One of the best (and easiest) things you can do to improve your site’s rankings in SERPs (that’s Search Engine Result Pages, sometimes Placement) is to craft more SEO-worthy titles for your blog posts, articles, and pages.
Headline vs. Title
First, let’s clear up some terminology:
- Title, in this context, means the text that appears at the top of the browser window for a particular page once it’s loaded. For instance, on this page the title is “Search engine results page — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.”
- Headline is the text that appears above the content of the post or page. Example: on this page, the headline is “The Definitive Guide to Higher Rankings for Your Blog.”
When you craft your post, most blogging platforms will let you change the title tag. That’s the HTML code that starts
<title>. The title tag text is one important part of your on-page SEO, and there are some things you can do with the title tags to improve your SERP results.
Title Tag Tips for Better SEO
WordPress defaults to this structure in your title tags:
Blog Name >> Blog Archive >> Post Headline
What you really want is this:
Post Headline >> Blog Name >> Blog Archive
The reason? Apparently Google’s crawly-bots are like most really hungry critters: they grab more of what’s closer (in this case, what’s first), then nosh on what’s left in smaller bites. (OK, was that gross? It seemed gross to me…)
Putting the post title (which should have those optimized keywords in it) first means that the crawly-bots (OK, I know they’re called spiders but I have this thing about spiders) eat those keywords first, and thus put a little more emphasis on them. If your blog name came first, the bots would put more emphasis on that. Keywords = good. Yep, it’s just about that simple. (No, not really.)
Remember that Google and most other search engines have limited appetites and will only gobble up the first 60 or so characters. So, without making it look all overstuffed and awkward and just plain ugly, try to put the keywords up front in your title.
Caveat Blogger: one authority, Aaron Wall, advises putting a single modifier up front before the keyword. Apparently, this helps. I dunno. I’d listen to Aaron ’cause he’s really smart about this stuff, but keep in mind SEO is like … I’m trying to think of a good analogy here, and coming up short. It’s one of those things where the more marks you can hit, the better your odds are, but you can also do really well without hitting every single little mark. Not unlike sex in that regard, I guess…