Go back a few years in SEO terms and backlinks were all the rage (this is before Google penalised you for what it regarded as spammy backlinks), go back even further and On Page factors were seen as most important. Page Titles, Page Descriptions (these directly influence how your search snippets appear in Google search results) Headings, Content etc etc.
But do they really make a difference in 2016?
My view is certainly yes!
I’ll share with you some data from a recent piece of analysis we did for one of our new clients that shows the difference before and after.
If you’d like to read more about recent changes in Page Titles and Page Descriptions then you could do worse than read these 2 articles https://moz.com/blog/title-tag-length-guidelines-2016-edition by Dr Peter J Meyers and http://www.thesempost.com/google-increases-width-main-search-results-column/ by Jennifer Slegg.
Both talk about the Title tag length and the changes Google has made to increase the width from 512 to 600 pixels, giving webmaster and site owners the opportunity to increase the amount of text they can have.
I have spoken many times to local businesses and have mentioned to all my clients the importance of making best use of Page Titles & Page Descriptions, including the right keyphrases, contacts details, calls to action, making them different and unique for each page etc.
We recently did a site audit for a client and 2 months later I did a comparison on the click through rate (CTR) before and after the on page work we did.
Our data source was Google Search Console (AKA Webmaster Tools) and
I compared a 28 day period 2 months apart.
This screen grab shows the differences before and after. I took the 10 most popular search terms associated with this client and looked at the click through rate as an average. Before the CTR was 46.99% and after it had increased to 57.54% – an increase of 22.5%!
Interestingly, click rates for brand related keywords increased to.
So, while I appreciate this is a small and probably not very scientific study, it does show that if you take the time to write Page Titles and Page Descriptions correctly you stand a good chance of increasing engagement with potential customers when they search for your products and services.