Arguably, one of the most important tasks of On-Page optimization is crafting the perfect Title Tag for each page of your website. Not only does it impact how that page ranks on the search results page, but it’s also your first communication with a prospective customer. It’s your opportunity to stand out from the other listings on the page and make a connection that brings that individual from the search engine to your website!
Crafting title tags is an art that you’ll improve at it the more you write and test different titles, and then use analytics to learn which ones increase your click-through rate (CTR) and engagement metrics.
The Key Elements of Writing a Winning Title Tag:
- The Length: There are 2 methods of measuring the optimal length, characters and pixels. I prefer to use the pixel method as it more closely aligns with the container size that Google displays. Try to stick to no more than 60 characters or 580 pixels. You can go longer, but odds are Google with truncate your title. A great online tool I’ve used for years to create new title tags is provided by ToTheWeb.
- Include your most important key term or phrase at the beginning, or as close to the start of the tag as possible.
- Be descriptive and above all, be different. See what your closest competitors have for their titles and try to be stand out.
- Studies show that including numbers (#1, 2020, etc.) does grab attention and increases CTR, but try to be truthful with any claims of being #1 🙂
- If there are different terms that can describe your business, use a tool like Google Trends to see if one is searched more than the others. Below you can see there is a difference between “digital marketing”, “online marketing” and “internet marketing”.
A few additional Title Tag Writing Tips:
- Don’t keyword stuff. It looks spammy and can create a negative impression with searchers.
- Craft a unique title for each page – duplicate titles will hurt your SEO
- The title should relate to the purpose and content on that page
- Be careful with templated titles in CMS’ such as WordPress. It’s very easy for these titles, especially for posts, to exceed the recommended length.
- For large sites use a tool like Screaming Frog SEO Spider to crawl your site and then export the results into an Excel file. It’s easier to identify duplicates, missing titles, and to update all of your titles and descriptions this way.
- If you use a platform such as MOZ or SEMrush, be sure to check regularly for any errors or recommendations related to the title tag.
- Title tags do not have to be stagnant! Don’t be afraid to change and test new page titles and measure the results. There is no penalty for changing a page’s title, and I find most changes appear in Google with 1-2 days typically.
- The key metric to pay attention to when evaluating a title tag is the CTR, which is found in your Google Search Console. If your title resonates with people you should see a higher CTR.
Title Tags are just one element of On-Page SEO, which in turn is just one element in a fully optimized website. Off-page (linking building) and Technical SEO together with On-Page, comprise the fundamentals of SEO.
One final note on Title Tags… Google and Bing will ultimately decide what they display as the title for your web page. Sometimes they will decide not to use what you provided in the Title Tag or will add elements of what you provide to your brand name, or they will create their own title from content on the page. This normally happens when the search engine has determined the title you created is not accurate, is keyword-stuffed, or violates some other rule or best practice.
Learn more about Search Engine Optimization