Microsoft hits the nail on the head with its commercials for its new search engine, Bing – the “Search Overload” so cleverly depicted therein resonates with people because we all know exactly what they’re talking about. The search results listings we see day in & day out are cluttered with content disguised as human-readable but engineered to butter up search engines.
Our growing familiarity with these tactics is contributing to people’s shrinking attention spans when it comes to search results – while folks used to dig through three pages of results and beyond, now the majority never make it past the first few listings, let alone the first page. (Of course, the quality of search engines themselves has a lot to do with that – they’re now so much better at returning the most relevant results right off the bat that we web users can slack off.)
How This Can Help Your SEO
With users investing less time in search engine results, SEO specialists need to work harder to make an impact and FAST. For example, you’re not going to make an impact with a title that’s nothing more than a list of keyphrases that trails off in an elipsis. But even when keeping the title tag succinct enough to display in its entirety, a key challenge remains – optimize for maximum keyword density & coverage… or sacrifice some real estate for a more “click-through-friendly” title?
With search engine algorithms broadening their criteria and placing more and more emphasis on off-page factors such as in-bound link structure & source, the title tag’s function as a marketing tool is becoming increasingly important. Microsoft’s Bing commercials highlight the need to cut through the clutter & get to the point. Build a great site, continue to consistently produce great content in a timely manner, and write title tags which are intelligent yet succinct. Don’t abandon keyword targeting – put it in the context of what’s most helpful to users who are sick of “search overload”… but still want to find what they’re looking for.