Imagine quietly, calmly running a paint brush across a canvas while you create a masterful work of art that will be seen by millions of people. Well, this is exactly what you’re doing when you craft meta titles for a website.
The meta title, the portion of a web page that appears as the headline/title in search engines, is one of the most commonly abused (and forgotten) areas of a site. It’s not the designer’s fault, they’re hired to build the website and most know nothing about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), which you have to understand. Do you want a lawyer operating on you, or a doctor acting as your legal counsel? Exactly.
The most common meta title mistakes I see include: improper amount of words, irrelevant text, keyword stuffing, having only the company name, and lack of research. Let me shed more light on these:
- Keyword Count: Meta titles should be anywhere from 6-9 words depending on the length of each word. It’s important to get a feel for the limit, which will come with trial and error. I often see websites with titles that are 15+ words and in search engines it looks horrible. Instead of being concise, a thought begins and is abruptly cut off at the 6-9 word mark.
- Irrelevant Text: The meta title is prime real estate and must include relevant, high traffic keywords that target markets will likely search for, then act on. Quite frequently I see websites list the company name and slogan, both of which have absolutely nothing to do with the business. This means that potential customers, even if the site ranks well in search engines, will not understand that product/service being sold and will likely jump to a competitor’s site that clearly displays their offering.
- Keyword Stuffing: As you have probably seen, some sites (and amateur SEOs) stuff all sorts of keywords in meta titles, which creates a jumbled mess that no customer wants to read. Here’s a perfect example: “Marketing Firm NYC, New York Marketing Firm, Advertising Company.” I think keyword stuffing exudes a sense of desperation and deters visitors.
- Company Name Only: Let’s say there’s a bagel extraordinaire who makes the best bagels on earth, and his bakery is called Shmohawk’s Amazing Bakery. His website is awesome, though it has his company name draped across the meta title of every page. Yes, it may sound like good branding, but it’s an epic fail. The guy makes the best bagels on earth, why not mention bagels in the meta title? The thing he does best is totally overlooked.
- Lack of Research: When concocting meta titles, one must think about what target markets will enter in search engines as well as what’s searched for most often. If there are two long tail keywords and one receives 500 searches per month whereas the other rakes in 5,000, which would you go with? Of course the one with 5,000 searches per month, though you’d only know this if you research keyword traffic.
If I could ask one favor from you, or anyone you know, please don’t make the above-mentioned mistakes because these — these annoying little things — are what keep me up at night. I need sleep people; I really do.
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The Brainchild Group
Aaron Schoenberger is Founder of The Brainchild Group — a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing company in Los Angeles, California. He’s known for his work with celebrity clients, top restaurants, automotive manufacturers, professional athletes and Fortune 500 companies.