How to Create High-Performing Title Tags
Page titles are an essential component of your SEO strategy but creating an effective one may not be as simple as you think.
Knowing how to write a good page title, otherwise known as the “title tag,” is a crucial SEO skill. It’s the first thing users see in their search results and the primary indicator of your page’s topic to Google.
Although the concept is straightforward, there is more to writing a good title tag than just understanding its importance. They are more valuable than most people realize, and learning how to craft a spot-on title tag is the only way to ensure that it helps — instead of hurts — your SEO score.
Here’s what you need to know about title tags and best practices for writing ones that work.
What is a title tag?
A title tag is the HTML component used to denote the title of a webpage. Its main job is to tell users and search engines what your page is about in the clearest, most concise way possible.
In its original form, a title tag looks like this: <title>this is an example of a title tag</title>.
Because your title tags are the headlines displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs), it’s important to make them enticing enough for users to want to click through to your posts. This, subsequently, affects your pages’ click-through-rate (CTR). If your CTR is low, your SEO rankings will drop; if it’s high, you’ll rise.
In addition to CTR, Google uses the title tag to determine what your page is about, so make sure to include your focus keywords toward the beginning of the page title.
Is a title tag the same thing as an H1 tag?
While the title tag and H1 tag are both HTML tags, and they often say similar things from a copy perspective, they are not the same from an SEO perspective. The title tag is visible on SERPs and other platforms where your content is shared, like social networks. Your H1 tag, on the other hand, is the actual title displayed on your page.
It is standard practice to make your title tag and H1 tag identical or very similar for consistency because when people click on a title in the SERPs, they probably expect to see the same title on the web page. But it’s OK if they’re a little different to optimize for their different roles.
Things to remember when crafting title tags
Pay attention to character length
Google will display 50 to 60 characters before cutting off your title tag. It’s best to keep it around 55 characters, including spaces. Include the most descriptive words toward the beginning of the title where you’re sure they’ll be seen. It’s a good idea to use a preview tool to see how your title tag will look in search results and make sure it’s not truncated.
Include your target keyword
Every webpage should have a target keyword, and well-crafted title tags include it toward the beginning. This lets Google know that your page is, in fact, relevant for those searching for that term, and keywords at the beginning of the title are weighted more heavily by its search ranking algorithm.
Do not duplicate
Every page on your site should have a unique title tag that reflects the content on the page. Duplicating them is not a good idea and could affect your SEO score.
Write for your audience, not search engines
Titles should be interesting enough to capture the attention of your target audience, not just search engines. Keyword stuffing is a serious SEO no-no. When crafting titles, think about the user experience: If it looks unnatural or too mechanical, it probably is.
While we’re on the topic, also refrain from titles in all caps. Use sentence case or title case instead.
Include your brand’s name
People put a lot of trust in a brand name, and it is OK to include your brand name in the title tag as long as it fits in the total length guidelines. Many sites tack it on the end of their titles, so it displays on the page but doesn’t compromise the primary keyword. Including your name also helps with brand recognition, as users will see your title tag in the SERPs even if they don’t click on it.
Crafting intentional and strategic title tags is worth the time and effort. Think about your audience when creating your titles and remember to frequently measure their performance and improve them as necessary.
Need help crafting title tags that work? Drop us a line.