Make or Break your SEO: URLs & Title Tags
With a growing number of companies and organizations utilizing search engine optimization to increase their online visibility it is surprising to see a majority of them still using convoluted URLs and generic title tags on their websites.
URLs and Title tags provide information that helps describe your page and website to search engines and visitors so keeping this information relevant and accurate is one of the first major steps to making your website search engine friendly. So as a quick reminder or even a mini-lesson in SEO, here are a few examples for URLs and Title tags that serve to clarify what is good and bad in the world of search engine optimization.
URLs should be descriptive, yet brief. Visitors should be able to get an idea of what kind of information will be on the page just by looking at its URL. If the page is at the end of several levels of sections of your website the URL should also reflect this. For larger companies it may seem easier to have a series of numbers and letters define each page but that does nothing for visitors or search engines, the two most important entities your company is serving.
URL Comparison for Sony 32" LCD HDTV
While nextag.com is a comparison shopping website, they do a great job of formatting their URLs to accurately describe the information on each page.
Amazon is a large company and often labels products with letter and numbers instead of using their actual name. However, at least a visitor or search engine could determine that this webpage has something to do with the Sony Bravia HDTV from looking at the URL. If only I could decipher the meaning of B000RUNZVO
Walmart, like Amazon, is infamous for labeling products with numbers. While that may be conducive to their system of inventory, I, nor any search engine crawler, has any clue what Walmart is selling on this page.
Title tags are most recognizable as the bold blue ink text that appears for each search result. They not only aid in defining keyword terms but also help drive click-through-rates from search results pages. Some title tags are generic; others attempt to name every detail on the page.
The Good: Milton S. Hershey - HERSHEY'S
The Hershey's Company does a great job of creating great title tags for all of their pages, even the ones that share the history of Hershey. This page operates as the starting point to learning anything and everything about the man who built the Hershey Chocolate empire. Subsequent pages are well-titled and direct such as the page on Catherine S. Hershey titled "Milton Hershey's Wife".
The Georgia Aquarium does a good job of keeping their institution's name present in almost all of their title tags, but this page is actually about the American Alligator. The aquarium should consider removing Kids Corner from the title and add the name of each animal instead.
Nice, Circuit City. I had to read through a listing of almost every possible electronic device before I even realized you were the company selling it. Instead of trying to run the gamut on everything your site offers, use your company name for the Title of your main website and keep your description for the meta tags.
Diving into search engine optimization can seem daunting and leave you feeling overwhelmed, but by taking small steps and changing a few key words here and there can make this task a much more manageable one.
Further reading: 4 Quick Tips for Getting Started with Title Tags