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Writing Titles That Get Clicks Yet Still Help Rank

 4:44 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Hi there, Everyone:

So we got our main keywords up to #8 - #9 in the SERPs.

However, we still aren't getting that many clicks. All the sties above us have something of the same titles, as do all the adsense ads.

So, how do you write titles that are eye-catching yet won't mess up your google rankings? (Since the page title is crucial to rankings, I don't know how creative I can get without hurting rankings.)

any suggestions on how you improved click-through rates without damaging your rankings?

Thanks in advance.



 1:26 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

One thing to be mindful of is Titles and Meta Descriptions will display only so much in the serps. There has been debate as to how much is actually indexed that can be searched on.

Google displays the longest, Bing a bit shorter and Yahoo shorter yet. The second tier SE's (they get their data from someone else) often truncate a bit furthur.

The 'overflow' (text beyond the cut off point) is elipse'd away, not seen bolded by the searcher. Try to avoid fluff '>' in your title if you can. This will prevent long tail keywords from being elipsed. Some say shorter is better - I've seen this do well too.


 2:07 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

CURRENT TITLE TAG : 10 Myths About Global Warming

SEO SUGGESTED REVISION: Global Warming | Climate Change | Environmental Regulations

MINE: Global Warming: 10 Myths About Climate Change

Environmental Regulations would go in the meta and in a H tag. But that is just me.


 2:41 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I appreciate the lessons here: thanks, all. (I've had some small luck with page info followed by site info, but I'm sure all the hints here will lead to better practice.)

My question is: how does one add focus on a two-word phrase, forcing linkage of the two words? I've seen in webmaster tools, high ranking for the first word (in my case, the first word of a two-word city name), but little luck with the second.


 4:10 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

PrePanda <title> advice: You've got 69 characters including spaces. Everything after that is ... User search term phrases found in the <title> and supported by page content significantly influence search engine perception of relevance. MetaDescriptions are limited to 150 characters and everything after 150 is ... Search engines do not weight this as heavily for relevance although it did count for something. Users do rely on the metaDescription to decide if they are going to click through to the page.

Post-Panda update: It is all about user experience. If they do not like what they see in the result, they won't click through. If they don't click through, you won't be in that position for very long.


 4:44 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

to confirm that best practice would be to avoid the domain name in the title tag? Or, does google see this on every page of your site and filter out any watering down of the keywords in the title? Would seem best to put domain name in the description not title correct?


 6:15 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see short titles just with the keyword coming up higher and higher in SERPs especially if that keyword is also in url. These short titles also stick out and hence might help get more clicks..


 6:59 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

...to confirm that best practice would be to avoid the domain name in the title tag?

I see a few sites that do this and they don't seem to be affected negatively by it at all.

And their store name is NOT laden with keywords, so that doesn't seem to be a factor.


 7:30 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Depends on the type of site.

For a product review site I tend to go with:
Don't Buy {Keyword1} Until you read this 1 Secret on {relatedkeyword2}

for ecommerce, something like:
Buy {keyword1} on sale and with guaranteed delivery - We offer a large selection of quality {relatedkeyword2} and friendly service!

I like to:
1- Keep it a natural sentence with 1 break at the most
2- Include buying keywords if an eCommerce site (buy, discount, guarantee, delivery, etc)
3- If product review (aff site), make sure they want to click my title before buying

I never like keyword list titles, they look spammy. Whether they work for a while on one site or another is irrelevant for me. It COULD be problematic, and there is no reason not to use natural language in the title. I also never worry about length. Google will use the part of my title that includes the keywords. Although I do try to keep 'em short just because that is the 'natural' thing to do.

In fact, I've had success with review sites that have titles like:

Is {keyword1} a Scam? Find out Before it is too late!


 10:49 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I never put the domain name in the title - no point to it. Probably wouldn't ever put it in the meta description either.

IF you have the right to use a TM or R, by all means use that in the title. Instant authority, I have found.

I've used the "Official Site" phrase at times as well.


 12:13 am on Aug 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

Panda was a big game-changer because it shifts the focus from links and keywords to "user experience." Links and keywords are easy to manipulate. Thought-processing bipeds, not so much and trying to do so is like herding kittens. The best advice I give and follow is to keep in mind that keywords, <titles> metaDescriptions are not all effectual unless they are supported by the visible (to the customer and search spider) on the page. The purpose of the <title> and metaDescription is to help the searcher make a decision on whether to click through to the result. In the Post-Panda world, this click-through is a prime relevance driver as is whether or not they do anything or even stay on the page (bounce rate). These two criteria are combined with "conversion" for the trifecta now at the forefront of relevance ranking.

Panda has been updated frequently since launch in late Winter 2011 and will continue to be tuned for effectiveness. It is good to have the search phrase (keywords) in your <title> if they are on the page. Searchers are scanning the results and the bold search term catches their eye as does the bold font in the metaDescription.


 12:29 am on Aug 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

to confirm that best practice would be to avoid the domain name in the title tag?

Post Panda 1: I modified some page titles to back off on similar KWs in page titles.

Google looked at the new titles,, changed the first part back to the main phrase in the old title, AND added my domain name to the end of their version of my title.

No idea why.

My original titles DID NOT contain my domain name.


 10:42 am on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

The big flaw in all of this of course is that your competitors can see your titles and descriptions, and COPY them. I see this quite a lot in the more competitive industries.


 12:33 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Heh, I have remedies for that too. My competitors hate me.


 2:30 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am looking at the competitors meta descriptions and trying to come up with something better, as netmeg suggets.

We all know what Wikipedia titles look like, and the other big competitor has standard wording after the site title. IS my approach of just having the page title better of worse. i.e.

I do:

red widgets

Wikipedia does:

red widgets - WIkipedia, the free encycopedia

the big player does:

red widgets definition


red widgets introduction


 3:30 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Titles and descriptions are one of many, rumored to be over 200, relevance imputs. Panda has promoted the user experience ones over all others (or so it seems). Note that the <title> and metaDescription has to map to the visible content on the page. If they do not, the search engine does not count them at all.


 4:33 pm on Aug 5, 2011 (gmt 0)

Heh, I have remedies for that too. My competitors hate me.

netmeg, you are such a tease!

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