SEO Tips: Optimize Titles

Published by • December 10th, 2007 RSS News Feed

Free SEO Advice: Search Engine Optimization Tutorial

Instead of a grand introduction, I’m just going to dive into the meat of my post. Ask questions in the comment section if you’re confused.

Niche Market: Understand your Audience

First things first, you need to make some simple calculations regarding your niche, audience, and the competition that exists for the audience.

Determine what is popular and useful in your niche and figure out how you can get that information to your audience. If it is hard for you to conceptualize the user process, think about how you browse the Internet when you have free time and compare that to how you operate while at work. What happens when you need information and what kind of search terms do you use? Additionally, think about how you phrase your search queries. Do you do this in the form of questions or are they simply topics? And What about generic information? What search phrases do you use and why? Write this stuff down, it helps if you’re a student of the search engine optimization game.

Beware the SEO Expert “References”

Many SEO experts will write crash courses on proper website optimization and they’ll also try to sell you “expert” services. Paying the price of a SEO expert is well worth the investment if you can manage to find a SEO pro and don’t have time or know-how to research this subject yourself. Hey, it’s OK if this stuff just isn’t your thing, but maybe you just don’t want to pay for something you could do on your own!

Search Engine Optimization made simple: Learn to communicate using properly tailored titles and phrases.

One of the biggest problems with Search Engine Optimization is poor communication.

It doesn’t help that a lot of “experts” out there throw out phrases and terms that are industry standards but not conducive to SEO learning for beginners. Along the same lines, a number of SEO articles are written for the wrong audiences or for the wrong purpose: profit. Sadly, because of the SEO niche audience, profit is often the sole motivating factor behind helpful guides on blogging and design.

SEO Tip: Optimize your site for your audience and search indexing or your “masterpiece” will not get the exposure it deserves.

Ever wonder why “SEO Experts” use 10,000 word articles and shady tactics, like bolding the title and bolding key words that appear throughout an entire article? If you’re reading this article, you’re probably intelligent so I don’t have to answer that question. Aside from keyword stuffing and trying to game search engines, however, they’re doing something that every blogger and designer needs to learn. They are trying to direct search engine crawlers to properly categorize the article during crawls. This can lead to higher search engine rankings for the site and higher listings for the article which is especially important in highly competitive niches.

Bold titles and sub-headings

If you’re just getting started, this is key. Make an effort to bold sub-headings to help your readers understand your content. Think about it, if you were creating a search engine indexing algorithm, what is the first issue you’d want to tackle? Relevance: how helpful and relevant is content to potential search users. One warning, don’t be like the “SEO experts” out there that bold several dozen words and phrases throughout the entire article without rhyme or reason. It is cheap, they look more like desperate losers rather than “professionals”and frankly it is annoying and makes it harder to read what might otherwise be a quality article. If Google has any sense, it’ll start penalizing these so-called

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experts, because it’s exploiting and cheapening the search experience.

Try and figure out how search engines work:

Some people will tell you not to fret and simply write content that your writers want to read, it’s true, this is good advice. However, when you’re stuck in a difficult niche to crack, you -must- write for search engines in addition to targeting your audience. Google owns the world of search and this is significant for a number of reasons. If you aren’t finding ways to optimize your website to help crawlers and users find you, why bother wasting your time with blogging or sharing your creative mind with the world? I’m not trying to be mean here, you simply won’t be discovered or it’ll take several years before your work pays off. Seriously, unless you are an established blogger, you are going to struggle if you don’t learn to manipulate titles so both users and search engine crawlers will love your site.

The Lost Art Of Creating Quality Titles

Title phrasing is KEY

I cannot emphasize this enough. Pick a title that is both descriptive and interesting to your niche audience. Blogging is often driven by emotion and bloggers make the mistake of thinking their emotion can be conveyed to a prospective reader by using clever sounding titles or being “funny”.

Example: “This rocks!”

The title might entice bored users to click, but most people will roll their eyes and move along. If your article is about chimps besting humans in a memory competition, the title will not give your work-of-art, justice! Why?

  1. Too vague, no description makes the title useless to search engines and it’ll get indexed improperly and your audience will likely never find you.
  2. Social Network users will ignore vague titles because they are spoon fed juicy and descriptive titles on their social news site of choice.
  3. If indexed by a blog engine like Technorati, people aren’t going to read your article. Most people seeking content are limited in their time so they’ll click on the title below that may be a spam article but has a script smart enough to provide quality titles.

Use your knowledge of human behavior and psychology to optimize your titles for Search Engine queries and social networking

For a more sophisticated audience, a better example:

“Chimps tested better than humans in cognitive study.”

If your crowd is a bit younger or the tone of your blog is dumbed down a bit, you might want to try this example:

“Proof that monkeys are smarter than humans”.

A final example that helps you cast a wider net:

“Are chimps better at memorizing numbers than humans?”

Before we move on, consider what these titles are doing for users and search engines alike. The latter title is useful because it is descriptive, it gives users what they are looking for, and even those that aren’t seeking the information might click because you piqued their interest with the inquisitive, provocative, if not humorous title.

Title Structure:

Keep it simple: Use as many relevant key words, make it readable and if you must, place the site name at the end.

Example: [title] [topic] [web site name]

The reason you place the title first is because sometimes words at the end of titles are truncated. Also no one likes seeing the domain name as a title, it looks like spam! Finally, the higher concentration of key words must be near the beginning of the title because that is the stuff that’ll probably be checked against your content to determine your web site’s relevance and subsequent search listing.

I hope this was helpful, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you haven’t done so, please subscribe to the itola.com – RSS News Feed. It’s a regularly updated column and costs ya nothing!

Itola Author

is an Attorney and Entrepreneur from the Silicon Valley.
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