In this post, you’re going to learn how to create perfect title tags for SEO so that your pages rank higher in Google.
This post also includes:-
- What a title tag is
- Why they are so important
- How to craft Google-friendly titles
- How to use keywords and branding in your titles
- Title tag examples
- Get your hands on a free title tag infographic
- And lots more..
So let’s dive in and get started!
In your quest for top rankings, there are many elements of a web page that need optimising.
One of the most important is the meta title tag.
Title tags not only help the page rank well for your chosen keywords but will also help the page to stand out in the search results, encouraging people to click through to your website.
So it is fair to say that knowing how to create the perfect title tag is a prerequisite to publishing any web page and having it rank well in the organic search results.
Although the title tag is only one small element of the SEO process, it’s still a major ranking factor and getting it right can really help to move your page up the SERPS towards that illustrious #1 spot.
The following post will help you to understand the meta title tag better and how to get the most out of it when optimising your pages for both users and search engines.
But first things first. Let’s just take a moment to clarify what a web page title tag actually is.
What is a meta title tag?
The meta title tag is an HTML code element, which is used to describe the contents of the page to both web users and search engines.
The main meta tags of a page are usually the title tag, meta description and meta keywords.
The meta tags are not displayed on the web page itself, however, the content is displayed in the search results. Meta tags are used primarily to tell a search engine what the page is about.
The format of a meta title tag would look something like this.
<title>Your page title here</title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Rob is an SEO expert in Kent specialising in Search Engine Optimisation. Get to #1 on GOOGLE with my organic SEO. No Contracts – Established 14 Years.”/>
Main page content
The code snippet above contains all the basic and fundamental HTML tags of a typical web page.
The section we are interested in is the bolded title tag.
When the page is fetched and rendered by the browser, the contents of the title tag are displayed on the tab in the user’s browser.
When a search engine spider or bot crawls a page it will pass all of the code on that page and use the contents of the title tag to display it in the search results like so.
Why are title tags so important?
As the title tag is displayed in the search engine results pages (SERPS), in the user’s browser tab and when a page is shared via social media, it is important to get your title tags right.
A descriptive title tag that stands out can help to improve click-through rates to your site.
If the title tag is well focused and the content on the page is well aligned with the title tag, users are more likely to stay on the page longer.
This, in turn, sends the right signals to Google and as a result, may give your page a rankings boost.
When people link to your page or share your page via social media sites, the title tag will often be displayed.
Fundamentally though, the title tag should be short, descriptive and tell your audience about the content of the page and what they should expect to find there.
Where do I find the title tag?
The title tag is an HTML mark-up tag that is placed in the <head> section of a web page as outlined previously.
How you edit your title tags will depend on whether you are using a content management system or not.
If you are using WordPress, you will in most cases be able to edit the page and use the Yoast SEO plugin to make your changes.
If you don’t use a content management system, you will need to download the page via FTP and then edit it using an HTML editor. Some web hosting control panels may also allow you to do this directly.
Your page titles need to be unique
Every page on your site ideally needs to have a unique title.
This will tell Google and other search engines that your page is distinct, of value and worthy of being ranked.
Even if you have a site with thousands of pages, modern CMS systems make it easy to auto-generate data-driven titles.
For example, if you have an eCommerce store, auto-generated title tags with the format [product name] – [product category] – [Brand Name] is the norm and saves you time.
What is the correct length of a page title?
Every web page should have a unique and descriptive title that fully describes the topic of the page to both users and search engines.
The content of the page that the user ends up visiting, should be well aligned with the keywords provided in your title tag.
As a rule, a title should contain between 50-60 characters. This is the number of characters that Google will typically show in the search results. Any longer, and Google will truncate or snip your title tag, which isn’t desirable.
Put your primary and secondary keywords in your title tag
When a user searches for something in Google the search engine will display approximately 10 of the most relevant and authoritative results for that query.
Google will usually show the URL first, followed by the page title and then the meta description like in the example below.
In some cases, Google may choose to create a dynamic title of its own from the content on the page and use this in place of your title tag if it feels that it would be more appropriate.
Your meta description may also be replaced if Google feels other words on the page may be a better match to the searcher’s query.
The majority of the time though, your title tag will be shown as you intended it to be.
The importance of placing your main keywords in the title tag of a page was highlighted by Brian Dean of Backlinko who after analysing over 1.8 Million Google search results found that “most title tags on the first page of Google contain all or part of the keyword that they rank for“.
Image Credit: Backlinko
In his report, Brian said, “It appears that a keyword-rich title tag may be a ‘ticket to entry’ that can help you get to the first page.
“However, once you’re on the first page, using the exact keyword in your title doesn’t appear to help you climb the rankings. That’s where other factors (like backlinks, user experience signals and Domain Authority) appear to play a large role.”
So by placing your most important keywords at the front of your title tag, you give the page a much better chance of ranking well for those keywords.
Title tags and branding
In most cases, you will want to include your brand at the end of the title.
This helps with brand awareness and can help your listing to stand out in the search results.
Below you can see SEO Pro Kent in one of my pages listed on Google.
As the title is the most prominent part of a search result listing, it makes perfect sense to take the opportunity to emphasise your brand.
Title tag examples
So now we have discussed what a title tag is along with other requirements, let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
Generally, you will have a few types of pages, including business pages, blog posts/articles, category pages and eCommerce product pages.
As a rule of thumb, you will want to target your two biggest broad keywords in the title tag. These will be the search terms that drive the most traffic to your site.
The following format is generally recommended for a business style page.
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword – Brand Name
<title>Driving Lessons Canterbury – Driving School – Drive Smart</title>
So in this example, your most important keyword would have the most prominence and be at the front of the title tag, followed by your secondary keyword next followed by your brand name.
Alternatively, you could have something like the following which combines your primary keyword with your USP (Unique Selling Point)
<title>Driving Lessons Canterbury – First Lesson Free – Drive Smart</title>
<title>Driving Tuition Canterbury – Lessons From £20 – Drive Smart</title>
So as you can see, all the examples above are below the 60 character limit so won’t be truncated in the search results and contain either primary/secondary or primary/USP.
If you are targeting local traffic, then entering a City or Town in the title tag can help you to rank for those local geographical searches.
You will also have the option of placing your USP in your meta description.
It is all about trial and error. Just make sure that your title tag is descriptive and fully describes the content of the page.
A word of warning. Do NOT stuff your title tag with keywords like so.
<title>Red Widgets, Blue Widgets, Widgets For Sale – Widgets 4U</title>
This could lead to Google rewriting your title tag, which isn’t what you want. Avoid the spammer mentality and think about user experience at all times!
Although many people think that title tags are a basic element of SEO, they tend to forget just how important they are and the weight they carry in the process of ranking a web page.
A well-crafted title tag will not only give you a big boost, but will also make the page stand out in the search results and highlight your brand to potential customers.
For most industry’s the SERPS will be full of competitors vying for top spot. By taking some time over your title tags and focusing on your most profitable keywords, you will potentially attract more organic search traffic.
With the introduction of the RankBrain algorithm, Google now uses click-through data to rank websites and push them higher in the search results. It is therefore prudent to use every character in the title as efficiently as possible to give yourself every opportunity to leapfrog your competitors.
Do you now feel more confident about optimising your title tags for SEO? If so, please feel free to comment below or share this post.
If you need a helping hand with your digital marketing efforts and are looking for a kent based SEO company, contact us for a friendly informal chat about how we can help to drive more traffic and leads to your website.
I have created a handy infographic that you can use as a reminder for when creating your title tags. Feel free to share as you wish and provide an attribution link back where possible.