First Steps in SEO – Creating Optimized Page Titles

Young plants growing businessBecoming an expert in SEO – search engine optimisation – can be a pretty daunting task for the typical coach / consultant / alternative therapist trying to grow a world-class business out of the spare bedroom while wearing a range of other hats.  And not just the other business hats, writer, accountant, social media expert, but also the other stuff, mum, carer, employee and more.

So we are going to eat the SEO beast in dainty mouthfuls that will soon add weight to your business website.  Today, just the fundamental first step in SEO, your page titles.

Your page title shows up in various places, not just right at the top of your browser window:

Page title shown on Firefox

But also in the search engines:

Page title showing in Google

Is your page title the most important part of your page if you want to be found in the search engines?  You would be forgiven for thinking so but of course, your content is what really counts.  But as your page title is what shows up first in the search engines let’s stay with the topic in hand.

What can you say in 60 characters?

Note that different browsers – Firefox, Chrome, IE etc – may each display your page title differently but 60 characters is the safe number for you to keep in mind because generally, Google will display only the first 60 characters of your page title.  If you look at the screenshot just above, you may notice the three dots at the end of my title, indicating there is more in my page title that Google isn’t showing.  Fortunately, the 60 characters that are displaying do make sense!

What does this mean for you?

Check and see what title is displaying at the top of each of your web pages.  When that web page is found in the search engines that is what your fellow googlers will see.  Is it just your website domain name that’s showing?  Like  Or does it just say “Home page”?  If so, you will want to change these pronto so your page title is meaningful, attractive and clicky.  And yes that also means adding 1 or 2 keyword phrases to your title.

So what do you need to do?

  • Check that you have an SEO plugin installed on your WordPress site and if you don’t, install it now.  There are several to choose from but All-in-One SEO is still the most popular, downloaded hundreds of thousands of times on WordPress sites.
  • Once you have installed and activated All-in-One, you will see it now shows up beneath your posting screen ie where you are creating / editing pages and posts:

  • You can now add your title, description and keywords.  This is your opportunity to create a great title and description for your page, something that will make a googler want to go and investigate further.  If you don’t do this, what happens?  Google will just pick up the first 60 characters of your post title and the first 160 characters of your content.  This is ok but actively choosing what you want to show up is smarter.
  • The words you use at the beginning of the page title are deemed the most important by the search engines.  For this reason you might want to change 5 ways to build your list and make more money” to Building your list – make more money with these 5 simple tips”.
  • Important re your Home Page- Don’t use the All-in-One SEO box when you are creating / editing your home page content.  Instead, for the main page of your site you will need an overall site name and description so although you are still going to use your All-in-One SEO plugin, you will add the information in a different area of your dashboard.  You add these by going to Dashboard > Settings > All-in-One SEO.  Here you will be able to add your Home title, Home description and Home keywords.

Bonus Point: When a reader wants to share your great blog post with their followers on Facebook, the description you use in the All-in-One plugin may also be what shows up on Facebook, for example if you are using Disqus as your commenting system.  So it’s well worth remembering to take a couple of minutes when you finish your page or post content to fill in the All in One SEO fields for optimum optimisation!

This is a very simple step in the optimisation of your coaching or consultancy website but you will reap the rewards when you stop to think about the titles and descriptions that will entice searchers to click your link in Google.

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