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The perfect post-Panda title
realmaverick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 3:21 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Good evening webmasters!

I've been doing some thinking about the importance of title tags post Panda.

It would seem the title tag is more important than ever. If nothing else, a great title tag will increase CTR, which in turn, I believe will lead to higher rankings.

A month ago, I removed "Instant Download" from all of my titles and since, my CTR has dropped 20-40% in general. The reason I had this appended to all of my titles, is that I knew it would increase CTR.

The reason I removed it, was because it was a duplicate keyword, in every title.

I'm considering adding it back, but changing titles, always concerns me. Plus I'm still a little torn.

Lately, I've also noticed that Google is appending the title with my brand name. I don't currently include my brand name in my title. It's evidently not had a positive impact on CTR.

In your experience, and more importantly, post Panda, is changing titles back, likely to cause me an issue? Is the duplicate phrase in all of the titles likely to cause an issue?

Thanks a lot :)

 

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 3:32 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lately, I've also noticed that Google is appending the title with my brand name.

Is that even for generic searches? Or more for searches that might be considered "navigational" - the "go" searches, in the words of the leaked quality raters document.

It's interesting to put your thoughts up against Sgt_Kickaxe in this thread [webmasterworld.com]:
Google seems to have toned down how well an exact match title performs in search


My feeling is that you can change titles more comfortably these days, but too much title tweaking still is risky because it looks like you're trying to reverse-engineer the algo rather than communicate to potential visitors. And Google doesn't like that ;(

realmaverick

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 4:17 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is that even for generic searches? Or more for searches that might be considered "navigational" - the "go" searches, in the words of the leaked quality raters document.


Yes, though not for pages, that I have added "- secondary keywords". But on those that I haven't, it's appending "- Brandname" to the title.

It's doing it for one or two of the other competitors results but the vast majority aren't effected.

My feeling is that you can change titles more comfortably these days, but too much title tweaking still is risky because it looks like you're trying to reverse-engineer the algo rather than communicate to potential visitors. And Google doesn't like that ;(


That's my biggest concern. I always feel like I'm playing with fire when I touch my titles.

Google seems to have toned down how well an exact match title performs in search


I think he's likely right. I'm more concerned with the repetitiveness of the "Instant Download". Gotta love Google, always the cause of dilemmas :D

tcsoftware



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 5:49 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

It has also been my experience that title tags and meta descriptions have been heavily toned down. I'd even go as far as to say that they are worthless as a ranking factor at the moment - which in my opinion is a good thing.

I have noticed Google altering the titles for some pages for a number of months now. While it doesn't appear to affect rankings (or at least not a lot) Google only seems to do it when it decides the title is not relevant to the query.

MrSavage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 6:35 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

The irony is that removing value, importance, etc on title tags and descriptions is the equivalent of taking a filing cabinet and dumping it on the floor. Maybe however this is why the results are making no sense in a lot of regards.

With this said, I get the feeling that non descriptive and keyword emphasized titles are now bad news. Perhaps right now, rankings are about deSEO'ing our websites. I appreciate the comments on title tags because right now that's what I'm looking at changing.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 6:49 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Title tags are far far from "worthless". For google to discredit title tags would be very silly of them. Title tags are probably the most important on site factor webmasters have. I will say that google does not like people trying to game rankings with title tags which is actually pretty silly.

I do agree, some webmasters do go a little overboard with the page titles but very rarely do you see someone with a page title that does not match their content. Whether their content is any good or not is a different story, if someone has a website about red widgets, it would not make sense for them to put green widgets in their title tag. A site with green widgets in the page title should rank somewhere for green widgets. How high up would depend on their reputation and quality of content. Without a title tag, google would have trouble figuring out what a page was about. These days a page title of "Dependable Green Widgets is what we offer" will probably rank higher for "green widgets" than a site thats page title is "Green Widgets" because it is not very descriptive of what exactly it has and being that green widgets gets many hits, google sees this simply as a ploy to game their algo so they will need to make up for this falacy by having way better content than the Dependable widgets site and much better backlinks, reputation age etc.

There is a line I have used over the last 2-3 years in describing google SEO and that is "De-optimization is the new SEO". I spent a good six months in 2009 running tests and google actually favored my sites that I deoptimized (putting the main keywords more torwards the middle/end of the title tag rather in the beginning, scaling back on the times that phrase was used etc). The craziest thing that happened was I decided to remove the title/h1 tags completely from a site that had an extreme paid backlink profile and was heavily penalized, 3 weeks later was resurrected and getting 4-6k uniques a day within the next 2 months that followed. After that happened I kept telling people to deoptimize and I was discredited in a lot of circles and nobody would take me serious. I learned after that to keep my mouth shut about some of my findings, especially the ones that I worked hard on.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 7:10 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Same experience here, brinked. The way I've explained it is that Google used to be hard of hearing so you needed to yell your relevance at the top of your lungs to really get heard. Now their hearing is better and they don't like yelling any more.

Zivush



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 7:59 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Now their hearing is better and they don't like yelling any more.

Liked it :-) I have the same experience - Search Engines are against keyword stuffing in Title.
It is still commonly used in several languages.

deadsea

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 11:36 am on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you want to rank for "red widgets", "blue widgets", and "green widgets" what would your title tags(s) be?

Before panda I would have said create three pages with the following titles:
"Red Widgets - Brand"
"Blue Widgets - Brand"
"Green Widgets - Brand"

Post-panda it sounds like the overlapping content of those three pages would likely be a problem. It seems there are several options for a single page title, but I don't have any current experience that would help me decide which to choose:
"Widgets in Red, Blue, and Green - Brand"
"Red Blue and Green Widgets - Brand"
"Red Widgets, Blue Widgets, and Green Widgets - Brand"
"Purchase Widgets at Brand" (use red blue and green only in copy)

MrSavage

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 4:06 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the posts here. It gives me hope and it gives me something productive to do in hopes of bailing out some water on my sinking ship. Much appreciated insights.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 7:10 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

also dead sea, something I learned is that google also does not want you to corner the market for all the similar terms. So they are looking at it in terms of "are you creating inner pages with variations of your keyword just to rank for every popular similar phrase, or is your site genuinely useful for all of these variations? I think googles algo then becomes more strict in that case.

crobb305

WebmasterWorld Senior Member crobb305 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 8:09 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

I've noticed a lot of top-ranking pages/sites have their brand name in the title tag, not because G appends it there, but because the webmaster placed it there. This could be a brand-quality signal. I've used it with success.

alika

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 8:25 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lately, I've also noticed that Google is appending the title with my brand name.


Google has been doing it on my site. In our case, the brand name is not in the title tag, but it is on the navigation bar (e.g. Welcome to [BRAND NAME]).

Google figures out what is the brand name (which is not the exact match of our domain) and adds it in the title tags.

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 10:19 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

brand name in the title and backlinks is very natural seo. You do not rank higher for being a big brand, big brands rank high because they have natural backlinks/page titles and not keyphrases all over the place which can appear un natural. Big brands have so many natural backlinks that they can get away with running a paid link buying campaign because they have all the natural backlinks/on site factors to balance out that paid portion of their tactics. It is what makes brands who already get exposure that much more powerful.

I worked for one of the worlds largest online art websites full time for a year when I was just starting to get heavily involved with SEO (I was hired as a programmer). They let me do some SEO for them and it was so easy to gain top rankings for some extremely high traffic keyphrases. Of course the owner did not know what SEO was so I never really did get any credit. But they do call me all the time now so they know I did something especially now since SEO is more known than it was back then.

bumpski

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 11:29 pm on Oct 29, 2011 (gmt 0)

A month ago, I removed "Instant Download" from all of my titles and since
With this said, I get the feeling that non descriptive and keyword emphasized titles are now bad news.

For years, to track scrapers, I've tacked a unique identical string to the end of all of the titles of one of my sites. A string like BLMHQKI, something truly unique. Searching on this string and excluding my site (-site:www.mysite.com BLMHQKI) I have the huge list of scrapers out there, HUGE!

To date this technique appears to not have affected this sites ranking (perhaps it helped!). Panda itself did not effect the site, in fact maybe slightly better traffic. But after Oct 13th (Panda tweak, 66% decline in traffic), and of course reading this string I begin to wonder. This string in the title is duplicate, misspelled text (of some sort) in all titles; from Google's perspective. And it's unique text appearing in the content, and even titles, of thousands of other sites.

So should I remove "BLMHQKI" from all my titles?

It'll be a lot tougher to find all the scrapers after that. (Not that I ever did anything about it.)

indyank

WebmasterWorld Senior Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 3:02 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

bumpski, why don't you use a brand name (eg. domain name) instead of "BLMHQKI"?

brinked

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 4380953 posted 4:41 am on Oct 30, 2011 (gmt 0)

indyank, my guess is because then it would be too obvious and the scraper would just remove it. BLMHQKI can be anything and an average scraper wont think twice about it.

If you ask me, this unique string did not have anything to do with your drop in traffic.

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