Over the last couple of months, I’ve been giving away tips on how to improve your website. Most of these tips have been physical changes to the look and function of your website to help users navigate across it. For the next few weeks, I want to focus on SEO, specifically the WordPress plugin Yoast SEO. I know so many of you use it so I thought I’d give a few tips away. This week we’re going to look at SEO Titles.
During this mini-series, I’m going to be improving one of our own pages, website packages for SMEs. Originally this page was optimised for “Web design for SMEs” but we’ve since changed our website and we now have some awesome website packages available for our customers. Let’s begin!
Yoast SEO Tip #1 – SEO Titles
What is Yoast?
Yoast SEO is a really powerful plugin for WordPress that allows you to edit your SEO titles, slugs, meta descriptions and other little details that affect your search engine rankings. It’s worth noting that SEO is experimental, it takes time to see results and even with good results you should be checking and improving pages.
To install Yoast SEO, go to your WordPress dashboard > Plugins > Search “Yoast SEO” > Install > Activate.
Now at the bottom of each page and post you create, you should see a Yoast section, similar to the image below. See that green smiley face next in the SEO tab? We want that for most of our pages. You can see a list of everything that affects this smiley face in the “SEO Analysis” tab.
The greatest thing about Yoast SEO is that you can do so much with the FREE version and it gives you a preview of how it will most likely look in a search engine. Go and install it now!
What is an SEO title?
An SEO title is an HTML element that tells search engines the title of your page. This will help search engines decide what searches your web pages will appear for and where to rank you in the search.
What should you consider when deciding an SEO title?
In the above and below examples you can see a box titled “Focus Keyphrase.” The first thing to do is decide this. Our page is about the website packages we offer for SMEs. So in the below example, we’re going to put in here “website packages for SMEs.” This won’t affect our SEO, instead, this will help Yoast read through your page, SEO title, slug and meta description and measure various things such as keyword density. You can fill this box with a phrase or a keyword but take it with a pinch of salt because it’ll look for the specific phrase and not other versions of it. A premium version of Yoast allows for the plugin to read multiple keyphrases.
As for the SEO title itself, this keyphrase is generally what you should include first. It doesn’t have to be exact but keep it clear and accurate for search engines to read over.
What else could you include?
You might want to include more than just the keyphrase or keyword, perhaps because your title is too short. You can also include the location of your service and your brand. We separate each part with “|”. You can use other characters but we think this looks smarter. This is the SEO title we’ll be using in the below example “Website Packages for SMEs | Yuno Media Ltd | Southampton & Hampshire”.
We generally structure our SEO titles like this… Product/Service | Brand | Location. Other web developers will do it differently but this is our way and I’m sure that one day we may decide other formats are more effective. SEO is always changing!
SEO title length
In the below example you can see a green line just under the SEO title box. When this line is green it indicates your title is a perfect length. If you see an orange line, your title is too short or too long.
Keyword Stuffing – don’t do it!
You might be keen to appear for everything your visitors are searching for but don’t fill your SEO title with alternative keyphrases. For example, we could stuff ours with “Website Packages for SMEs | Web design packs | SME websites”.
This looks messy and search engines are clever. They’ll see you’re just trying to appear for different ways people might be searching. If they catch on to this, you’ll damage your rankings!
Encourage people to click
SEO titles can be a balancing act, you want to get your keyphrase right but you can also use words to encourage people to click on your link. Perhaps using words like “View our…” or “Click to discover our…”. Those are simple examples but be creative!
How to change your SEO title
In this example, our current SEO title for our website packages for SMEs page is “Web Design for SMEs”. Let’s change it! (I’ve already changed the Focus Keyphrase).
First, open up the editing options by clicking “Edit Snippet”.
You can see the “SEO title” box below. This is where we’ll make our change. There are lots of different ways to write an SEO title as I’ve explained above. We’re going to change the existing title to “Website Packages for SMEs | Yuno Media Ltd | Southampton & Hampshire”
Make sure when you’ve made your change you update the page with the usual blue “Update” button on the right of the WordPress dashboard.
That’ll do for now, next week we’ll cover meta descriptions. Your homework is to go and install Yoast SEO and take a look at your existing SEO titles. Write them down in a document and underneath each one, change them.
If you need any help with this please get in touch. Email [email protected]
To edit your SEO title you’ll need to download the Yoast SEO plugin and install it to your WordPress website. Once you’ve activated it you’ll find it at the bottom of every page and post you create. Click “Edit Snippet” to edit your SEO title, meta description etc.
There are a number of ways to write an SEO title, here are a few things to consider when creating one:
- Prioritise your keyword/keyphrase near the start of your title.
- For extra length, you can also include your location and brand.
- Use the bar underneath the SEO title box to measure the length of your title. Green = good and orange = too short, or too long.
- Don’t stuff your SEO titles with keywords. Search engines will know. Keep them clear and accurate.
- Encourage visitors to click through with your wording.
I can’t summarise how to edit the SEO title with the Yoast plugin so you’ll have to look above for that.
Next week I’ll be covering meta descriptions. Don’t forget your homework! Install Yoast SEO and look at your existing SEO titles.