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Writing Titles That Get Clicks Yet Still Help Rank
Planet13




msg:4345069
 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.

 

gotmetoo




msg:4345126
 6:41 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

All the sties above us have something of the same titles, as do all the adsense ads.


I know this was not the intention, but this is a hilariously funny sentence if you think about "search quality" boloney we've been given lately.

Planet13




msg:4345127
 6:54 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I know this was not the intention, but this is a hilariously funny sentence if you think about "search quality" boloney we've been given lately.


Agreed, but it is what is it, as they say.

Surprisingly, the wikipedia entry has fallen out of the top ten. On the other hand, ebay and amazon (previously on page 2) have crept in there as well.

netmeg




msg:4345133
 7:02 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Leave your title for the important keywords. Make your meta description enticing. Google won't always show it, but heck, they won't always show your titles anymore anyway. I have been known to do some weird and wonderful stuff in meta description tags. And no, I ain't tellin'

HuskyPup




msg:4345142
 7:11 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Make your meta description enticing.


Yep and I also ensure that it is an important piece of information which is also on the page. That's assuming you're writing for public/trade info and not sales patter.

Planet13




msg:4345148
 7:28 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have been known to do some weird and wonderful stuff in meta description tags...


Are you telling me that people actually READ the meta description tags that appear in the SERPs? I'd have never thunk that. I thought they just read the titles...


And no, I ain't tellin'


<sigh>

Does that mean I am going to have to think for myself? Man, I was REALLY hoping to avoid that...

wheel




msg:4345155
 7:53 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

You're writing it sO iT's uP tO yOu To FiGuRe*-/ out what you want to do with it.

I'm not sure how crazy I'd get with doing stuff, possibly Google traps the really out there stuff. But one easy example is, write a meta description that fits on just one line instead of two. that does stand out in the serps, whether it helps clicks, hard to say.

And then just use enticing wording. Not click here, but somehting like "easy online purchasing, lowest prices, friendly knowledgeable tech support'.

Planet13




msg:4345157
 7:58 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

...but somehting like "easy online purchasing, lowest prices, friendly knowledgeable tech support'.


Ahhh... so you are telling me I have to LIE about our site ;)

netmeg




msg:4345164
 8:27 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

"We're better than those nine other guys on the page. Click here to find out why."

I will tell you an anecdote about our Yellow Pages ad. When we were starting out, we had Yellow Pages ads. We got some discounts from the phone company, and as we were doing local web site hosting and development, we actually got leads from the phone book occasionally. But there were a ton of other web development and hosting companies listed. And our company name began with "M" so we didn't even have an alphabetical advantage. Hard to stand out.

One of the things we heard over and over from clients who did make it down to our listing was that they'd called a bunch of the other companies first, but either got voice mail, or nobody picked up, or were left on hold. By the time they got to us, they were actually pretty pissed with the whole process.

So when it came time to redesign the ad, and we had a little extra space, I told them to add "We Answer the Phone!" in big bold letters.

You would not believe how much of a difference that made. Something not even web related, or specific to our services. Jsut the fact that a human being would pick up the phone when you call. We always ask why people first choose us, and they'd tell us it was because we said we'd answer the phone. And we did.

Ten years ago our three largest clients came to us specifically because said we answered the phone - and all three are still with me today. They make up 90% of my client work.

Nowadays, it's not Yellow Page ads, but it's meta descriptions. Same thing applies. Find a weak spot in your competitors, and drive a truck through it.

Planet13




msg:4345189
 9:05 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thank You, Netmeg!

I am glad that I am NOT one of your competitors. I am sure I would have my lunch handed to me on a regular basis...

martinibuster




msg:4345252
 10:43 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

+1 on reserving title tag for keywords. Meta description is the place to incite the click. Also keep in mind that keywords are bolded in the SERPs, including in the meta description. So it's important to not only have some keywords in the meta description but also the incitement to click. Run some queries in Google and Yahoo, not your own queries, but competitive queries in a wide range of niches. Study how the ads incite searchers to click through on their ads.

Bonus homework
Take note of the kinds of words they use, even if it's not your niche but it's still ecommerce, because it may give you an idea of buy-cycle longtail phrase fragments you may want to pepper on your pages, in order to target those longtail shoppers. AdWords copywriting is a good skill to cultivate for a variety of reasons.

Planet13




msg:4345265
 11:30 pm on Jul 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks, martinibuster, for the tips.

AdWords copywriting is a good skill to cultivate for a variety of reasons.


On a side note, my adwords copy writing is terrible, which is kind of funny because in my previous job, for nearly four years ALL I did was write advertising (for management education seminars).

wheel




msg:4345312
 3:10 am on Jul 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I believe in years past I've seen people suggest buying a bunch of magazines to get ideas on how to write snappy headlines - those folks apparently have it down pat.

Planet13




msg:4345840
 8:59 pm on Jul 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Relating to meta description tags, I found this post interesting.

Basically, the author says if you write a longer meta description, say, two sentences, you can craft the first sentence to go with one set of keywords that people use to find your site, and the second sentence to go with another set of keywords that people use to find your site.

So google will display either the first or second sentence depending on which keywords people use to find your site.

[sharkseo.com...]

tangor




msg:4345844
 9:26 pm on Jul 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

It is more fun if the naturally bolded keywords are in a row... That's the magic of doing it right...

Else one gets a description where the keywords are all over the place. Which makes the site appear less precise.

Planet13




msg:4345846
 9:51 pm on Jul 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks tangor.

I just looked and my competitors all have pretty bad meta descriptions - some really bad. So I might be able to do something there.

Planet13




msg:4345848
 10:02 pm on Jul 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

Some Follow Up Questions:

1) Does anyone have experience using a > symbol to start their meta description? Or maybe two of them like > > so as to draw attention to it?

2) Is having a "you focus" description better than a "me focus" description? For instance, is it better to say, "You will find a lovely widget that you will cherish forever..." than it is to say, "Our widgets are more lovely than our competitors..."

3) Can Unicode symbols be displayed in the snippets if I use them in the meta descriptions? For instance, you can make a pointing hand symbol using decimal character 9755 (hex character 261b). Would the SERPS display it as such? And how in the world do I display it? (Do I use an ampersand in front and a semi colon in the back of the number 9755)?

sorry if these are crazy questions. I'm just trying to think outside of the box, as they say...

tangor




msg:4345864
 12:10 am on Jul 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

Don't overwork things...
Is having a "you focus" description better than a "me focus" description? For instance, is it better to say, "You will find a lovely widget that you will cherish forever..." than it is to say,
"Our widgets are more lovely than our competitors..."


(adjective) Widgets, (somehow) made with (whatever) attention. Available at (whatever price point).

K.I.S.S. it (Keep It Simple, Stupid!)

Minimal is better than Snake Oil Oratory... The "Customer" is looking a a specific, make sure YOURS is more specific than the other peddlers...

And that's more help than I've ever given before and won't do it again. All keywords are in play in short form and not only does Google require it, but Bing loves it, too. And Bing does a better job, but that's a different story (and another thing I didn't mean to share)...

DaStarBuG




msg:4345952
 5:37 pm on Jul 31, 2011 (gmt 0)

For how to write headlines you might want to read this: [copyblogger.com...]

One of the best summaries of writing headlines I have ever read.

wheel




msg:4346047
 1:16 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

OK, now I've got to change my headline from {keyword 1 2 3} to {Consumer's Guide to keyword 1 2 3}. Good stuff.

tangor




msg:4346050
 1:34 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Consumer's Guide
Might want to rethink... if US that implies a specific company, and I'm pretty sure you're not them. :)
webastronaut




msg:4346064
 2:46 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is their some new ebook out their on how to game Google? All I can say is have something your visitors will like on your site and the search engines just might like you too...

martinibuster




msg:4346073
 3:35 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

if US that implies a specific company


You mean Consumer Reports?

Regarding the two sets of keyword phrases in a double size meta description, I think that would look a bit unnatural and neglects to focus on the most important function of a meta tag, which is to promote a clickthrough.

Those second and third string phrases are longgail. Longtail, by definition, is rare. So I'm not going to fret over those. One page can have hundreds of variants, more if it's a longer page. At that point you have to let it go and worry about the bigger phrases and how the associated meta descriptions will display for those bigger phrases in the SERPs.

webastronaut




msg:4346082
 4:20 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Pretty sure he meant, "Consumer Guide" for automotive stuff.

tangor




msg:4346083
 4:35 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I'm not going to quibble... just a hint that "keywords" are fraught with danger these days and those which are BRAND related will chew a$$... but what do I know...

Planet13




msg:4346111
 8:03 am on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Regarding the two sets of keyword phrases in a double size meta description, I think that would look a bit unnatural and neglects to focus on the most important function of a meta tag, which is to promote a clickthrough.


I think you are referring to the SharkSeo example I posted.

I think the key was to max out each sentence at (or near to) the limits that google displays. So if google normally displays 156 characters in the description field, then there would be two sentences nearing 156 characters per sentence.

Then say the two most used entrance keywords are "widgets" and "foobars". One sentence would focus on widgets. The other sentence would focus on foobars.

So if the user searched for widgets, in the snippet area, google would display the sentence in the meta description that related to widgets (but NOT any of the sentence that is related to foobars).

If on the other hand, the searcher had used foobars as their keyword, google would select the second sentence (which was about foobars) to display in the rich snippets (and would NOT show any of the first sentence, which is related to widgets).

I guess the important thing is that each sentence has to be near the max number of characters allowed. Also, we have to keep in mind that google might show ANYTHING in the title or snippets, so who knows what will appear?

alika




msg:4346235
 4:04 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've raised a similar question about the best way to write title tags in a previous post [webmasterworld.com...]

My question was, which is better (examples just illustration):

CURRENT TITLE TAG : 10 Myths About Global Warming

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

The current approach was more editorial, while at the same time using keywords. The second version was suggested to us by an SEO company we hired.

We changed a few of our title tags a week ago for a handful of papers to the KEYWORD | KEYWORD | KEYWORD approach recommended by the SEO.

The 1-week stats for some of these pages and the results have been mixed, at best. We've seen some pages see a 10% decline, while some increased by 10%. But we did not see something like a 100% increase.

I personally preferred the editorial way of doing titles, and abhor the KEYWORD | KEYWORD | KEYWORD preferred by the SEO (though I see where they're coming from). I like to be able to make it easy for our users to understand what our articles are about, instead of merely giving them catch-all keywords that doesn't really tell you what the paper is about

Planet13




msg:4346249
 4:34 pm on Aug 1, 2011 (gmt 0)

Before you may the title change, what keywords were people using that actually found that page in google? (you can look that up with google analytics.)

I think that part of your dilemma is trying to figure out what you are trying to rank for.

If you are trying to rank for the words "global warming" (I know this is just an example), then the second example (provided by your SEO company), SHOULD be better.

But you have to look at how much competition there is for that keyword. If there is a LOT, then there is probably no way that you are going to rank for it no matter which title you use. (You will have to do a LOT more than just have an SEO specific title.)

However, if there are a lot of people searching specifically for myths about global warming, and you think you can rank well for it, then 10 Myths About Global Warming is probably a better title.

Let me give you an example: I have a page with the title Widgets Information and Resources. It gets lots of traffic.

But I just realized (after going through google analytics), that very few people who find the page through the keywords "widgets information" or "widgets resources."

Instead, most of the people who find it in google find in when searching for "widgets 101"

So I have changed the title to "Widgets 101: Basic Information About Widgets"

We will see how it goes since I just made it a day or two ago. But my decision was based on the fact that I was ranking nowhere for the keywords "Widgets information" and nowhere for "widgets resources," so I think that if people are already finding my site through "widgets 101" then the title and meta description of the page should reflect that.

Hope this helps.

graeme_p




msg:4346599
 12:03 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I was thinking of asking this.

I have experimented with changing meta descriptions on selected pages of my encyclopaedia type site, and it made no difference. I think most people scan the titles and rarely read the meta descriptions.

A lot of my competitors do have something in the titles like "explained" or "defined", so I have been wondering about what I should try there.

alika




msg:4346630
 12:29 pm on Aug 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think that part of your dilemma is trying to figure out what you are trying to rank for.


We do know what we are ranking for. What we are trying to see is whether we can increase the traffic by going after keywords that have higher demand.

This is for a PR 8 site, so it has the guns to go after the higher in-demand keywords. It is an experiment, so I can report again how we do in a week or so to have a longer time line.

This 46 message thread spans 2 pages: 46 ( [1] 2 > >
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