Why Your Page Titles Deserve More Respect

Page titles are headlines for search. If you want searchers to land on your sales page and convert, you have to make your page titles click-worthy.


Respect your page titles

If you know anything about copywriting it’s that headlines are by far the most important element of a sales page.

It’s been proven time and again that a poorly written headline, whether it’s on a landing page or a magazine ad, will result in less sales.

Simply put -- if your headline doesn’t reach out and grab your audience, they won't read the rest of your copy.

The headline is a make-or-break moment. But it's typically not the first.

Your prospect will likely land on your sales page through other forms of promotion — display ads, email, PPC, social, search.

Each has its own version of a headline. For search, it's called the page title.

Headlines and page titles essentially serve the same function — to get the prospect’s attention. If anything the page title has an even harder job because it has to compete with all the other page titles in the search results. Whereas the headline on a sales page is in the spotlight.

So here we are again, another make-or-break moment. And yet, how often do you see sloppy, over-optimized page titles in search results? It’s an epidemic.

Granted, the people who wrote these page titles are just trying to appease Google. Because, if they’re not on the first page of search results, it won’t matter how click-worthy their page title is.

But that doesn’t mean your page titles have to suck.

If you’re relying completely on exact match keywords in your page titles to rank, then you need to rethink your SEO strategy. Google is way smarter than that.

Here’s proof. I Googled “the movie about the guy with the volleyball friend”. Google knows what I’m talking about even though none of the keywords are in the page title.

Not convinced? Here’s another example straight from the Avelient blog. I Googled “insurance seo”. We have the #1 organic search result and yet no exact match keyword.

Now, I’m not saying you should just throw out everything you know about writing optimized page titles. Remember search is a medium. What prospects need and want out of page title is different from what they need and want out of a headline.

When you're in search mode, you're making snap judgements about relevancy. Often it pays to have the exact match keyword at the start of the title because it's the only part you see when scanning the results.

But what I’m saying is, don’t sacrifice a great page title for a crappy page title because the crappy one has the exact match keyword in it.

Modern SEO is a balancing act.

There’s almost always a way to write a keyword-targeted page title that’s also click-worthy. It just takes creativity and time.

In copywriter John Caples' renowned book Tested Advertising Methods, he recommends writing a slew of headlines before settling on one to use for an ad. “…the copywriter who writes a dozen headlines has a better chance of writing a good one than the copywriter who writes only one headline.”

Now replace “headline” with “page title.” Does a dozen page title variations sound excessive?

Maybe.

But ask yourself, how important is search traffic to your marketing campaign? If it is critical, then it may be worth giving your page titles a little more of your time.

Written by Jackson Armstrong on November 24th, 2014

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