I'm going to show you how you can quickly and easily optimize your website page titles to generate more links through social sharing which will help drive more visitors to your website. In fact, in most cases, you can make this one simple change in less than 30 seconds.
Optimized Page Titles Are Important To Sharing Content On Twitter
The increased popularity of social networks has led to a major growth in the amount of content being shared through social media sites like Twitter.
Twitter has 243.7 million registered accounts sharing 11 million updates per month source: TweetReports
Twitter's awareness among the 12+ demographic is at 92% source: Edison Research
Small businesses doubled their use of Twitter in 2010 source: emarketer
Social media updates from Twitter are now more fully integrated into Google search results source: Google Blog
Those links can also mean more leads for your business and a lower cost per acquisition.
Note: For the purposes of this article, I'm assuming you already have an understanding of what a page title is, how it's generated, and how you can customize it.
How to Optimize Your Website Page Titles To Generate More Links To Your Website
There are three things to do in creating optimized page titles for sharing on Twitter that will create more links pointing to your website.
1. Make It Easy For Reader's To Share Your Content
If you want people to share your content, you need to make it easy for them to do so.
I can't stress this enough. If you don't have options on your website that makes it one-click easy for readers to share your content, then you need to do that right now! Otherwise, the following information won't help you.
There are many sharing services, widgets and plugins available that are incredibly easy to add to your site. Don't worry about picking the "right" one, just pick one and start using it.
Now that you have sharing options available on your site, it's important to understand the character limits of a Twitter update (tweet), how those limits affect Retweets (when someone shares your tweet with others) and the ability to include more links.
2. Know The Optimal Page Title Length
When writing optimized website page titles for sharing, it's important to take into consideration character length limits.
Twitter Update Character Limits
Twitter has a 140 character limit — including spaces and links, even if the link is shortened.
If you use a URL shortener like bit.ly, you can estimate the link taking up 21 characters (the link plus one space before it). That leaves 119 characters for your page title.
Page Title (119 char.) + Shortened link (21 char.)
For sharing purposes, you want people to be able to Retweet your content without the message being cut off. Since the maximum character length for a Twitter username is 15 characters, you need to subtract another 21 characters:
Here's the breakdown for how we came to 21 characters:
2 characters for the "RT" which signifies that the message is a Retweet.
+ 1 for the space
+ 1 for the "@" symbol
+ 15 (max) for the Twitter username
+ 1 for the colon symbol
+ 1 for the trailing space before the actual message
And yes, before you ask, using "RT" is the old school method of Retweeting a Twitter update. But it is still widely used. And if we take into consideration a worse case scenario, we'll always know there's ample space remaining for sharing.
This is what a old school Retweeted update looks like in TweetDeck. Please also note the article title being shared. I'll come back to that shortly.
So, after we subtract 21 characters for the Retweet information and 21 characters for the shortened link, we're left with 98 characters for the page title.
Retweet info (21) + Page Title (98) + Shortened link (21) = 140 characters
Keeping this 98 character page title limit in mind, it's also important to note that from a search engine optimization (SEO) standpoint, Google only shows the first 60 to 70 characters of a page title in their search results. So if you're able to keep your main page title to 70 characters, you'll achieve a great page title length for both SEO and social sharing.
Page Title (70) + Shortened link (21) = 91 characters
But wait, there's more…
Now that we understand an optimal page title length, let's move on to the most important part on how to add more links to your website — by branding your page titles.
3. Brand Your Page Titles To Increase Links
Let's face it, branding is really important.
As such, including your brand name into your page titles helps increase brand awareness.
The biggest question then becomes, should you include your actual brand name or your website URL into your page titles?
Whether you decide to use your brand name or website URL, make sure you do not add it as the first part of your page title. That's a big SEO mistake because more emphasis is placed on keywords appearing at the beginning of a page title.
The best practice is to place your blog/company/brand name/URL at the end of your page title. It will give you the most benefit without taking anything away from your SEO efforts.
Example of Page Title with Website Name
When this page is shared on Twitter in TweetDeck, the update will look like this;
Two good things about this page title are;
1. Total update length is 106 characters — leaving 34 spaces for extra sharing like this;
2. The site name is included at the end of the page title which helps increase brand awareness.
But it does nothing to add more links pointing to their website.
The Secret To Creating More Clickable Links To Your Website
Instead of using your brand name, use your site URL in your page title.
Example #1: Social Media Examiner
If Social Media Examiner used their URL instead of just their website name in their page title, the Twitter update would look like this;
Looking at the tweet, you'll see that the URL was automatically converted into a link to their site!
Now it includes one link to their blog post (the shortened URL) plus one link to their home page. And it only added two characters to the total length.
That's a huge benefit.
Since Social Media Examiner is an online business, I imagine their goal is to drive people to their website. In which case, using their URL instead of the word separated name would help them do that.
Example #2: NYTimes.com
Here's an example of the New York Times using a URL in page titles instead of their formal, word separated name.
About These Examples
I use TweetDeck examples for how this technique works because it converts URLs into links with the least amount of effort. So simply adding a domain extension to the end of a word (like Book.com) is automatically converted it into a link. Given that 5.5% of Twitter users (over 13.4 million people) use TweetDeck, if only those users see the website URL as a link, you receive the benefit of generating extra links to your website. That's pretty significant.
Outside of TweetDeck feeds of Twitter updates used on other web sites also sometimes convert URL's into clickable links. But I believe it's just a matter of time before all social sharing sites start auto converting without the need for "www" or "http://"
As you can see, a very simple change to your page titles can give you a boost in extra links. And by understanding the length parameters for a twitter update, you can't optimize and adjust your article titles to give you the maximum social sharing benefit.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Have you tested different page title lengths or using a brand URL instead of just a name?
President and creative strategist of Kristof Creative. We help businesses increase leads and lower costs by integrating their current traditional marketing efforts into the online space so they work as a single, cohesive marketing tool.