A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a web page. Title tags are displayed on search engine results pages as the clickable headline for a given result, and are important for usability, SEO, and social sharing.
The title tag of a web page is meant to be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content. They are a major factor in helping search engines understand what your page is about, and the first impression many people have of your page. Title tags are used in three key places: Search engine results pages, web browsers and social networks. Because they are such an important part of both search engine optimization and the search user experience, writing them effectively is a terrific low-effort, high-impact SEO task.
Critical recommendations for optimizing title tags
- Google shows the first 60 to 70 characters in the search results. Make sure your important keywords occur early in the page title for scan-ability. If your title goes beyond 70 characters Google may cut off the title before 69 characters and display … at the end of your page title.
- Rather than making your page title just the keyword and/or starting your page title with the keyword, sometimes it helps to add in a descriptive modifier before your core keyword. This helps ensure your page is less likely to get filtered out of the search results (and thus makes your rankings more stable) while helping you rank for additional terms.
- Page titles are used to draw in clicks from search results amongst many anonymous competing offers, thus they present an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the competition and qualify prospects to your offer.
- Good titles evoke an emotional response, ask a question, or promise something (that the landing page fulfills).
- Since the page title is one of the few elements search engines can show searchers before sending them to your site, they place significant weight on the words in the page title. In addition, some people link to pages using their official page title as the link anchor text.
- Overlapping modifiers in a reasonable and readable way allows you improve your relevancy scores for an array of keywords, but they still need to read well. Rather than loading up page titles with a keyword list it is better to write a clear compelling offer that contains your keywords and describes your services.
- Qualifying the wrong prospective clients with a bad offer will lead to a low conversion rate, or wasting time servicing non-clients. For example, if you sell something that is high end you wouldn’t necessarily want to rank for your keyword with modifiers like cheap and discount, as servicing those people will waste your time.
- Page titles should be differentiated from page to page on your site. Unless limited by the size and scope of your site, it is best not to have all your page titles follow the exact same formula across your site. You also should not use the same keyword at or near the start of every page title.
- The format, order, and word selection of the words in your page title should be (at least slightly) different than the words in your meta description and on page headers.
- If you have a strong brand you may want to place it at the end of your page title. If you have one of the leading trusted Internet brands (Amazon, eBay, etc.) then it might make sense to place your brand at the start of the page title. In most cases the page title should still be more focused on the page copy and searcher’s intent than on your brand.
- If you blog or are creating linkbait make sure you try to create headlines that draw clicks by using magnetic headline principals.
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