How to write title tags for SEO
The SEO magic potion includes different components. Most of them are enigmatic, but some are well-know, although, ignored by plenty of webmasters. One of these non-secret elements is title tag which is considered as a significant ranking signal for Google. Being fully aware of its importance, let’s take a loupe and examine all the tiny details of this magical component.
If you know a little about on-page SEO and are lost in what tag is the title one, here is a hint for you. Any title tag is always written inside the <head> area of your site’s HTML:
This little page element does huge work. It kills two birds with one stone by representing a page to two most interested sides – human users and search engines. First ones see it via SERPs and for the second side title tag is needed to build keyword relevance. The keywords included to this tag are highlighted in results provided by a search engine. Also, the content of it shows up in a browser tab and in the case when a site is externally shared.
A title tag is shown in a source code of an HTML document. Also you can see it as the title of a document when you open some page in your browser. It will be in its title bar which is at the top. In SERPs it is presented as a snippet and may be used as a link anchor text for social networks and other external website.
How to create a great title
First, let’s analyse the role of a page title using analogy. Imagine that you are at the zoo market to sell kittens. There are a lot of sellers already and they have cute fluffy kittens as well. Your aim is to attract potential customers by creating catchy signboard. What words would you use to make people stop when they pass by, and ask to sell them a kitten? So your signboard should evoke curiosity as it is the very start point of any kind of conversions. Don’t be shy and specify tangible advantages of your kittens, benefits that people are getting with buying one of the fluffy purring balls. Also, it is better to add a few words that can excite potential consumers to the the signboard. Avoid writing something that isn’t true, as a title on the board should be relevant to what you sell, the kittens.
It may seem pretty funny but rules with kittens and signboard for them perfectly work with title tag as well.
When writing it you must keep them requirements in mind.
Curiosity itself is built-in to humans brain. It is one of those main reasons why people actually use search engines. Few titles may have different level of curiosity. For example, if you want to learn Spanish in the best way possible, you will definitely like the second result, even though it is lower in the SERP. Such title would make users click it as it doesn’t only catch eye and tell you how to solve the language problem, but also has a quick solution by providing a list of apps.
Next important element of efficient title tag is a presence of the words that can excite to interest. There are tons of them. Here are some examples: surprising, amazing, fabulous, tempting, unexpected, insanely, etc.
Next essential factor is the strong match that your title makes with a page’s content. The first thing that should be immediately checked is if the title is relevant to the content. Put yourself to the user’s side, would you receive on the actual page what you was promised in the title? For example, if you promise to serve some essential information about apps that will help site visitors to learn language, then make sure you have those apps in content. Also, it looks pretty silly when someone promises to give a quick solution and, in the end, the reading of the article or watching a video takes more time than the solving of the issue itself.
How to write for search engines and human beings
Since the search engines use title tag to understand what content appears on the page, then there is a need to dynamite this tag. And since people are fairly influential component of a website’s life, then there is a need to make title tag easy to read, sound and understand. Now let’s see what we can do to mix both needs smoothly and inseparably together.
1One of the best practices is to write the title tag and also the meta description before you write the actual content. Both of them can have the same primary keyword. Remember, the simple rule for this sweet couple sounds like this: the title tag should be a stopper and the meta description – a teaser.
3After you publish a page, check how it looks at the SERP. There are situations when something may look weird and you wouldn’t like it if you were a user. Simply work on it and change it to make the best looking result.
There is also a common checklist that must be followed when a title tag is written.
- Length. There are many myths about this point. But it is better to not make it long, it should be up to 70 characters including spaces or 512 pixels wide. If it is too long, as the second of the titles on the screenshot, it will be cut off.
- Keywords. The ones that you think are the most important should be put on the first place in a title tag. But if it is created in language where sentences are read from right to left, then the position of keywords must be reversed from the least to the most important. Don’t stuff tag with keywords, remember about balance.
- Construction of the title. The most valuable phrases should be short and simple. It is considered as a standard to leave behind the words that make title read as a sentence. For example, such words as then, when, if, and, but etc.
- Company name. There are hundreds of debates on how to put it into a title tag. Some specialists say it must be included into a tag and put on the first place, but only if it is considered to be as an important one. Otherwise, SEO experts recommend to not include it. Also, you can leave it for so called branding purposes as some people click a result because they see the brand.
- Avoid the duplication. Title tags are those elements that must be written carefully and be unique. It means that all pages of a website, no matter how many there are, should have different titles.
Aside from the rules on how to write this very special on-page element there are also few symptoms that your title tag is a little bit abnormal.
- Home, Home Page or domain name. Even though the logic says it is ok to include those things, unfortunately search engines or human beings won’t appreciate it. Back to what was said before, all that them two care of is what is on a page and what it offers. Adding Home, Home page, domain will just take the space. Also I doubt you want search engines to rank your website for those words. Why do you want to put domain there if users see it after they click result of a SERP and check it? Is it more important than to tell people what you’ve prepared for them on a page?
- Too Looooong or too short. Search engines show first 70 characters and the rest will be cut off, remember? As for the second, of course short and tempting can be better than too long title tag, but it is better to use the available space to give people a hint what is hidden on the web page.
- Ignoring keywords. Title tag’s job is to give some quick information about content on a page. If you don’t add keywords into a tag, neither users nor search engines will have an idea why they should consider your page as a relevant to their needs.
- Company name and nothing else matters. No one will start a dispute on how tempting it is to include just a company name to the tag. If you think it is the best way to make your brand popular then you are so wrong. Again, business name can’t have 70+ characters or contain keywords. Searchers will just skip your site because they may not be familiar with the company.
- Ignoring the importance of being informative. Scanning of the search results takes few seconds for an average user. If first few words catch the eye then there will be visitors at your website. The way out is to put few keywords in a shipshape manner. Some people advice to write something provocative. Well, it may work but not always because most of the users have an exact aim and realize what they want to see.
Believe me or not, title tag was, is and will be one of those important components without which it is impossible to build a great SEO strategy. Always be aware of its relevance to a page content, make it interesting and exciting curiosity. Make it work for you, not against.
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