The What, Where and How of SEO

When I look at web sites, which is quite often, I tend to look for how well their content is optimized — from an on-page perspective, of course. Even when I am just trying to take in the content, I can’t help but notice title tags, directory and file names in the URL, and meta descriptions of content found via search.

The Problem
The problem I notice with many companies whose sites don’t rank well, is that they feel the need to brand every title tag, either with the company name or a combination of the product/service name and their company name.

I understand the urge.

Marketers have been taught that building a brand is everything, and the more opportunities for customers to interact with your brand the better.

In the SEO game — which is one the primary battlegrounds for new customers — branding, especially in title tags, isn't nearly as critical as in an print ad, radio ad, yellow page listing, etc.

It’s about targeting specific keywords.

And, if you’re keywords aren’t in your company name — or URL for that matter — which is often the case, you’re doing a disservice to your SEO efforts.

The Solution
SEO is about the what, where and how of your company.

People that care about the who already know you. And that’s fine. You have their traffic, though — so for SEO purposes don’t focus on them.

The what and where are easy. Focus on those first.

  • What do you do?
  • Where are you located?
  • Where are you customers located?

The how is more difficult, because you can go in any number of directions, but it only matters if the way describe it fits in with the way buyers search within that market.

  • How do you go about providing your products/services?
  • How are your products made?
  • How are you different from companies that provide the same type of goods?
  • How long have been in business?
  • How often does your inventory change?

The Takeaway
I am not saying companies should lose all branding in title tags. However, companies should minimize it and only include it on pages that amke sense and aren’t likely to rank on their own due to the content — e.g. About pages, Contact pages, etc.

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