In the previous post, you learned that in your WordPress site, you can set up two different titles for a single post or page – a post title (H1 heading) and an SEO title. You may be wondering, which is more important? Well, the answer is … Yes!
The SEO title shows up in search results. Its purpose is to get people to come to your website, so make it interesting and informative. You want people to click the link in the snippet preview that appears in their search, and land smack on your website. Think of it as an invitation to visit an exciting new city: ‘Visit THAT Greenville – Yes, Greenville, SC’.
The post title is an H1 heading on top of your post or page. It tells what that post or page is about, for people who are already on your website. Since you have more than one post or page, of course you’ll have multiple H1 headings. Think of them as the major attractions in the city of Greenville, SC – the Peace Center, the Zoo, Furman University, or Downtown Greenville.
How does the Yoast Plugin handle titles?
When you use WordPress to draft a post, if you have Yoast SEO installed, it uses your H1 heading (the post title) to create an SEO title for that post. You can set the plugin to also add your website’s name to this new title. Be aware, though, that even if you don’t want to add your website name to the post’s SEO title, Google will add it anyhow.
Make default settings to your site’s appearance and how each new title is created. Go to SEO > Search Appearance > Taxonomies via your Yoast dashboard. Once you have saved your title template, all of your post titles will be created in the same way. You may want to do a bit of editing to the post SEO title, though, to drop extraneous stop words. (For an explanation of stop words and suggestions for avoiding them, see ‘About’ Is A Stop Word.)
Wait. How can there be more than one kind of SEO title?
That’s a very good question! There are 2 kinds of SEO title. The first is the main one for your website. The second is the SEO post title (or page title, if you will, but for simplicity we’ll just call it a post title). In the case of a post, the actual post title and the post SEO title could turn out to be the same.
But you don’t really want that to happen. For one thing, that means that you’d be confusing both searchers and crawl spiders if you have both titles the same. It’s kind of a dead end, especially if your post refers to a product. So, you want to use your focus keywords to differentiate the post from the overall website.
In this case, perform your due diligence in keyword research before you even start to write your post. Decide on the best keywords for your subject and weave them into the post title.
To illustrate, Greenville SC > Downtown Greenville would be the breadcrumb trail that leads to the description of what you can find in Greenville’s campy downtown area. So, one could search ‘coffee shops in downtown Greenville’ or ‘Greenville boutiques downtown’. With the right titling, people will end up on the right page, and then they’ll come to the right place for a perfect latte.
For other Greenville attractions, or to find out more about the difference between your post title and your SEO title, give me a shout!