Strong Titles for Success

In my free-time, I am a competitive cyclist and a die-hard down-hill skier (I think I am the only one in the office that is stoked it’s April and still snowing). Anyway, maintaining multiple race bikes and keeping up on gear and clothing for every type of weather event in northern Michigan can get expensive very quickly. Since I have yet to meet the sugar-momma of my dreams, or become the next Mark Zuckerberg, I do the next best thing: hit up Google, clearance websites and eBay.

As much as I love gear shopping, I’m as cheap as they come and refuse to pay full price for any piece of equipment.

This past winter I chipped away at my parts and accessories wish list in preparation for the 2009 cycling season. I’ve been patient, knowing what I needed and relying heavily on Google to research products, find deals and learn what NOT to pay for parts and accessories. And this past weekend I did the math and was completely geeked by how much really expensive gear I was able to snag – and how much money I saved.

It all got me thinking. My ability to find everything I needed and save as much money as I did hinged on the strength of the titles and descriptions of the pages I eventually landed on.

When optimizing a page, it’s so important that your titles contain keywords that accurately reflect the content of your page. It’s also equally important that your descriptions reflect what your page is about, and contain a strong call to action that will draw in traffic.

As I was researching and shopping for my gear, I knew what I was looking for and, therefore, used very targeted keyword searches to sort through the clutter to find the most relevant pages. The sites that I frequented (like the ones below) were those that caught my attention with relevant titles and drew me in with strong meta descriptions.

When building your titles and descriptions, try to think like the user would. It helps to cover all your bases; go after the specifics, but also use instances of broad terms. Taking the road less traveled, by going after less used, yet more specific keywords, will often yield better results than going after broad keywords with high traffic and even higher competition. People who know what they want will use specific keyword searches.

One neat feature recently implement by Google that will help your keyword research is a latent semantic indexing tool. It’s embedded at the bottom of their Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Search for a keyword or keyword phrase and this feature will show you additional keywords that are related to your target keywords that other searchers have used. Utilizing this information gives you the ability to discover other keywords related to your content that you may not have thought of. The feature is always there and easily accessible, which makes it a no-brainer to use.

So if you’re writing your titles and descriptions, or even just writing item descriptions for an eBay sale, take the time to utilize some of the tools out there to do a little keyword research. Strong titles and descriptions are part of the equation that can boost a page’s relevancy and ensure your content will be seen by the right people – i.e. a cheap guy like me looking for an expensive cycling jersey at a blowout price.