Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Most important SEO strategy for Web sites

Of all the search-engine optimization (SEO) tricks and strategies, what is the single-most important? This is a question that was posed to me this morning during a meeting.

To be honest, I never really had thought about it, so the question caught me a bit off-guard. On a day-to-day basis, I worry about so many little SEO parts that add up to a whole, that picking one as most important had never occurred to me. But after giving it more thought throughout the day, I think I stand by my gut reaction: Page titles.

Of all the microscopic, behind-the-scenes tricks you can implement, the first words readers see in a search-engine results page (SERP) are still your most important. Not your headline, H1, H2 tags or any linking strategy, keyword density or any other SEO jargon. It sounds simple but then search-engine users want simple answers to their search queries.

For example, let's say you built a great informational landing page about woodchucks because, well, aren't we all looking for great information about woodchucks? You could have the best content in the world about woodchucks, if your page title says "Welcome" or something else generic, a search-engine user is more likely to click on one of your woodchuck competitors that came up with a more search-friendly page title. It doesn't matter if your woodchuck page is somehow the first result listed, your crummy title negates that.

Ironically, since I use Blogger for this blog, I can't modify the page title of each blog post, but since most of my advertisers, uh, do not exist, I really don't care where my blog ranks. But if you do care, you should think about every single title of every page on your site.

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