DIY SEO: Power of Page Titles for Small Business Websites
Posted on 20.10.2009
OK, I’ve been MIA for a week or so but am back at it with another little SEO blog for small businesses. I’ve read numerous blogs and spoken to people in the SEO arena and there is a general consensus that certain elements of a website are weighted more heavily by search engines than others. Now, I will always say that the best SEO is just generating new and unique content on a frequent basis. But once, you’ve gotten into that habit, you need to start looking at some of the finer details. Fortunately, most content management systems these days are setup to allow you to add all kinds of SEO friendly elements to your web pages and I’ll end this post (and future articles) with a little “How to” for Joomla.
What are page titles and why are they important to website SEO?
Page titles are the title seen at the very top in the browser window. If you’re using Firefox or Internet Explorer, your title will be followed by ” – Mozilla Firefox” or ” – Windows Internet Explorer”. Have a look at the top of the main blog page and you will see that the page title is “Yardstick Services | Small Business Website and Joomla Blog”. This is an important element because it is one of the first things that search engines read to try an index your site for various keywords. It is also important because the page title shows up as the link that people read and hopefully click in search engine results page.
What should I put in the page titles of my small business website?
You may or may not want to put your company name in your page title depending on what you think people are searching for to find you. So you should include the company name plus something about your products and services in the page title. You also want to make sure that the page title has keywords that are also found in the pages of your site because search engines will check for relevancy. If you serve a local market, you may want to include a city name or region in the page title like Vancouver or Lower Mainland. Keep it short and snappy. Page titles that are longer that 70 characters will get cut off by Google in the search engine page results. And put the most important keywords at the front of your title because, rumour has it, the first few words are given more emphasis than the last.
How do I create page titles for my small business website?
Simply by creating a page title you are putting yourself one step ahead of many of your online competitors. Many sites have a default page title which is just the company name, menu name or copy of the main article title. Even worse, many websites do not even have page titles at all. To create your page titles in Joomla, you need to use the system parameters within the menu settings. Log into the Joomla back-end and click on Menus in the top drop-down menu. Then click on one of your menus so you can see all of the individual menus items. Now click on an individual menu item and on the right side click “Parameters (System)”. Here you will see a “Page Title” field. It is probably blank. So this is your chance to type in a title that you think matches the keywords in your page as well as what people are typing into search engines. Before you click Save, make sure the setting “Show Page Title” is set to “No”. This will keep it from showing up on the actual page and just in the browser window bar.
Is that all I need to do for my page titles?
Nope. SEO is not one time fix and I’m going to get into a number of other techniques in the coming weeks. At the very least, you need to commit to at least a monthly review of your results and make changes to the content in your site that is not getting the traction that you need. There are numerous tools out there but you should start with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools as well as some Firefox plugins like SEOBook’s SEO Toolbar and Rank Checker.
As usual, if you have any question you can email us at [email protected] or just add a comment below and we’ll respond.
so what is the next step
Hi antel, I’m writing a whole series of blog posts called DIY SEO which detail some of the steps small business people can take to improve their sites. The concepts are centered around Joomla and its many extensions but they can be applied to other sites as well. I would recommend reading this post next because canonicalization is a very common issue with small business Joomla websites – https://www.yardstickservices.com/blog/canonical-urls-htaccess-and-joomla/
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