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Think Like a Searcher

THE <TITLE> TAG

The title tag is what displays on the very top of the browser bar, above the address bar and everything else. Most people usually waste this space by putting the company name in it or just the title of the page (e.g. “About Us”). This is a waste of this precious space for a few reasons.

Unless your site is a total wreck, people will find you if they enter your company name into Google’s search bar. Using this prime real estate to accomplish a goal that you’ve already met is unnecessary. Using this space to simply mimic the generic title that is already on the page is equally wasteful. You will never have the top search result for the phrase “About Us.” Even if you did rank well for such a generic phrase, it is highly unlikely that the searcher was actually looking for a firm like yours, so there is nothing to gain. What, then, should the title tag contain? The answer to this question is one of the most important tactics to use when optimizing for search engines.

THINK LIKE A SEARCHER

How does one think like a searcher? First, read the page you are optimizing, then ask yourself, “What phrase would I use if I were searching for this page on Google?” The resulting phrase is your thesis statement for that page, and it is what you should use as the foundational phrase for these three Google-facing elements.

To further explain this, let’s look at a hypothetical firm: one that specializes in packaging design for high-end culinary goods and products. What might the thesis statement be for their “About Us” page? The page’s content is about them, and you now know what they do, so an appropriate phrase might be related to their positioning statement. Simply using “packaging design for high- end culinary goods and products” might make sense. It is concise, keyword-rich, expertise-based, and entirely related to the content of that page.

This post is an excerpt from my book, “A Website That Works.”

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