homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.161.175.231
register, free tools, login, search, pro membership, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Become a Pro Member

Visit PubCon.com
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: Robert Charlton & aakk9999 & brotherhood of lan & goodroi

Google SEO News and Discussion Forum

This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 56 ( 1 [2]     
SEO and the Title Tag - finer details
MonkeyFace




msg:4259956
 5:58 pm on Jan 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am fairly aware that the title tags is the most important SEO element on a webpage. However I some queries regarding the finer details of the tag. Namely:

1. Though 70 characters is the recommended max length of the title, will additional keywords beyond 70 be discarded completely. I have a feeling keywords even in a 120 chars long title might have some positive affect on SEO. I see many top ranking pages with more than 70 character title.

2. Will the case of the title affect SEO? "This is a Keyword Title" vs. "this is a keyword title" vs. "THIS IS A KEYWORD TITLE". Recently AdWords rejected an ad of mine for containing an all-uppercase word, so maybe SEOwise it applies too - too many uppercase, not good.

3. Additional tips on optimizing the title tags most welcome? Like the use of "|" etc.

 

Rlilly




msg:4260892
 12:42 am on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know a site with only the name of the company as title on homepage. It does very well in the SERPs for competitive keywords which are in text on the homepage.

freejung




msg:4260897
 12:47 am on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I completely agree, don't get me wrong. One reason I've been going for simple lately is that I noticed that most of the titles in my niche read like "red widgets, red doodads, red wingdings, red woozles, red wodgets, and widgets colored red" so I decided that a simpler title would stand out better, and it does appear to get better clickthrough. If everyone copies me, I'll have to do something different.

Forgotmytea




msg:4261265
 4:38 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I completely agree, don't get me wrong. One reason I've been going for simple lately is that I noticed that most of the titles in my niche read like "red widgets, red doodads, red wingdings, red woozles, red wodgets, and widgets colored red" so I decided that a simpler title would stand out better, and it does appear to get better clickthrough. If everyone copies me, I'll have to do something different.

I agree. I think that simpler titles are easier for users searching and looking through the list. But, as you said, if people move en masse to this, then I suppose conversely the longer titles will stand out.

Thanks to everyone in this thread, it's been a great read. I'm still relatively new to working SEO into my writing, so this has been fantastic!

francie brady




msg:4261366
 7:29 pm on Feb 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I agree with Tedster's assertion: "It's better not to be tweaking titles after the page is indexed, so I want to start with a great choice" - Too much tweaking of the Title tag often results in a loss of position for several months… that's been my experience anyway.

I also have found "Phrase Stacking" as described by pageoneresults, to work well.

opraus




msg:4261651
 12:18 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

repeated tweaking has led some to lose rankings for extended periods.

I can attest to this. Been there, made that mistake.

I wonder at what frequency it might be alright to freshen your titles?

Planet13




msg:4261791
 5:57 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I also have found "Phrase Stacking" as described by pageoneresults, to work well.


I am still not clear on this concept.

Oageone mentioned that it should be readable forwards as well as backwards. did he/she really mean that the title should be readable in revers and still make sense?

Example: The title tag for this posting page is:

Post Message: Google SEO News and Discussion"

Would phrase stacking mean this:

"Discussion And News SEO Google: Message Post"

Or for phrase stacking, are you saying to make two independent clauses in the title, and if you switch the order that the clauses appear in, it still makes sense? that would make it like so:

"Google SEO News and Discussion: Post Message"

I am hoping it is the latter.

aakk9999




msg:4261816
 6:51 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

@planet13, this is probably not the best example as not every page title can be "phrase stacked" in the best way.

Take this example:

Holiday Apartments Someplace - Apartment Rentals - Someplace Countryname - example.com

And there are all these phrases that you can get out of this title:

Holiday Apartments
Holiday Apartments Someplace
Apartments Someplace
Someplace Apartment
Someplace Apartment Rentals
Apartment Rentals
Apartment Rentals Someplace
Rentals Someplace
Rentals Someplace Countryname
Someplace Countryname

<added>Mods, sorry to use kw holiday/apartment/rental instead of widgets, but could not explain this the best with widget analogy. If this is a problem, remove the post.
</added>

idbit




msg:4261882
 8:54 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was always under the impression that the shorter the title gets, the better the results for the keywords contained in it - like keyword density applied to the title. This was years ago that I read this though and the info could have been completely wrong. But I would love to know a definitive answer to this - as I'm in the beginning stages of an SEO overhaul for a struggling e-commerce site.

If there is any truth to keyword density for titles, maybe the rules are different for home page vs. supporting pages? Maybe the home page is afforded a longer title because it's known to be sort of an advertisement/summary for the rest of the site? Or maybe not.

MonkeyFace




msg:4261901
 9:23 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

idbit, I have seen a website with EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA long titles ranking exceptinally well for almost everything. But that was almost a year ago, they shut down because of some Google related violation. But it is proof that shorter doesn't really help you - there are other bigger factors in play.

tedster




msg:4261928
 10:42 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, idbit.

If there is any truth to keyword density for titles...

I don't think there is - except for having a keyword appear somewhere, and even that isn't a requirement. in fact, I'm pretty sure that the old school metric of keyword density doesn't hold any weight anymore at all, not the title or the page copy or anything.

I have also seen what MonkeyFace describes - even a extreme case a couple years ago that had thousands of characters in the title element and it was ranking for an obscure phrase at the very end. They since changed the page, so I can't see how it's working our today. But even if it did rank, I still wouldn't do it.

You have brought up an interesting idea, that perhaps the algorithm is different when it measures internal titles than when it measures a home page title. I'm going to ponder that for a while.

idbit




msg:4262006
 1:30 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Welcome to the forums, idbit.

Thanks! Joining here was long overdue.

On phrase stacking, I didn't know it had a name, but I used to do that with the keyword meta. Things like (random example):

"trout fishing for snapper fishing for grouper fishing for trout netting for snapper netting for grouper netting for trout cooking snapper cooking grouper cooking"

I would fill it up with all 1000 plus characters, thinking it would help with ranking. It never did, of course. I would never do this with the title. I prefer that the title make sense. Yet I do see my competition filling up their titles with meaningless strings of keywords - and being rewarded for it. Whether people click the meaningles titles, I don't know. But I never do, personally.

tedster




msg:4262013
 2:34 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I would never do this with the title.

That's smart. You don't need to stuff the title in order to do good stacking for the words you do use. People who stuff titles are trying to make one page rank for a host of keywords, I think, rather than working with many internal pages.

aakk9999




msg:4262017
 2:46 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I prefer that the title make sense.

Absolutely agree. Hence you cannot phrase stack every page title - some just do not make sense, for example I have no idea how I would stack title in the example Planet13 gave (and also - is there any point to phrase stack such title all).

But some work well and do not appear spammy and can still be reasonably short (under 69 char).

I think that phrase stacking works where you have similar related terms that all have reasonable search traffic and where the page content could answer almost equally for all these terms.

TheMadScientist




msg:4262018
 2:49 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

People who stuff titles are trying to make one page rank for a host of keywords, I think, rather than working with many internal pages.

Agreed, and I also think they work with 'yesterday's seo' techniques in mind... Quite possibly because they really don't know any better. (See Below)

These days I've seen plenty of page that rank for a term even if it's not in the title... Yeah, if it's a 'money term' the title is recommended, but every variation or 'all phrased up' titles are not necessary.

With 10 factors, sure, they're essential... With 25 or 30 factors where 15 are 'tie breakers' so to speak, sure, but with 200+? You can over come one or two misses, IMO and from what I've seen.

People still seem to think 'this part is "most important", so it's got to be there' forgetting when there are 200+ variables at work if you 'out-do' the rest on enough of them you will still do fine, even if you don't hit them all, because the "most important" point might count for 3 out of 200, but missing that still leaves you with 197 left you can hit on.

Things just aren't as simple as they used to be and IMO and from what I've seen there is no single 'make or break' point any more...

### # ###

I've overheard a couple of conversations re SEO the last couple of days and have been amazed at what I heard... One person was telling two other people about how to make a page rank and how you had to fill the keyword tag with all the phrases you wanted to rank for. I actually felt bad for them, because they really thought they had good info on what was necessary to rank.

### # ###

[edited by: TheMadScientist at 2:53 am (utc) on Feb 3, 2011]

aakk9999




msg:4262019
 2:50 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

People who stuff titles are trying to make one page rank for a host of keywords, I think, rather than working with many internal pages.


I agree but sometimes terms are so closely related that it is difficult to create a different page for each term that would add a value to the site. So it really depends.

Also, I think that not every phrase stacking = keywords stuffing.

pageoneresults




msg:4262020
 2:53 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Stacking is an art, it really is. I would never publish a title that read like the example given above for Phrase Stacking, that is incorrect. The example given by aakk9999 is more inline with what I'm referring to.

The opportunity for stacking usually exists in a dynamic environment where you're dealing with a breadcrumb. An ecommerce store for automotive parts would be a good example. There are ways to assemble the dynamics in the title to where they read just fine, both forward and backwards.

I didn't say anything about a continuous string of keywords like that provided above. Wrong type of stacking. That's more like string stuffing. ;)

TheMadScientist




msg:4262022
 3:03 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I just did a few searches on G to make sure I was still correct on the phrase not being absolutely necessary in the title, and once you get beyond 2 words it was the case with every search I did... Most in the top 10 did have all the words (not necessarily together) for 3 words, but there were at least one or two pages with less than all 3 words... It became much more common to not find all the search terms in the title when I got out to 4 words.

Is the title important?
Sure.

For a 2 word phrase?
Yeah, I'd say the phrase better be in there.

For every phrase you ever want to rank for?
No, it's good if you can fit it in reasonably, but by no means is having the exact phrase you want to rank for required to be in the title.

Do some searches... there are plenty of other factors at work making it possible to rank a page without the exact search phrase in the title of the page ranking.

idbit




msg:4262047
 4:49 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Stacking is an art, it really is. I would never publish a title that read like the example given above for Phrase Stacking, that is incorrect. The example given by aakk9999 is more inline with what I'm referring to.

Yeah, now that I read my last post again, it could be construed that I was down on the idea of stacking. I know you're not insinuating that. But still, I should have been more aware of that and added that note. So sorry 'bout that.

One way of keeping it natural would be the use of periods or commas. Going back to my run-on example:

"Fishing for Trout. Fishing for Snapper."

This will definitely receive credit for "trout fishing" as a phrase. The question is, how much are you penalized for the period, if any? I did some quick checking with some phrases using quotes. Google doesn't appear to even acknowledge the punctuation - periods, commas, and question marks at least - in both titles and page copy. I even tried using a plus sign in front of the quoted phrase. That didn't change anything. Results with punctation breaking up phrases were mixed in with the natural phrases. Though it did appear that the natural phrases received a very slight advantage. But I couldn't verify that. Plus, you never know what effect all of the other factors are having on the results. So you can't make any assumptions.

Things just aren't as simple as they used to be and IMO and from what I've seen there is no single 'make or break' point any more...

Well that would explain alot. I think I enjoyed early success due to titles being so weighty at the time.

Robert Charlton




msg:4262168
 9:50 am on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Playing devil's advocate here... with the advent of phrase-based indexing, does stacking work the way it used to?

It used to be that if you wanted to rank eventually for [red widgets] or for [widgets], a good approach would be to target, say, [big red widgets] in your title. As you built up link equity for all 3 words, you'd also come to rank for some other more competitive combinations. Ie, a "Big Red Widgets" title would help rankings (in order of increasing difficulty) for...

Big Red Widgets
Red Widgets
Widgets

and perhaps...

Big Widgets.

You might also pick up Big Red Gizmos on the page.

Initially, the longer more specific phrases would rank, ultimately leading to rankings on the shorter more general targets. This might depend a lot on the name of the company, the desired targets, and the likely inbound links and phrases on the page, of course... but, for most general situations, the above progression applies.

A question that comes to my mind now, though, is that phrase-based indexing might consider big red widgets to be a unit, and might put targeting for [red widgets] at a disadvantage. (This might be overcome with enough two word links, but then those might not come about naturally.)

I've always liked the inclusion of modifiers... going more longtail in titles... and I think modifiers help, particularly in the early stages of building up traffic for a page... but this thought of the longer phrase being seen as a unit is a twist that keeps lurking.

That said, I'm still leaning towards the longer title.

caribguy




msg:4262328
 4:52 pm on Feb 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Could not agree more with Aristotle's comment early in the thread:
I try to choose titles that will stand out on the SERPs page and attract clicks from searchers.


In spite of warnings not to tweak titles, I did just that for one section of about 50 pages on Jan 31.

Titles for pages in this category used to have the following structure.

*item name* *location* - *generic site description*, *site features*

Sunshine View Anchorage - Apartment Rental Site, Information, Reviews and Whatnots

Compare to aakk9999's
Holiday Apartments Someplace - Apartment Rentals - Someplace Countryname - example.com


I changed the title structure for these pages to:

Sunshine View Anchorage [CALL TO ACTION] - Website Brand Name Apartment Guide

100 pages with similar content, but which don't feature the specific call to action remained as they were.

Google picked up on the change within 24 hours. Since then, I have seen a noticeable uptick in page views, time on page, etc. But more importantly: conversions have more than TRIPLED.

I realize that it's still too early to come to a definite conclusion, but after running this site for three years and making regular tweaks I have never seen any change make such a dramatic effect.

To be continued...

slawski




msg:4262557
 2:37 am on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Robert, an interesting question, and one that I've been considering for a while.

Google's patent, "Index server architecture using tiered and sharded phrase posting lists" (7,693,813) is one of the second generation phrase-based indexing patents, and it brings in the concept of phrasifications, which is the partitioning of a string of words into phrases.

The patent filing provides the following example as a query that includes the terms [new york restaurants]:

"New" "York" "restaurants";
"New York" and "restaurants";
"New" and "York restaurants"; and
"New York restaurants".

The search engine might score each of those partitions with a confidence score trying to match the intent behind the original search and determine that it's most likely that the following two are most likely what's being searched for:

"New York" and "restaurants"
"New York restaurants".

So, a page with a title "New Restaurants York" or "New Restaurants in York" might not rank well for the [new york restaurants] query.

If you change the order of the query terms to [new restaurants york], the top results for that query presently in Google are for restaurants in York.

tedster




msg:4262564
 2:48 am on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

In spite of the warnings not to tweak titles... Google picked up on the change within 24 hours. Since then, I have seen a noticeable uptick in page views

Nothing wrong with a one time upgrade when you notice something really substandard - that's not the same as regular tweaking. I'm happy that it worked out well.

aakk9999




msg:4262584
 3:40 am on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

I changed the title structure for these pages to:
Sunshine View Anchorage [CALL TO ACTION] - Website Brand Name Apartment Guide


With regards to visitors, I think this title and call to action is great if people are either searching for Sunshine View or if they know where Sunshine View is. But if you are searching for apartments in Florida and (for argument's sake) you do not know that Sunshine View is (lets say) in Florida then this gives less clues and in such case a description meta would have to be clear enough to say where Sunshine View is. So, if I was searching for apartments in Florida, I would be more likely to click on a title that tells me that this site is about apartments in Florida rather than just saying Sunshine View - which as far as I would know, may or may not be there. So as always, it depends...

But as the thread is about Google's understanding of title element and impact on title wording on ranking, I think that Robert's example is more in line what pageoneresults meant when mentioned automotive parts ecommerce then the example I have given earlier.

With regards to Slawski's example, I don't think that anybody who wants NY restaurants would type "New restaurants York" in a query. In fact a human would know immediately that this refers to restaurants in York that are new (newly opened perhaps) and if a page with title "New restaurants York" ranked for "New York restaurants" query, I doubt the click through would be high. It is interesting that search engines are able to do this distinction, but whilst they are quite advanced in English language, I have observed that they are not so in phrase based indexing with other languages where titles must often be more blunt (closer to keywords phrase searched) in order to help the page rank.

slawski




msg:4262616
 5:07 am on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Aakk999,

I was providing an example that showed that a search engine can potentially "understand" that distinction, and how it might use phrasification to break words within a query (or possibly even within a title) to identify phrases within a short burst of text, and provide confidence scores to the possible variations that might exist when comparing phrases.

I would expect a human being to understand that second query was likely to show an intent to see restaurants in York. I'm less likely to have the same expectation with search engines. In my [new restaurants york] example, Google did.

caribguy




msg:4262642
 7:18 am on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

@aakk9999 - point taken, in my case visitors often look for a specific 'apartment' by name. Because they've heard about it from friends, read reviews in forums, etc.

When they do not know the place by name, they'll search by neigborhood, price, or some other attribute. Category (e.g. cottages, West village) pages would have a title similar to:

Anchorage Apartments - TYPE: COTTAGES - Rentals, For Sale by Owner, Reviews and Whatnots

Anchorage Apartments - AREA: WEST VILLAGE - Rentals, For Sale by Owner, Reviews and Whatnots

To comment on slawsky's post - it's great that G is able to distinguish New York restaurants from new restaurants York, I wish the same could be said of a term like "Minneapolis / St. Paul restaurants" - where a search for "St. Paul restaurants" will bring up the relevant page, but a search for Minneapolis restaurants will not.

aakk9999




msg:4262738
 12:18 pm on Feb 4, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi Bill,
I was providing an example that showed that a search engine can potentially "understand" that distinction (...) I'm less likely to have the same expectation with search engines

Yes, this is why your example was interesting :)

What I wanted to say is that in the other languages Google lacks much on this front. If you try "Google Translate" feature, it is interesting seeing how they translate various phrases to/from English language. I gather the worse the translation is, the less they have "learned" about phrasing of that language.

This 56 message thread spans 2 pages: < < 56 ( 1 [2]
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google SEO News and Discussion
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved