Optimizing Title Tags for User Intent and Semantic SEO


In this video, I’m going to share with you some things I’ve just been doing lately to try to help us better optimize our title tags for both our users, as well as semantic SEO.

Here’s the link to the Colab

Video Transcript:

So in this video, I’m going to share with you some things I’ve just been doing lately to try to help us better optimize our title tags for both our users, as well as semantic SEO.

The Importance of <title> Tags

Now, everything that we’re doing here is experimental. But I think we’re seeing some pretty cool results and I think by sharing it, hopefully you guys can try some of this too, and maybe together we can come up with something even better.

We know that title tags are important. They’re extremely important when it comes to SEO. And Google talks about them being important as well. This is straight from developers.google.com, saying that title links are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to that query. It’s often the primary piece of information that people use when deciding to click on a link, so it’s important that you use high-quality title text on your web pages.

Now I did a whole video on Google’s replacing title text and how we can create better title tags a few months ago. And if you want to check that out, you can see the link here in the video and learn a little bit more about title best practices.

We’re not going to be talking about best practices today, but we’re going to be talking about how we can leverage Python and the search results to better create title tags that are semantically relevant to what the search results are looking for, as well as what our users are looking for.

The Reality About SEO

So the reality in SEO is that on-page optimization is often seen as a one-time task. People follow the old, yet very poor advice of setting it and forgetting it. Even when it comes to creating title tags, it’s often treated like an afterthought, or we just let it default as the heading, right? Same as the heading. Whatever we named the post as.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Now if you’re doing this, you’re missing a huge opportunity to inform your users and the search engines more clearly about what your content is about.

When optimizing or creating title tags, you need to ask yourself these three questions to make sure you’re on the right track.

  1. Does my title accurately describe what my page is about?
  2. Does my title match the intent of the user and entice them to take action?
  3. Will the crawler have a clear idea of what my page is about based solely on the title?

If you answer no to any of these, you need to do some optimization.

Real Examples from Our Agency

So I want to give you a real-world example of some things that I’ve been looking at lately in order to help us improve our title tags. So we’ve got a client that’s got a lot of good content. But many of the pages weren’t getting the impressions and the clicks that we believe they deserved. So we started to analyze the SERPs using natural language processing, entity extraction, as well as a few other things like good old-fashioned brainpower, our own brains. And we began to adjust our titles to better match for the intent of both the search engines, as well as the users.

Now we tracked the impact of this over a few weeks and we marked down the winners and losers, and then we kept running more tests on those pages that had zero, or not the impact that we wanted to really see.

Now, this is really important. SEO is a verb. We must always be testing. We should never just set it and forget. This is an actual ongoing test, so anything that I’m sharing here, it’s not a foregone conclusion that this will give you the exact results, because we’ve seen mixed results.

SEO is a verb. We must always be testing. We should never just set it and forget.

In some cases, we’ve gotten it right on. In other cases, we really haven’t seen the results we’ve wanted. But in the ones that we have seen positive impact, it’s been pretty massive positive impact.

So here is a slide of both winners and losers.

On the left, we have the winners, and on the right, we have the losers. Now, we also have to look at kind of the time year and all those other things at play as well, because right now we’re in kind of a holiday season, so search is kind of funky. And then throughout December of 2021, Google has kind of gone up and down. But you can see clearly here at the top, the only change we made to this page on this specific day was a title tag adjustment. And as you can see, we saw massive increase in impressions and we also saw a nice increase in clicks.

Now our average CTR went down a little bit, but it’s because we’ve got a lot more exposure and the average position also improved. Down below here, we saw another really good improvement on impressions. Clicks stayed about the same, but we improved our average position by almost six full places.

Now the losers, it’s not that we saw negative results in every case. Like the down here one, we actually saw more impressions in clicks, but we saw our positions going in the wrong direction on both of these, and they could still be done a little bit better in my opinion. So I didn’t think that they were done really well. Now we’ve done about 20 pages so far and right now the results are split about 50-50. So we can go back to the ones that we’re not seeing as much of an improvement on as we want and start running these tests again.

So what I’m going to do now is actually show you the process that I’ve been going through. I’d love to hear your input. Comment below if you’ve got any insight or further thoughts, or if you’re going to try this on your own. I’m also going to share with you the Colab file that I created to help me with this process.

How to Optimize Title Tags

So let’s jump over to an actual, real-time display, and I’ll walk you through my process in doing these title tag optimizations for both user intent, as well as semantics search.

So the first thing I want to do is actually look at my website data, and we can do that by going right over to search console and we can go to our performance. And in this case, I’m just going to pull the last three months. We can go ahead and export that into a Google Sheet. And Google will do its magic and build a sheet for us that we can start to work off of.

So I don’t want to look at queries. I actually want to look at pages right now, and I want to see how specific pages for this site are performing. Now I want to look at title tags like we talked about, so we’ll go ahead and insert a column to the right, and then we can use one of our search operators, which we’ve got a video on search operators to help us pull that data over.

So I am going to go ahead and zoom this in, create that new column. I am going to do equals import XML, select my column over here, and tell it I want the title tag from these pages and hit enter.

So as you can see, here are all of our title tags, and Google’s going to pull that data here into Sheets using that same method right here. So over here, we’ve got our clicks and our impressions, we’ve got our click-through rate, and we’ve got our SERP positions. The next thing I’d want to do after I have this column of title tags is I want to create one more. And I want to create target term or topic. Right?

This is where I’m going to put what I’m actually trying to rank this page for. Now you can do this with your favorite SEO tool, if you’ve been tracking it in there and rank tracking. Or if you just want to actually use your brain for a little bit and go through these and say, “This is what I’m actually trying to target this page with. This is what I’m trying to rank this page for.” So specifically this would be “structured data generator”. That would be the target term.

So after you go through your entire list and you’ve added some of your target terms and you’ve got your titles up here, you’ve got a list of things that you can work on. Now, what I like to do is go over here and look at my impressions and my clicks and my overall positioning.

So we can see all that right here because we imported it straight from search console. And let’s say I want to create some better title tags in order to improve the clicks and impressions for these targeted terms. As you can see,…

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