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In my last post, I talked about the importance of utilizing keyword, content and directory silos to help your pages rank higher. Today, I’d like to discuss the importance of optimizing Meta titles to help boost rankings. At Hanapin, we recently updated Meta titles for a client using a new strategy, and rankings increased significantly.
Meta Data Matters
When it comes to page rank, Meta titles are a factor, but descriptions are not. (However, descriptions are what help you gain user click-through from SERPs; they are the description of your page that encourages people to click, driving more traffic to your site, so we should still be writing compelling descriptions that incorporate keywords smartly.) As SEOs, one of our primary jobs is to help a site rank highly in the SERPs, and since Meta titles are a key factor in rankings, they should be optimized regularly. However, in the grand scheme of all that an SEO can do to optimize a site, it seems that Meta data tends to get neglected. For starters, writing Meta data for a site is time consuming. When I first started working at Hanapin, I spent hours writing new Meta data for one of our ecommerce clients and I remember thinking “Oh my gosh! I wonder how often this has to be done, because it takes for-ev-er!”
However, it seems that Meta data tends to be written once and then neglected. But the fact of the matter is, you can implement excellent keyword, content and directory silos, you can link build ‘til the cows come home, you can have the best link bait of any site around, but if you don’t optimize your Meta titles you’re neglecting a key factor in helping your pages rank highly in the SERPs. The case study below demonstrates the positive results we’ve seen in an account by implementing a new Meta title strategy.
Meta Titles: A New Strategy
Some of my colleagues were recently working on optimizing the Meta data for one of their accounts. They evaluated the current Meta data and determined that it was good – highly targeted and keyword centered – but they wanted to refresh it. They decided to employ a new Meta title strategy to see if they could generate even better results. The ‘old’ structure of the titles looked like this:
Adjective Keyword Product | Company
They decided to rearrange the order of the string, moving the keyword to the front. The new structure looks like this, with the adjective being optional:
Keyword Company | (Adjective) Product
Below is a granular breakdown of upward keyword movement over a one-month period with the new Meta titles implemented. When reading the chart, the ‘Current Position’ is where the keywords are currently ranking in Google, and the ‘Up From Previous Month’ is how many positions the keywords moved up from the previous month:
The pie chart below shows changes in positions of the account’s keywords during the same one-month period used above. The chart shows that 30% of the keywords the account is ranking for saw no change in position, 27% decreased, while 43% increased in position after the new Meta title strategy was implemented. It is also important to note that the majority of keywords that decreased only fell by one position, while the average increase in positions of those that moved up was 2.15.
A final important note is that during the one-month period for which the above data was gathered, there were no other on-page optimizations or link building efforts made. The only SEO change made to the account was the Meta title strategy, and, in addition to a large percentage of keywords increasing in rankings because of the new strategy, the account also saw an increase in traffic. In sum, the data speaks pretty loudly about the importance of Meta titles in page rank, and I hope your fire for Meta data has been rekindled!
Have you tried this Meta title strategy? What results have you seen? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!
Abby is an Account Executive at Hanapin Marketing, a search engine marketing firm focused on generating results through PPC and SEO.