You would not expect a story when looking up information about how to write effective B2B title tags for SEO. But, as a digital marketer and marketing consultant, I have plenty of stories to share about my experiences in working for or consulting with B2B companies in Southern California. The idea for creating the B2B search engine optimization (SEO) strategy section of the Marketing Binder website comes from over two decades of working with B2B companies on their digital marketing strategies. Although they may think so, many CEOs and business leaders don’t understand digital marketing and even less of SEO practices.
Note: You may also skip the story and read B2B Title Tags for SEO Best Practices by scrolling to the section at the end of this article.
I begin the B2B SEO Best Practices series with a post about writing B2B title tags for SEO. The most important part of any SEO strategy is content, yet the title tag is thus the second most important element for on-page SEO that helps boost rankings. I will reserve discussing content and SEO in a later article.
The SEO Title Tag Challenge
Inspiration for this story begins with a B2B client I consulted for in the manufacturing industry. The manufacturing client, called Brad, whose real name I changed, faced a digital marketing challenge as the organization’s CEO. After several decades of business, he jumped on the internet bandwagon with a company website in the early 2000s. At first, the website enjoyed first page ranking on the search engine results pages (SERPs), like Google. However, with the rise of manufacturing competitors in the same market space, my client found his website slipping rank in the SERPs. At first, his product pages slipped to the bottom of the first page, later the second page, and ended up somewhere on the fifth page of Google.
Rather than crank out more content, Brad continued to optimize the existing content weekly. Content is the most important factor to consider for SEO, as I pointed out earlier. Optimizing the same content consistently and frequently is bad for your ranking, though. You should periodically review your content for optimization, but not every week. When optimizing the same content weekly, you are not allowing enough time for the search engines to crawl and index your pages.
Brad was beyond frustrated when his company website fell to page five of the SERPs. So frustrated that he fired his marketing director and web developer. However, the problem did not arise from his marketing department. As it seemed, Brad’s ego obstructed progress. It was his belief that he had the talent to write and that his writing and consistent optimization would help him rank higher.
Brad knew little about search engine optimization. His knowledge of the search engine ranking system made him dangerous enough to contribute to its decline. He refused to budge. This is where I and my marketing consultant firm, Marketing Binder, enter the picture.
A Solution to the Manufacturers Website Ranking Demise
After receiving a call from Brad, and learning about his frustrations and how his SERP ranking dropped over time, I ran an SEO audit of his company’s on-page SEO. A quick glance at the website showed me the immediate problem; the company website did not have any effective title tags. In fact, most of his website pages lacked any description as well. I’ll discuss writing effective descriptions in a later post for B2B SEO best practices. For now, the focus is on B2B title tags for SEO.
Brad and I discussed the importance of adding effective title tags to each page. “I already have titles on each page, so I need no more,” he replied. “Just get me back on the first page.” It would take patience and a strategic approach to convince him.
I showed Brad the difference between using a generic title tag and a specific, keyword rich title tag. From my previous client experience, I showed him how we optimized his title tags and made his ranking and inbound leads improve. Still skeptical, I told him, let’s try a title tag on one of his pages that has a healthy amount of content. There would be no charge for my services, making the venture risk-free. With his eyes peering over his glasses, he glanced at me, grumbled momentarily, then agreed to try it out. I wasn’t costing him anything, and he had already lost rank, so why not try it?
The Results of Improving the Title Tags
It is impossible to predict how long it will take to rise to the top of the SERPs. It may take a few weeks to several months. The good news is that Brad began seeing an increase in rankings within a few weeks of making the title tag change. After tweaking other on-page SEO elements, the initial web page we optimized with the title tag climbed to the front of Google within 60 days. In fact, after Brad saw results from his company website, he hired me to help regain the ranking he originally lost on his website.
The moral of this story is: Don’t be Brad. Do not allow your ego to dictate your strategy. One does not become an expert by having little knowledge on a subject. It’s best to leave digital marketing and SEO to the professionals who can produce results. Yet, if you prefer to go at it alone or with your marketing team, I have compiled a list of SEO title tag best practices to get you started. Before I proceed, let me explain what B2B title tags are all about.
What is a B2B Title Tag for SEO?
Writing a B2B title tag for SEO is like writing a title tag for a business-to-consumer (B2C) or direct-to-consumer (D2C) web page. However, there are some best practices a B2B company should follow when writing SEO title tags to improve their overall ranking in the SERPs. Before I discuss the B2B title tags for SEO best practices, let me define what a title tag is in more detail.
A title tag is a code snippet written in HTML that defines the title of your web pages. It is essential to have well-written title tags that describe your website’s content on each page. Your title tag should look like the following example, with the tags on the outside and your page title in the middle.
<title>This is an example page title - Example.com</title>
Search engine algorithms use title tags to decide the position and order of their assigned pages when listing them in their results pages. It is for this reason that title tags are critical when creating your B2B SEO strategy.
The <title> element:
- Must be text only
- Defines a title in the browser toolbar
- Adds a title for the page to the browser’s favorites
- Displays a title in the search results
Challenges Facing B2B Title Tags for SEO
Here’s where the challenge rests with B2B websites; they overlook the essential parts of their web pages by ignoring B2B SEO best practices. For example, as mentioned already, a significant part of SEO is the title tag. The two examples below are from two different B2B manufacturing companies in the Inland Empire (Riverside and Chino) and both failed to address effective title tags.
The first web page title tag belongs to a contract manufacturer for skin care products. The manufacturer’s page title simply says “Manufacturing” followed by the company’s (brand) name. More than 2 billion Google results return for the keyword, “manufacturing.” The chances of their page showing up in the first 100 results are nonexistent.
The other manufacturing website shows the keyword, “products,” followed by the company brand name. I won’t even venture to estimate how many web pages show up for the keyword, “product.” Their site is also unlikely to appear in the first 100 pages for that keyword. They did not include a page description, which is also important for SEO. That’s a whole other subject, so I’ll leave it for another day.
Both manufacturing firms, in my example, could benefit from using SEO best practices on their web pages. In fact, any B2B website that is serious about gaining ranking in the SERPs to stay competitive should follow the B2B Title Tags for SEO Best Practices.
B2B Title Tags for SEO — Best Practice
The following list are tips for creating effective web page titles. While many SEO factors impact a website’s ranking potential and there is never a guarantee of placement on the first page of any SERP, following best practices can boost your chance for success.
The following tips can help you create an effective web page title:
- Use descriptive words
Go for a longer, descriptive title (avoid one- or two-word titles). We saw in our example that the manufacturing websites offered a one word title, making it difficult to rank. To better serve their SEO strategy, they should increase the length of their page title.
- Keep title under 60 characters
Search engines display about 50-60 characters of your title, so try to keep it around 55 characters, but not over 60 characters. Longer titles can get cut off in search results, which leads to a poor user experience and thus, poor rankings.
- Short and concise titles
Ensure your title is short and concise while using only the most important keywords.
- Place keywords at beginning
Title tags, beginning with keywords, receive more weight by Google. Thus, begin your title with your keywords.
- Use two keywords or fewer per title
Don’t use over two keywords per title. Shorter keywords reduce page title length, deliver a more targeted and easier-to-rank page, and ensure that the page is relevant for the keywords.
- Place brand name at end of title
Add your brand name, especially for lesser known brands, at the end of your title, if at all. When separating your keyword title and brand name, use a pipe to separate the two: |.
- Separate keywords in title with a hyphen
If you are using multiple keywords in the title, separate them with a hyphen. In the example earlier, our skin care manufacturer intended to use the keywords skincare manufacturing and beauty contract manufacturer with their company name. They would write the title as:
skincare manufacture – beauty contract manufacturer | Brand Name
- Avoid using random words
Don’t use just a string of words in the title, as this might lower the page’s ranking.
- Avoid special characters
Some browsers or search engines do not display special characters. It is best practice to use alphanumeric characters for your title.
The nine best practices for writing B2B title tags for SEO may seem like a lot of information for a 60 characters or less title. Best practices, however, make a difference between a website that ranks higher in the SERPs and one that is lost in the search results. You should write your titles so that they are accurate and meaningful in relation to your page content.
Now, conquer the web by writing effective title tags. If you get stuck or have a question, join the forum for B2B SEO Best Practices and ask the community for help.