We were recently asked “What is the difference between post title and SEO title?” by one of our clients and thought it wold be a good idea to put a post together because there maybe other small businesses out there running their own websites who may have the same question.
The question could also be “What’s the difference between an H1 heading and the SEO title?” which is the same thing.
What is an H1 Heading or Post title?
The markup to a webpage tells search engines such as Google the importance of the content on the web page and heading tags show this through their hierarchy.
An H1 heading is the most important, then an H2, H3 and so on. These heading tags give the search engines more information on the importance of the content on your website.
The H1 tag of a website is often the post title if your web developer has configured your website correctly.
For this post you can see what the H1 and page title is below:
This title is what visitors on your website will see but it’s also what the search engines will use to discover what your page is about so it’s very important to get the keywords you want to rank for in here.
One of our clients recently removed their keywords from their H1 titles on one of their most popular pages and within a few days lost over 400 website visitors a month. We helped them fix this and now rankings and traffic have begun to recover, but it shows the importance of getting your H1/post titles right.
One thing that we should mention here is that on bad website themes the H1 title isn’t always the post title.
The post title could become an H2 title because of the way the theme is configured.
Shopify templates are terrible for this and we have found that by default the H1 tags on these themes are the logo. Which means that every page on your website has the same H1 tag which is the logo of your business. This is bad!
Google looks at this logo and often the alt text to decide what the page of your website is about and if it’s your business name it takes that as the pages title. Now this sounds confusing, so here’s an example.
Your business name is “SuperStorage”
The H1 of your website page for your London storage page is now “SuperStorage” where it should actually be something along the lines of “London Storage Facilities”.
Firstly if you are investing in Storage marketing you are going to be wasting your marketing budget because your on-page SEO isn’t optimised for the search queries your visitors would use to find you and your business. This in turn will require you to build more backlinks to your website than your competitors.
Secondly, every page on your website is going to suffer this problem, if you had a Cardiff location it would be difficult for the search engine to rank you higher than your competitors who are including their locations in their H1 titles which shows Google that word is important in the ranking of the page.
That should now make better sense.
But what is an SEO title, is it the same thing?
An SEO title is not the same as a page title.
Where the page title can be seen by the reader, the SEO title or the correct technical term would be meta title is something that the search engines use to show on their website when someone searches for your business.
Using the storage London example, you can see the SEO title is the first blue link (or purple link if you have clicked on that website before).
The SEO/meta title above is “Self storage units London | Lowest Price Guarantee* | No.1 …”
Where if you go on to their actual page you can see the H1 or page title is “Self Storage in London”
Depending on the content management system you use such as WordPress, you will edit the meta/SEO title in different ways. On some systems you may need to have a developer input it, but most of the time is should be accessible in the backend of your website.
At Weeare we use Yoast so we can edit page descriptions, titles, and URLs easily.
You can see the SEO title below:
As you can see the page title for this post and the SEO title is slightly different as the SEO title in our opinion shouldn’t be exactly the same as it can make your page over optimised.
Another reason to not keep them the same is this is the first thing a potential customer would see before visiting your website.
You should use the SEO title not only to tell the search engines what your page is about but also add a call to action there to make them want to click on your website instead of the other 9+ options on the first page.
So to sum this all up, page titles and SEO titles are not the same thing as page titles relate to the heading titles of a page while SEO titles refer to the page meta and what the search engines show to the visitor before clicking on a page.
Page titles and SEO titles can be exactly the same from a content point of view (read contain the same text) but in our opinion, they shouldn’t be as you should try to edit your SEO title to get a higher click-through rate (or more people clicking on your website) as this is a known ranking factor and if more people click on your website than the ones above it Google can raise your rankings.