For the past few weeks, we’ve been in a series covering the 2 problems that prevent websites from producing significant online sales.  Last week we talked briefly about keyword research essentials and this week we’re going to talk about the first steps to take, once you have selected your keyword phrases.

Titles.  While they may seem insignificant, they’re powerful little guys and play a big role in SEO.  The title of the page is found at the very top of your browser window.  I’m talking about the bar at the very top, above your address bar, up by the red “x” where you can close out window.  Can you picture that?  All too often people use something like “Welcome to abc.com” as their title tag.  Unfortunately, the title is one of the top factors that Google looks at on your site to determine what it’s about.  If you want to rank well for the word “welcome” then by all means, use that word in your title.  Otherwise, it would make more sense to use one of the keyword phrases that you selected last week in your keyword research phrase.  A much better title would be something like “Fishing Tackle in Bozeman, Montana.”  That’s going to help people searching for that phrase find your site.  Otherwise, only people who know your website address will find your site.  And those people can already find it.

The title is much more important than just the line at the top of the browser.  It’s truly one of the factors that Google places the most weight upon when deciding what your site is all about.  Plus, it gets better.  The title tag is displayed in Google’s search results.  When you look at the results page, you’ll see each listing has a blue line of text, 2 black lines of text and the green website address.  The blue line of text is pulled from your title.  You essentially have the ability to write the headline for your 4-line advertisement on Google.  Write a compelling headline and you stand a much better chance of getting the click when your site appears in the list.  In fact, you might be the second-ranked site but actually get the viewer to click through to your site if you have a more compelling headline or title.

Think back to the example of the title that read “Welcome to abc.com.”  Now imagine, would you click on a listing on Google that said that?  Or would you be more inclined to click on something that looks like what you’re searching for, like “Fishing Tackle in Bozeman, Montana.”

One more note related to the titles and Google’s search results.  Have you ever noticed how some of the words on the Google search results page are bolded?  They bold the words that match words used in your search.  So if you searched for “Fly Fishing Gear in Bozeman” and the title read “Fishing Tackle in Bozeman, Montana” Google would bold “Fishing” and “Bozeman” because both of those words we found in the title and in your search.  When a word is bolded, it draws even more attention to it so you stand an even better chance of getting the click when you have bolded words.  As you can imagine, a poorly-written title that welcomes you to the site will likely never get any bolded words because who would search for something like “Welcome?”

So there you have it.  The title tag is a simple little element within your site but don’t overlook it.  While it may be small, it’s an important part that can not only determine how well you rank, it can also seriously influence how many clicks your listing gets.

Next week, we’re going to talk a little about the description tag and its importance.  Until next week.

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