost all of them use it in their title tags.
The #1 search result for “toys” is Toys”R”Us https://www.toysrus.com. Some will say it’s a triumph of the big brands rather than the cleverness of their search engine optimization efforts. I say it’s a combination of the two, though there’s room for improvement for Toys R’Us in terms of creating their title tags.
Here’s the title tag of Toys R’Us
< title >Toysrus.com Home – The Official Toys”R”Us Site – Toys, Games, & More< /title >
I think there are a lot of wasted words in their title tag. Remember, search engines only show about 65-70 characters in the title tags, and you need to fully use that allotted character limit before the ellipses begin.
- There are two variations of the name — Toysrus.com and Toys”R”Us. They can just use Toysrus.com and drop the other one, and use that space instead for more keywords.
- The word “Home” is basically useless and a definite waste of space. Nobody searches for “home” to find toys for their kids.
Walmart.com, which is #3 for “toys” in Google in my opinion has a better crafted title tag:
< title >Toys, Games, Bikes, Video Games, Outdoor Play – Walmart.com < /title >
No fluff, like using phrases such as “Home” or “The Official Site” in their title tag. Just keywords of the top items and most-searched for product items in their toys section.
Now, let’s look at a small business toy site, Kobold Toys, which I previously interviewed in WomenHomeBusiness.com.
Kobold Toys is not in the top 100 websites for “toys”. One of the easier things that they can do is to fortify their title tag, which right now is very Spartan-esque
< title > Kobold Toys < /title >
While some websites are cramming too much keywords into the title tags, Kobold Toys does not have anything but their name on the title tag of their homepage. In fact, their About Us page has a better-written title tag than their homepage:
< title > Kobold Toys – Educational Toys, High Quality, Safe Toys from Europe < /title >
Not only is the above better than the title tag of their homepage in terms of search engine optimization, but also users who come across the site will immediately know what the site is all about.
As a website owner, a more descriptive and keyword rich title tag can help you get more targeted traffic. Users who come across just “Kobold Toys” will not immediately know what the site is all about. They may be looking for cat toys or adult toys, only to find that the site is about educational toys for children.
Walk on the Good Side of the Search Engines
To modify an old saying – “Hell hath no fury than a search engine scorned.” The last thing you want is to be banned by a search engine. It will severely limit the reach of your site, and thus affect your income potential.
Google lists some of the things that violate their quality guidelines, which you should never do lest you risk getting your site removed from their database:
- Avoid hidden text or hidden links.
- Don’t use cloaking or sneaky redirects.
- Don’t send automated queries to Google.
- Don’t load pages with irrelevant keywords.
- Don’t create multiple pages, subdomains, or domains with substantially duplicate content.
- Don’t create pages with malicious behavior, such as phishing or installing viruses, trojans, or other badware.
- Avoid “doorway” pages created just for search engines, or other “cookie cutter” approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content.
It is important to review what the search engines consider as violations of their guidelines, and make sure that your website does not have any or all of those items.
Going back to Kobold Toys, for example, they need to clean up their keyword metatag as it is clearly keyword stuffing. The site has about 400 keywords listed in their keyword metatag, the number of which is enough to make any search engine professional shout “Holy Cow!” They need to trim it to less than 10, and not put every permutation of their keywords in their keyword tag.
This brings me to the last point.
If you are going to hire “professionals” to do your search engine optimization for you, make sure that you at least have read what the search engines want and do not want. So even if they pitch something to you – like putting 400 keywords in your keyword metatag – then you can question their recommendations. Start with Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
You can also go to forums such as WebmasterWorld.com and ask the SEO experts in there if the recommendations of the “expert” you hired are actually kosher.
When you are running a Web business, you need to at least have a basic understanding of search engine marketing especially if they provide you with a significant percentage of your visitors. Not prepping your website well for the search engine is a serious mistake small business owners should not commit.