Like all the great pairs in history (Romeo & Juliet, peanut butter and jelly, etc.), your website also has a significant other that you need to take into consideration: Search Engine Optimization. In fact, if you are a small business owner or blogger, it is essential to improve your ranking in online results. That’s how most people on the Internet get to their pages. Have you ever heard of ‘googling’ something? We think so.
Just like a great cocktail, strong SEO is a combination of many ingredients. In this post, we’ll focus on just one of them, and it’s one of the most important according to Google’s guidelines: the SEO title tag. You may have found it under many nicknames: SEO title, meta title, page title or the most commonly used title tag. In simple terms, this is the title given to each of your pages. Likewise, the title of a book or movie attracts more attention, its title tag is the first thing that users see on a results page. In addition, this is what search engines like Google and Bing initially see when crawling your site. But just filling out your title tag is not enough. You need to make sure that it is clear, descriptive and attractive.
Don’t worry, we’ll show you exactly how it’s done. So hold on to your hats as we delve into what, why and how to write a winning title tag for your website pages.
01. What is a title?
A title tag is technically a piece of HTML code used to tell search engines what the ‘name’ of your page is. Because it’s the first thing they see, the title tag is a very strong signal for search robots understand what the page is about. The title tag is part of the metadata, along with the page’s meta description. Both elements are invisible to visitors when they visit your site. However, they will appear on the search engine results pages (SERP): the blue line is the meta title or title and the brief description of the black text is the meta description.
Important note: your title tag should not be confused with your page’s H1 tag. Header tags (from H1 to H6) are the “SEO terms” for the titles and titles you place in your copy and are therefore visible to your website visitors. For example, you would use an H1 as the title of a blog post article or as the main title on a page (for example, ‘Welcome to My Site!’, Our Products’ or ‘Contact Me’). Unlike title tags, title tags are of no greater importance to your SEO.
Oh, but what’s in a name? A lot, in fact, if you’re asking Google. There are three main reasons why your title tag is important:
It is known that there are more than 200 signals that make up Google’s algorithms for ranking websites in search results. Your on-page SEO , that is, everything you can do within the structure of your pages to have a higher ranking (as opposed to what you can do “outside”, like getting backlinks or writing posts), is one of stronger signals out there. And we’ll leave you with another secret: your title tag is considered the “big cheese” of on-page optimization.
Search engine results
As we mentioned, your title appears in the search engine results. It is the most apparent text in a search result and plays a big role whether someone clicks on a result or not. Your goal is to attract as many clicks as possible to get more traffic to your website. So, another super important reason to optimize your title tag.
In addition to appearing in search results, there are two extra locations where your title tag can be seen. One is when your link is shared on social media. And the other is by hovering your mouse over your browser tab. Certainly, you want to make sure that you and your company will look good on a user’s browser tab and also on social media. (This is what Facebook is for, right?).
03. How to write a good title?
We got to the juicy part: how to win the hearts of people on the Internet and make search engines happy. So let’s do this. Here are 7 tips to make sure you are writing the best SEO title tag possible:
- Do your research
To write the best title tag, you need to find the best words. In the SEO language, we call these keywords. These are two to five word phrases that a person would type into a search box to search for you or a company like yours. A great way to find the right keywords is to think like your customer. Let’s say Jessica is a private yoga instructor in New York. A potential customer would probably type in “private yoga classes NYC” or “yoga instructor” to find it. That’s why it’s good to start with brainstorming and list all of those terms. Then, edit your list according to what is most accurate and what people are really looking for. There are tools you can use to help you check your keyword popularity and strength. For this,
Once you have your keywords, you need to place them carefully in a natural way. Like humans, bots tend to read from left to right. So, inserting your keywords at the beginning of the title tag will allow search engines to track those words more quickly. And the faster they understand the content of your page, the better. This means that the chances of your page being displayed for your keywords are greater. Score!
- Apply the best format
The main items to include in the title tag of the main pages of your website are: the name of the company or website, a keyword and, if you work in a specific area, it is a best practice to add the exact location. The process is different for blog articles, where you would optimally add a keyword and an attractive title to intrigue researchers (more on that in a moment).
For a non-blog post page , consider adding vertical bars to make your title easy to read and visually appealing:
Keyword or Page Name | Location (optional) | Company Name
Let’s look at an example:
Private yoga classes | New York | Jessica’s Yoga Studio
- Write to humans
Yes, we just told you to put your keywords in your title to please search engines. But don’t forget your most important audience – your visitors. Just like your milk to cereal ratio, you need to find the right balance when entering your keywords. I’m not sure how good it would be if you wrote ‘Yoga Classes | Private Yoga Course | Yoga Instructor ‘as the title. Overloading your title tags with keywords will dissuade people from clicking on your page. If you have other keywords that you’d like to use, your meta description is the best place to add them. It’s all about commitment.
- Check your title size
Google and Co. provide a limited amount of space to display your title. We recommend that you keep your meta title between 55 and 60 characters, including spaces. One way to reduce the length of your title is to remove all the words “stop”, such as “the”, “to”, “in”, etc. Remember, all characters count. Take a look at tools like SEOmofo to make sure your headline is the right size.
- Write exclusive titles
If all of your title tags are the same, search engine robots may be confused and will not know how to rank your pages. That is why you must write unique titles for each of your pages. I hope you already understood that a headline can actually make or break your website’s SEO.
- Make you attractive
We already mentioned the format, but we want to give you some more tips on how to embellish your title. For pages, make sure it is aesthetically pleasing, using capital letters when necessary, and watch out for typos. Nobody likes clumsiness. As for blog post titles, you want your headlines to be as captivating and clickable as possible. You can do this by adding adjectives and numbers to captivate readers. Check out this survey on most shared blog titles for inspiration. When writing both types of page titles, it’s a good idea to add your brand name at the end. This will help you look like a boss at SERP.