Changing a title tag...what can I expect?

by Eoon 17 replies
Hi guys, I need some Warrior wisdom...I have a pretty important page that I just realized has a flaw in the title tag, I'll need to change it sooner or later.

The change would be keeping most of the same text, but moving stuff around ...something along these lines:

From: "18 apples tested - This is the best apple"

To : "Best apple - 18 fruit pieces tested"

Having in mind the site is young (around 8 months) what do you guys think I can expect for the ranking of the keyword group "best apples" :/
#search engine optimization #changing #expect #tagwhat #title
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  • Profile picture of the author Eoon
    anybody?
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  • Profile picture of the author expmrb
    If you have to change it than do it immediately. Search engines will keep up accordingly. It may happen that your traffic for that page may fall a bit. But if the head line serves the purpose of the post than rankings will come eventually.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eoon
    Thanks...that's pretty much my concern.

    The page is about 7 months old, already has decent rankings and is optimized for the keyword that I'd like to move from the end of the title tag to the beginning.

    I just wanted to assess the risks for the page and potential risk for the website as a whole if Google sees it as an attempt to "chase a keyword".

    It's currently ranks 10th for the main keyword ("best apples from the example above).

    It does have by far the most links from the top 10, the part I'm not sure about is how much the fact that the keyword is not at the beginning of the title tag might be holding it back.
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  • Profile picture of the author luciesmazanska
    I've completed site audits where the only thing I changed was the title tags which resulted in an increase in rankings and organic traffic.

    Make sure you don't have any keyword cannibalization going on and you should be fine.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eoon
      Hm, why does that sound familiar...have we read the same Moz page?

      c'mon...word for word?
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  • Profile picture of the author expmrb
    My point is if you have to change the title than as sooner you do it, the sooner will your rankings come back if they fell. And if its really liked by the audience than even better it will come back in no time.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    Are you getting traffic from the search engines to that page or not? If you are, don't change it. If you're not, change it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eoon
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      Are you getting traffic from the search engines to that page or not? If you are, don't change it. If you're not, change it.
      Thanks guys,

      that's one of the main pages of the site. It brings about 20% of the traffic.

      I was hoping that someone might have an experience with this kind of change...all the keywords are already there in the title tag...I'd just move them to the beginning.

      My "fear" is not a temporary drop, but some kind of a long-term algo penalty.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Brindamour
    Eoon,

    Not sure what the impact will be, they only way to find out is to test it and check your results. Always test, make sure you are using analytics.

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author ezjob
    I don't know how much it will help but with your main keyword "best apples" first, it should help your ranking some.
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  • Profile picture of the author MikeFriedman
    Bottom line is anytime you change a title tag it can have a positive or negative impact on rankings for any specific keywords. Moving your main keyword to the beginning might improve the rankings for that keyword, but there is no guarantee. It also could drop your rankings for 100 other keywords.

    There is no guarantee that things won't get worse.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    Something no one else has mentioned is what effect it may have on your click-throughs.

    The current title sounds natural. The second looks like your creating a title for Google. "18 fruit pieces tested"?

    If you have to change it, and you're willing to risk 20% of your site's traffic, don't say "fruit pieces", say "apples."

    Remember, the name of the game is targeted visitors. Ranking is only one piece of the puzzle, and no spider has ever subscribed to a list or bought anything.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eoon
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      Something no one else has mentioned is what effect it may have on your click-throughs.

      The current title sounds natural. The second looks like your creating a title for Google. "18 fruit pieces tested"?

      If you have to change it, and you're willing to risk 20% of your site's traffic, don't say "fruit pieces", say "apples."

      Remember, the name of the game is targeted visitors. Ranking is only one piece of the puzzle, and no spider has ever subscribed to a list or bought anything.

      K, the apple and "fruit pieces" thing is not really accurate because the product has 4 synonyms so let me be precise:

      The change would be from say "10 *synonym 1* tested over 8 months - this is the best *synonym 2*"

      to

      "*Best synonym 2 reviews* - 10 *synonym 1* tested over 8 months"

      ("best synonym 2" is the main keyword)

      A few things I should have mentioned:

      1) I have almost zero doubt that Time on Page and user experience for the main keyword and is superior to any of the other top 10 results.

      2) I think I mentioned this, but the page has the strongest link profile

      3) Based on what I've seen in analytics with similar pages in the past - I can (only) assume the CTR is higher with numbers at the beginning

      But I can talk the talk 'til the sun comes up, I'm still 10th and if the other 9 have something in common it's that the main keyword is at the first part of the title tag and the sites are older & better established.

      It's one of those niches where sites like Washington Post and Business Insider decided they want a piece of the affiliate cake and put together texts that are blurbs of drivel (really obvious that the writer had no idea what they were talking about) and ranked in Top 10 within a week...top 3 within a month.

      Aaaanyway I think I'll wait until I can make a better assessment on whether it's a time thing...as I mentioned, the site is something like 8 months old and the page about 7.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    I assumed that "apples" and "fruit pieces" were not the real terms. You'd be a fool to put the real ones here, and you don't sound like a fool.

    The point remains - are you willing to risk 20% of your traffic in order to climb a few spots in ranking?

    I think you are making a sound decision about waiting. I'd bet that the source (Washington Post, etc.) has much more to do with your spot than moving a keyword in the title.

    I was going to suggest cloning the page for a split test, but that would be ignoring the work you've already put in on the original.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eoon
      Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

      I assumed that "apples" and "fruit pieces" were not the real terms. You'd be a fool to put the real ones here, and you don't sound like a fool.

      The point remains - are you willing to risk 20% of your traffic in order to climb a few spots in ranking?

      I think you are making a sound decision about waiting. I'd bet that the source (Washington Post, etc.) has much more to do with your spot than moving a keyword in the title.

      I was going to suggest cloning the page for a split test, but that would be ignoring the work you've already put in on the original.
      That's not exactly what I was saying. I'd also be a fool to think that anyone believes my keywords are "apples" and "fruit pieces". I thought that was a given.

      What I was saying is that the relationship between my actual keyword is different and what I used as examples wasn't accurate - to put it simply, my keywords are synonyms, unlike "apple" and "fruit piece"...sorry for the confusion
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    If the page is getting significant traffic, I wouldn't change it. Instead, I'd create another page with good content for the other keyword phrase. There's no guarantee if you change it, then change it back it will regain its previous rank and traffic levels.


    I suggest experimenting with pages and keywords that aren't ranking and getting traffic, not with those that are.
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    • Profile picture of the author Eoon
      Originally Posted by Kurt View Post

      If the page is getting significant traffic, I wouldn't change it. Instead, I'd create another page with good content for the other keyword phrase. There's no guarantee if you change it, then change it back it will regain its previous rank and traffic levels.


      I suggest experimenting with pages and keywords that aren't ranking and getting traffic, not with those that are.
      Thanks. My thoughts exactly. I think I'm going to "clone" the page as close as I can with another keyword, wait and then change.

      This page is too important and too much work went into it, from content to building links, to just "try and see."

      thanks
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