Web Marketing Tip #4: Use Keywords in Web Page Titles

Page titles are a critical and often overlooked part of web marketing and search engine optimization. If you have ever tried to find a business on the Web by typing the name of the business into Google or another search engine only to be confronted by dozens of pages that refer to that business — with none of them actually providing a link to the business’s website — then you are familiar with missing or weak page titles.

Many web pages have default values like “Untitled Document” or “New Page 1” as their title. The title displays along the top of your web browser. Few people even notice it. But search engines definitely notice page titles. The title is one of the first places a search engine like Google looks to determine what a web page is about.

Web Marketing Tip - Use Keywords In Page Titles

The page title is one of the first things search engines look at to determine what a web page is about. Many web designers forget or don’t know about the importance of page titles, hence the prevelance of (totally useless) default page titles like “Untitled Document” and “New Page 1”.

If a business’s website does not show up on the first page of results when you type the business name (and the city the business is in if it’s a common name) into a search engine, the business name is probably not in the title of the website’s home page.

If you don’t know how to change your website’s page titles, see Web Marketing Tip #5 (coming soon) or comment on this post and I will get to it right away!

If you are using a website building tool on a service like Register.com or Yahoo! Geocities that makes it difficult to change page titles, then it’s time to get a new hosting setup! Your new customers will thank you.

Web Marketing Tip #4 is “Use Keywords in Web Page Titles” because the name of your business is obviously not the only thing people search for when looking for businesses like yours. If yours is a local brick and mortar business, put your address in the page title of your home page, or at least the city, state and Zip code. If you are the business owner and you want people to find your business’s website when they search for your name — put that in the title as well.

For example, note that “Mark McLaren” is in the title of my McBuzz Communications website home page and my McBuzz Communications blogspot blog. If you Google “mark mclaren”, you will find both sites on page one. (Search results vary from week to week. Right now I’m on page one.)

Don’t use the same title for every page in your site. Tailor page titles to the content of each page. One of the great features of WordPress is that it creates page titles for you automatically. Put keywords in the titles of your posts and they appear in your page titles as well.

If you have a local business in a particular neighborhood, use that neighborhood name in your page titles. In many cases, this will do wonders for your position in search results.

Of course, you want to use keywords in lots of other places besides page titles, but — first things first — page titles are a great place to start.

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Optimize PDF Files For Websites and Search Engines

Search engine optimization is a cornerstone of web marketing. Just as strides have been made in PDF accessibility for people with disabilities, improvements in Adobe Acrobat Professional and other PDF programs make it easier to optimize PDF files for websites and search engines.

Search engines read and catalog PDF files just like they do standard web pages. Many businesses create a lot of content as PDF files, and they don’t necessarily have time to convert these into HTML for inclusion on a website. Optimizing PDF files for websites (i.e., search engines) is a good compromise and well worth the trouble.

Using Adobe Acrobat Professional, PDF documents can be optimized with many of the same techniques used to optimize web pages.

For details, check out Eleven Tips For Optimizing PDFs For Search Engines on SearchEngineLand.com.

Not all of these tips make sense to someone with limited or no web marketing / development experience. If you have questions, just give me a shout using the Comments and I will answer them ASAP.

It’s worth noting that some of the most highly ranked web pages you find when you search using keywords like “optimizing pdf files for search engines” are more than two years old and they deal only with optimizing PDF file size.

Where PDFs are concerned, file size has almost nothing to do with search engine optimization. PDF files that have a high number of pages may be less likely to be completely scanned by search engine spiders* because they may have trouble getting through all the pages. So, it’s a good idea to break large PDFs into sections with fewer pages. But reducing PDF file size by compressing images in the file, which is basically what these articles are talking about, is not going to help optimize the PDF for search engines at all.

*A “spider” is web page reading software used by Google and others that “crawls” the World Wide Web, collecting and cataloging information so it can be used to rank a web page’s relevance for a given search.

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Google and John Chow: Rewarding Useful Content, Punishing Link Buying

Google is working hard to deter webmasters and bloggers who use underhanded tactics to improve their site’s rank in Google search results pages. There is an interesting discussion about this on the Pronet Advertising blog: Why We Rank #1 for ‘John Chow’ and Why You Shouldn’t Mess With Google.

Here’s the bottom line, a great quote from Amrit Hallan:

People spend so much time trying to outsmart the search engines. If they spent the same time, and energy, on actually building the quality of their websites or blogs, it’d be a lot more beneficial to them, and to their readers.

This is true because Google is doing a good job determining what “underhanded” means in the context of search engine optimization. John Chow is a successful blogger who has been paying others to create links (“paid links”) from their sites to his blog in order to improve his ranking in Google and other search engines.

Part of the debate hinges on whether Google is right to say that buying links — instead of encouraging other sites to link to a site by creating useful content, fostering relationships with other bloggers & webmasters, etc. — is underhanded or “black hat”.

Google offers a fair amount of explanation for its practices. Read more here: My site’s ranking in Google

And, in particular, check out Why should I report paid links to Google?

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