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How to Make Better Use of Web Site Page Titles and META Data

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A special search engine optimization case study on manufacturers shows how any business can do a better job with web site page titles and META data. New case studies explain how to improve them.

We got down to the basics with web site page titles and META data as part of a new study on how manufacturers use natural search engine optimization (SEO). Businesses of all types could benefit from the following case studies that show how poor titles and META data can be improved from an SEO perspective.

Case Studies: Ineffective Optimization

We selected 10 of the web sites (among 350 we studied) that scored the worst in terms of search engine optimization. Here’s a closer look at what they may be doing wrong on their home pages (company names are removed).

Case Study No. 1

META Title: Business Name
META Description: missing
META Keywords: missing

ANALYSIS: Title lacks keywords, page doesn’t include META data.

Case Study No. 2

META Title: Company name followed by corporate attribute
META Description: Features a 20-word description without keywords.
META Keywords: Includes 30 keywords and search terms with no real focus.

ANALYSIS: Title may have one keyword at the most after several non-keywords; META data poorly used. Used a Flash page with “skip intro” button that won’t perform well because it lacks text.

Case Study No. 3

META Title: Welcome to Business Name
META Description: missing
META Keywords: missing

ANALYSIS: Title lacks keywords, page doesn’t even attempt to include META data.

Case Study No. 4

META Title: Company name followed by one search phrase
META Description: corporate domain name www.xxxxxxxxx.com
META Keywords: empty
FRAMES: used on site

ANALYSIS: Title has potential keywords, but they’re trapped inside a long phrase without comma separation, META description features corporate domain name and the META keywords weren’t used. The Frames format may discourage spiders from indexing the web site, especially since this main page doesn’t give them much guidance.

Case Study No. 5

META Title: Business Name
META Description: missing
META Keywords: missing

ANALYSIS: Title lacks keywords, page doesn’t include META data.

Case Study No. 6

META Title: Welcome to company name, your source for two search phrases
FRAMES: used on site

ANALYSIS: Title fails to give keywords prominence and search terms aren’t separated by commas; page doesn’t include META data. The frames format discourages search engines. The <noframes> tag could allow for some search engine guidance, keywords, but it’s not used.

Case Study No. 7

META Title: Company Name, Inc. – Specializing in – one search term
META Description: missing
META Keywords: 20 keywords and phrases

ANALYSIS: Title lacks keywords – limited to one potential search phrase. The page doesn’t include META description, much more critical than the META keyword set.

Case Study No. 8

META Description: Company name
META KEYWORDS: 5 individual keywords without commas, not a search phrase
META Robots: used on site
META Title: Home

ANALYSIS: Title with the “home” reference is buried below a poor META description and equally ineffective META keyword set.

Case Study No. 9

META Keywords: 12 broad keywords
META Title: Welcome to Company name – Associates
META Description: missing

ANALYSIS: Title without search terms is buried below an ineffective META keyword set that lacks realistic search terms; META data doesn’t feature a META description.

Case Study No. 10

META Description: Company name, the first manufacturer of a keyword and search phrase description.
META Keywords: 22 keywords and search phrases
META Title: Company name

ANALYSIS: Title displayed too low below META description and keywords. META description is useful, although it takes six words before the first keyword appears.

Michael Murray is vice president of Fathom SEO, a Cleveland, Ohio-based search engine optimization firm. A member of SEMPO, he authored the U.S. Manufacturers Resist Natural Search Engine Optimization and Online Sales Leads study and a white paper, “Is Search Engine Optimization Worth It? SEO and the ROI Debacle.” mmurray@fathomseo.com

How to Make Better Use of Web Site Page Titles and META Data
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