Title tags are the words you see in the top bar of the browser when looking at a web page. On blogs, they often match the title of a post, followed by the name of the blog, due to the automated settings blog platforms like Wordpress use.
This means people often confuse them with the title in the body of the page, though they can be entirely different. Today, we are talking about the former:
There are a huge amount of on page factors which search engines take into account to judge what a page is about and how well it should rank. This includes the copy on the page, the URL, title tags and much more. Of all these factors, title tags have been shown to be the most influential on page signal in terms of ranking for a particular phrase, yet many bloggers don’t fully optimise them and fail to get the maximum possible value. This makes them an incredibly easy win from an SEO perspective.
As a travel blogger, many pages on your site will be blog posts. Generally, I would recommend leaving the title tag as whatever is automatically generated from the title of that post.
In this post, the focus is on static pages which you create and the homepage as these generally aren’t as well optimised.
As mentioned previously, I want this series to be as actionable as possible, so I’ll be using some ‘guinea pigs’ along the way. Today, Dave and Deb from The Planet D have kindly allowed me to use them as our case study – thanks guys!
So, how do you make the most of your title tags? The key things to remember are:
- Google will give ranking value to 66-70 characters of a title tag (including spaces). You should be aiming to get your keywords within this number.
- More weight/value, is passed to phrases earlier in the title tag. You should try and get more competitive phrases earlier in the title tag.
- Try to get the exact match of your phrase in the title tag (i.e. if your target phrase is adventure travel, include “adventure travel”, not “adventure couple travel”). This will offer more ranking value.
The first stage is to get the data you collected through the keyword research done in the previous post in this series. This will highlight the phrases which are can yield the most traffic and are relevant to your blog. The phrases with the most search volume are likely to be the most difficult to rank for and you should target these with your homepage (the strongest page on your site).
The Planet D’s homepage title tag is currently:
Adventure Couple Travel Blog The Planet D
This doesn’t maximise the full amount of characters available and also doesn’t target the phrases which yield the most traffic. I would recommend changing this to something along the lines of:
Adventure Travel Blog, Adventure Travel Tips for Couples, The Planet D
This will help the site rank much better for phrases like ‘adventure travel’ (exact match now included), ‘travel blog’ (phrase is closer to the start of the title tag) and ‘travel tips’ (phrase wasn’t previously included at all). The tag also still includes the brand within 70 characters too, an important feature if, like The Planet D, you are super famous!
The next area to look at is static internal pages on the site. Not all travel bloggers will have these, though they are a very good way to target particular phrases with SEO as they are ‘evergreen’ pages.
The Planet D has a number of these, and I am going to focus on the ‘Destination’ pages for this example:
Current Title tag: Travel Destinations
New Title Tag: Travel Destinations, Top Adventure Travel Destinations, The Planet D
Current Title tag: China
New Title Tag: China Travel Guide, Adventure Travel Destinations in China, The Planet D
Current Title tag: India
New Title Tag: India Travel Guide, Adventure Travel Destinations in India, The Planet D
You get the picture…
It really is as simple as that! It’s just a case of taking the keywords you’ve identified previously and mapping them on to your site, always keeping in mind the 3 key points highlighted above. If you’ve got a site as packed with content as The Planet D, then you have the potential to make some really positive ranking strides and bring in more search traffic with very little work. Sounds good right!?!
If you have any questions please fire them off in the comments and I’ll do my best to help solve your title tag queries!
See you next time…
P.S. As a little test, see some current rankings below relating to the phrases highlighted above. If Dave and Deb are happy to make the changes recommended above I’ll revisit this post once the changes have been crawled and see what improvements, if any, we see…
Rankings in Google.com
Travel blog – 91
Adventure travel – not in top 100
Travel tips – not in top 100
China travel guide – not in top 100
Travel destinations in china – not in top 100
Keyword Research – SEO Tips for Travel Bloggers #2
Tom Mcloughlin writes Top Backpacking Destinations, and runs the specialist seo agency SEO Travel. You can follow him on Twitter - @BackpackerBoy