September 29, 2015
When you look at the search engine results pages (SERPs) you’d be correct to assume that the website that ranks first gets the most clicks. The data on this varies, with some studies showing that the first link gets as much as 53 percent of clicks while others place it at a more modest 32 percent.
When we are looking at 15 percent or less of clicks for the second spot and beyond, we need to do all we can to encourage users to click our results.
Today I’m going to share four elements that can help drive more clicks that are based within one of the most foundational on-page SEO elements – the title tag.
Your title tag is that blue clickable snippet of text that appears in the search engines. Here’s what SiteProNews’ looks like:
The full title tag is “SiteProNews – Breaking News, Technology News, and Social Media News” but Google has a character limitation which is why it is cut off.
Basic SEO title tag best practices tell us that our title tags should contain our main keywords (ex. Technology News) that we want to rank for which has resulted in a lot of brands keyword stuffing their title tags so that they end up like this:
The thing is, Google is smart enough to know that Cartridgeworld.com offers all these products so it doesn’t need to jam all these keywords into its title tag. Going after keywords is very important, but I’d like to introduce you to a way to construct title tags that use one or more of the following four elements to drive more click-throughs:
- Low Price
Note: This is not to be confused with local SEO best practices for titles tags that suggest placing the city and state within the title tag. If you can do that and incorporate some of the below for your local results, you’d likely be in a good place.
Low Price Title Tag
If you are a low price leader or that is something you use to market your services, incorporate this in your title tags. For example, it’s easy to see why the Geico title encourages click-through for a search for “car insurance.” It tells you why you should click the ad:
As a consumer, you’d likely look at these three options, see Geico’s low price offering and choose to click that link first. Where’s the incentive to click through to the others and furthermore does Farmers really need to keyword stuff their title tag with “car insurance” and “auto insurance?” Me thinks not.
Freshness Title Tag
Bottom line, Google likes fresh, new content. If you can showcase this in your title tags you’ll encourage others to click. Check out the below title tags. It’s clear that if you were a consumer searching for “cell phone reviews” you’d want to know you’d be getting the most recent information possible (from 2015).
Laptopmage.com takes click-through chances up a notch with the insertion of the word “best” in front of its title tag. This title tag is a great example of a freshness element (2015) as well as an adjective that is associated with quality (best).
Volume Title Tags
If you have a nice list of items that you are discussing in your content, you should mention them in your title tag. For example, check out this result for “things to do in Park City Utah” and you’ll see how Trip Advisor capitalizes on the volume title tag where its competitors do not:
Merely addressing how many items there are for visitors to do gives a searcher more incentive to click that link over the others. Understanding that 30 things to do is a fairly robust amount, there is sure to be something that peaks your interest in this list and Trip Advisor knows that.
Speed Title Tag
Does your brand offer a service or product that boasts speed as the main selling point? Check out these results for “get a bachelor’s degree online” and notice how much more effective the DIY Degree (doityourselfdegree.com) speed claim is:
Doityourselfdegree.com makes good use of additional click-through elements within its meta description, mentioning price (1/20th the cost of a four-year degree). Understanding its ideal client is someone who values efficiency – hence the search for an online degree – it does a good job of capturing the main selling point of the service within its title tag to encourage click-through.
Click-Through Incentives are Not Unique to Title Tags
Increasing the click-through rates of our digital messages is nothing new, although it seems that not enough brands are taking advantage of consumer psychology elements within their title tags. One place where we are all familiar with these elements is within pay-per-click ads.
Click-throughs Encouraged in PPC
Taking our low price example for the search “car insurance,” it’s obvious that a lot of brands are taking advantage of psychological click-through elements within their paid Google ads:
These types of CTR-friendly titles are evident all throughout PPC ads and can often be duplicated for organic search results.
Click-throughs Encouraged in Social Media Ads
In social media ads the title tag equivalent, or “Headline” for Facebook ads specifically, is also a very important factor that contributes to click-throughs. It is also a place to experiment with different headlines to see which one’s work best.
Grant Cooper, CEO of social media management company Social Vantage, says it always split-tests different headlines to see which ones increase the CTR of the ad. “We have found that ads with a controversial headline or ads that contain a headline with an enticing offer perform much better than ads that have a very broad and uninteresting headline.”
Cooper provided an example of two ads, one with the low price element included in the headline and one without.
The ad on the right (the one without any click-through textual elements) had a CTR of 1.1 percent while the ad with the price claim had a CTR of 3.2 percent. While there are some other textual elements that differed between the two ads the headline with the low price offer clearly worked best and demonstrated triple the click-through of the ad without.
Most of us know these trends to be true with social or PPC ads so why aren’t more of us adopting them for the arguably more important organic title tags?
Look at PPC and Social Media Headlines for Title Tags Ideas
If you want to get some ideas as to what title tags may work best for you or your clients, just take a look at the ads that come up for searches that you are going for. You’ll likely see some creative use of language that can help you to both maintain some of your keyword goals as well as increase the click-through conversion rates of your title tags.
Title Tag Recap
You can always try to use one of these four elements to improve your click-throughs of title tags. The more people that land on your site the better off you’ll be, especially if you can make good on whatever you are claiming in the SERPs.
Throw keyword stuffing out and capitalize on some of the psychological elements that make consumers more likely to pull out their wallets. Feel free to leave a comment on your experience with this or how you will implement this into your own site.
Daniel Lofaso is the President and Founder of Digital Elevator, a West Palm Beach, FL-based SEO agency specializing in link building and content marketing for clients in the local, national, international and ecommerce spaces. Lofaso also co-founded SwellSpy.com, a live streaming surf and tourism camera site and remains involved in the start-up community locally. Follow Lofaso on Twitter.