A title tag (or meta title) is an important Local SEO step that many businesses leave undone.
But crafting well-written titles are essential for effective SEO and brand recognition.
What the heck are title tags?
If you don’t know, they’re the clickable headline you see in a search result.
In the tab of your web browser.
And they even appear in social networks.
What’s so important about a little ol’ title tag?
Glad you asked.
Title tags are a ranking factor. And while they don’t carry the authority they used to, they’re still a fundamental element of sound SEO.
Here are some other reasons…
1. First impressions count
They’re often the first glance someone has of your business.
2. Google sees you
A quality title tag helps search engines understand the content of your page.
3. Click-throughs matter
A well-written title tag will entice people to click on that sweet link to your page.
How do you write good title tags for a local business?
Word count is important
Have you ever seen a meta tag like this?
This is because Google pulled copy directly from the page and added an ellipsis (…) Or someone wrote a title that was too long.
Either way you’ll see cut off copy and here’s why.
Google measures titles by pixel width (approximately 600 pixels) which translates to roughly 70 characters long. So, the general rule is to keep it under 70 characters.
Web platforms make this easy. If you’re using WordPress, the Yoast plug-in will tell you if your titles are too long.
And platforms like SquareSpace and Wix have easy-to-find SEO site descriptions where you can add them.
Use keywords first
Say you’re a mobile pet groomer in Fort Collins, CO. Your meta title might read:
Mobile Pet Grooming Service – Fort Collins, CO
Make your titles unique for each page
Every page on your site should have a unique title. This is because you want to help search engines and users to understand the content (not confuse them).
A good rule to follow is
Primary keyword / Product / Service | Business Name | City, State (But this is certainly not set in stone.)
Avoid using too many keywords
For an overly ambitious Pet Groomer that might translate to a home page title like:
Mobile Pet Groomer, Best Pet Grooming, Dog Groomer, Dog Washing | Fort Collins, CO
This is a bad user experience and frankly not a good strategy if you want to make the Google Gods happy.
What about local?
A good rule to follow is this:
Primary keyword / Product / Service | Business Name | City, State
e.g. Mobile Pet Grooming Service | Shirley’s Grooming | Fort Collins, CO
Interior pages might read:
Mobile Dog Grooming Service | Shirley’s Grooming | Fort Collins, CO
Mobile Cat Groomers | Shirley’s Grooming | Fort Collins, CO
Now, this isn’t an exact science, as you could just as easily type in…
Fort Collins Mobile Pet Grooming Service | Shirley’s Grooming
I would still recommend using the first example (keywords first) as it’s how potential customers usually search.
Write for people first (and get more clicks)
Spot on title tags are key to quality SEO but goal #1 is to get visitors to click that link.
A title tag might be the first time someone views your business, so make it count.
Make sure your titles are descriptive, meaning each page title should be specific to its page. As the wonks at Google state: “Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. It’s often the primary piece of information used to decide which result to click on, so it’s important to use high-quality titles on your web pages.”
Sometimes Google will rewrite a title tag, but this is usually the result of “sites who’s titles really suck.” << These are not my words but the words of Gary Illyes at Google. 🤣 😉
The best way to avoid this is to write a clear, concise, description of the page. (And again, make sure each page has a unique title.)
Get started rewriting those title tags.
The easiest way to get started, and to make sure you’re not writing duplicates is to open a Google, Excel, or another spreadsheet, list all your pages and start writing out the titles.
When done, hop over to your site and pop ’em in. If you’re on WordPress, use the Yoast plug-in. If you’re on Squarespace or Wix, etc. go to the SEO section to add them.
Have fun improving your SEO.
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