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Action plan: how to change the titles of your web pages to get more visitors

The titles that you use for your web pages are very important. They are an important factor for the ranking algorithms of search engines and they are the first thing that web surfers see when they find your website in the search results.

Depending on which kind of traffic you want to attract, you should use different title formats on your web pages:

1. News titles (not so good for SEO)

This kind of title is often used by bloggers and news websites. Here are some examples:

Beat the 'overqualified' tag
Parking fees spark meter madness
Nominate your hero
Karl Malden died
The problem with these titles is that they are not good for search engine optimization. These titles usually don't contain relevant keywords and they don't look very attractive in the search results.

There won't be many people who will type "Parking fees spark meter madness" in Google's search box so it's not likely that the page will get many visitors through search engines.

2. Shopping titles (good for SEO)

Shopping titles usually contain a product name that is used by web surfers. If they also contain a call to action, you can get targeted visitors with these titles. Here are some examples:

ASUS Eee PC 1000HE 10-Inch Black Netbook - 9.5 Hour Battery Life
ASUS Eee PC 1000 - Buy it now for only $249.95
Buy an ASUS Eee PC 1000 with extended guarantee
Free shipping: ASUS Eee PC 1000 - $249.95
The first shopping title is rather descriptive because it only lists the features. The other titles contain a call to action (buy now), prices and additional benefits (free shipping).

People who want to buy an ASUS Eee PC probably will click on the title with the call to action while people who are looking for product information might choose the first title.

3. Information seeker titles (good for SEO)

Information seeker titles won't attract buyers but people who are looking for information about a special topic. Here are some examples:

How to lose weight as fast as possible
How to repair a broken chair
12 mistakes most parents make when choosing a school
How to find the perfect golf club
5 ways to find the perfect partner
These web page titles are good because they will attract visitors over a long time period. People are always looking for "how to" articles and solutions to their problems and you will get long term, constant traffic with these pages.

Action plan: how to change your current web page titles

Good web page titles can make a huge difference in the number of visitors that your website gets. For that reason, you should check the titles of all web pages of your website now:

Make sure that the titles of your web pages are descriptive. It should be clear what to expect on the pages.
If possible, add a call to action and benefits in your web page title.
Put the most important information at the beginning of the title. Search engines might shorten the title in the search result pages and people might not see the complete text.
If you're not a major brand name, avoid your company name in your web page titles.
Do not use the same title for all of your web pages. This is a mistake that many beginners make.

People judge books by their covers and search results by web page titles. If you want to get as many website visitors as possible, you should develop engaging titles for all pages of your site.

In addition to the title of your web pages, many other elements influence the position of your pages in Google's search results. You can get a full analysis of all elements of your web pages here.

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July 2009 search engine articles