This is the fastest way you can target keywords and move your page up on the Google search results.
If you are not doing it—you don’t need to be tech savvy—then you are missing out!
There is an element on every web page called a “title tag”.
Your title tag is the main message you want to tell Google about that page on your site.
I have seen clients appear higher in search results just from adjusting the title.
What (& Where) Is The Title Tag?
If you look at the source code of a page, it appears as <title>.
But that doesn’t mean you need to be a programmer to adjust it.
Most website-builders have a space where you can enter a page title. Log in to your site and see if you can find a field for Page Title / Title Tag / Title Element / SEO Title.
The above four names are used to describe the same thing—the common word being “title”.
Keep in mind this title doesn’t appear on the page itself. Again, it’s part of the code.
This title will show up on search engine results, and across the tab of your internet browser.
It also tells Google your main keywords for that page. This is what helps show up higher on a Google search.
If you are using WordPress, there is a great (free) plugin called Yoast that you can use to edit your page titles.
Or you can just call your website provider and have them do it for you.
Are There Limitations Or Rules For The Title?
The words at the beginning of the title are weighed more heavily than at the end.
So if you have two sets of keywords, put the most important one first.
It’s fine to have your company name in the title, but put it at the end. There is no need to include Inc or Ltd or any other fluff words.
Google sometimes changes how many characters of text it will show from your title.
In the last few years, you were safe if your title was less than 60 characters. Now Google is experimenting with longer titles in some cases.
It is slightly different for wide screens, small screens, and mobile displays.
Your keywords may still hold search value even if they are too long to display. But since you know the first words are most important, and you want people to click on your site, I suggest you keep the title short.
You can use this tool to check the character-count of your title:
For separating phrases in your title, you can use a dash, a comma, or a pipe: “-” or “,” or “|”
The pipe creates the cleanest visual impact, and is rarely used elsewhere (so it looks unique).
So now we have a simple formula for a title…
Important Keyword | Secondary Keyword | Brand
Title Tweaks For Max Impact
For your important (main) keyword, you can modify it in two ways.
The first is by area. Think of your service area or an area you’d like to target (could be community, city, province, etc).
The second is by using adjectives to make your keyword more specific.
While you might think it would be great to come up first for a general keyword, it’s probably not very realistic.
So if we take a plumber as an example, he could just use Plumbing | Drains | Joe Plumber Company. It would be accurate, but not very effective.
Instead, he could go with Emergency Plumbing Winnipeg | Joe Plumber.
He is now targeting people in Winnipeg who need a plumber that is available on short notice, at any time.
Notice that there is no secondary keyword in that example. There is a powerful lesson here, but it can be a bitter pill to swallow.
Try to internalize this—you can’t cover everything in one go.
If you can present yourself as elite or unique in some way (because you are, or because no one else has bothered to do so), then you should.
Too often, a business wants to target everything. To list every suburb they serve, or to name every possible combination of their services in a flurry of keywords.
However, the only way to gain SEO traction is to pick something and focus in on it.
This focus should guide the page title, as well as the heading and the text on the page. They all need to stay on point.
It’s great, because it forces you to really think about what unique value you are offering to potential customers.
If you do two very separate (but clear) things, I think it’s fine to list them both in your Home page title. Otherwise, pick one focus for your Home page.
That focus can then be sharpened by using the modifiers we just covered.
Since the main keyword phrase becomes longer, you’ll choose to leave off additional keywords for that page.
Then, on other pages of your website, you can list different keywords. Just make sure they relate to the content on that particular page.
I will explain.
Two Final Title Tips… And A Warning
The first tip is that each page on your website should have unique titles. The keywords can still be similar, as long as they are modified a bit.
For instance, if the Plumber uses Emergency Plumbing Winnipeg on his Home page, he could have Portage Ave Plumber on the Contact page.
The Portage part basically says he operates downtown. It’s not really that different from saying that he is a plumber in Winnipeg, but since it’s specific it will target a location-based search as well as the general plumbing topic.
The modifications don’t have to use locations—this is just one example. They could use distinctions like “commercial” or “residential”, or timing things like “emergency” or “late night”.
So each page title should be unique.
The second tip is that you can attract more visitors by using some persuasive language in your titles.
For persuasion, always go for clarity over cleverness.
In one example, a blogger increased his page traffic over 30% by making one change to his page title.
It went from “Wordpress Security” to “Wordpress Security in a few easy steps”.
It got more clicks, because people felt relieved when they saw that this article wouldn’t require any advanced computer knowledge.
When Google sees a lot more people suddenly click on a web page, they think that page is very relevant. In the long term, that leads to a high ranking.
I advise you to keep it simple, and not use too much of this language on all your pages.
But if you had an internal page that covered similar ground to your Home page, you could use this tip to modify the main keyword on one of the titles. Then it would become unique and focused.
The best example of this is a Home page vs a Services page.
The Home page typically lists an overview of what a company provides, while the Services page goes into greater detail.
You might think the keywords in the title should be very similar on both pages, since they both cover the same general idea. But now we know to make sure the keywords are a bit different.
So this would be a good time to use some persuasive language on one of the titles. It keeps them unique, without diluting your message.
One title could use Emergency Plumbing Winnipeg, while another could be An Affordable Emergency Plumber.
I don’t think a lot of people would use the word “affordable” when they are searching. Yet this page would still show up in a search for “emergency plumber”, and this title may get clicks from someone concerned about the additional cost of emergency service.
Okay, now for that warning I mentioned…
There is no need to create a web page for each and every separate service you provide.
This was a strategy some people used so they could have a page title for each major keyword.
But lately Google has put more focus on context and what they call “searcher intent”.
Two people may be searching for different phrases, but they have the same intent (they want to end up with the same result).
When you have related services, or a service process that can be broken down into parts, it’s fine to have it all on one page.
I see this a lot with landscaping businesses. They sell a general landscaping service that includes a lot of things. Then they try to write each of those things on separate pages of their site.
But it’s easier and makes more sense for a user to read about all these things, in order, on one page.
Google recognizes this, and will deliver people to your web page even when they search for different parts of the same overall process.
So make a distinction.
One or two focused keyword phrases per page title. Remember, this is just part of the code.
But on any given page (the visible part that users read), many related ideas can be grouped together in the text.
My message is not about running to dismantle your current website, but about looking at what you have and tuning it up by just changing the titles.
You read what is already on a page, then you choose a title that underlines one very important part of that page that relates to what people are searching.
- you can easily adjust the title tag for each page on your website
- important keywords go at the front of the title
- you can rank higher for more specific phrases that include an adjective and/or an area
- it is most effective to have slightly different titles on each page of your site
- a title only helps your search rank if it relates to the topic on that page
And don’t fix what ain’t broke. If you have a page that already comes up near the top of the first page on Google for a certain keyword, just leave it as-is.