What is a title tag? Well, a title tag is an HTML element built into a web page that describes that page’s contents in a way that search engine crawlers can understand. The title tag of your website is one of the primary elements that search engine crawlers look at when they are evaluating your page’s relevance to a search term or when indexing pages. So, it’s kind of a big deal. Title tags are also used on search engine results pages to give readers an idea of what the page is about. They are important to both social sharing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) aspects of website management. The title tag of your website should be an accurate and concise description of the page’s content (nor more than 60 characters!) that describes both the title and theme of the content. A well-written title tag creates value in three unique areas: browsing, relevance, and search engine results.
Title Tag Optimization
Perfecting your title tags can be one of the best returns on investment because it requires minimal effort but can gain very real returns. A well-written title tag can bring more click-throughs and visitors to your website. By now, you probably know what your best keywords are, and this is definitely the time and place to use them. Just make sure that you aren’t coming across as spammy—the keywords you’re utilizing in your title tag should seem like a natural part of the wordflow, not something you hammered in to get more hits. It doesn’t necessarily matter whether your keywords get worked in at the beginning or end of your title tag, as long as they are present in an organic and natural way before the 60-word cutoff. Your title tag should be giving your potential customers a description of what they can expect as a visitor to your website.
Here are a few tips you can employ to optimize your title tags:
Be Clear and Concise.
- A good tip to remember here is that accuracy is important. Since your title tags are the measure by which all search engines will be sorting your website from the others, it is not a time to wander off topic. Search engines use title tags as a relevancy factor to describe your page in their search algorithms, so you don’t want to appear like you’re keyword stuffing or spamming.
Don’t Overdo It.
- Choose your keywords carefully. There’s no need to force every keyword into your title tag, and you shouldn’t try to focus on more than a couple keywords per page. By breaking things up into multiple topics and pages, you are allowing search engines to determine the topic and relevancy of your page more easily.
First Impressions are Important.
- Old advice, but still good. Your title tag may provide the very first impression that a potential customer has for your website, so be sure to leave a good first impression. It doesn’t matter how cool your website is if nobody clicks through the search engine link to see it. Studies show that the message matters, don’t lose customers because you’ve overlooked this one crucial step.
- Well, length matters, anyway. Depending on the width of the letters, and whether they are capitalized or lowercase, Google is now displaying between 55-57 characters for title tags. That’s it. That’s all you have to make a good impression, so choose your words and message carefully.
- As you write your title tags, keep in mind that a title tag should be unique for every page. If you have the same title tag for every page, it will actually hurt your SEO. Likewise, if your title tags are too long or too short, that can also hurt your SEO.
We Know SEO
All of these things can help you in optimizing your businesses website. If you don’t have the time or patience to handle your own website’s SEO, or maybe this stuff is just too far outside your comfort zone—that’s okay too! 33 Mile Radius offers a variety of optimization services that can improve the quality and content of your website, increase traffic, and generate solid leads for your business. If you visit our website, we also have an informative FAQ section, as well as blog posts and marketing tips that really work! Or you can fill out our free website analysis form, and we’ll do a free website analysis and have a phone call with you to see if there’s anything we can do to educate or help you.
Today we’re going to learn about title tags and the benefits that they bring for SEO – and also – getting more click throughs and visitors to your website. So, to show you an example, I’m going to search for the word “paint”. Your paid search ads are up top and your paid search ads are also on the right. We’re talking organic search – which is everything underneath paid search. For example, in this instance, let’s take a look at Sherwin Williams. One of the things that you’ll notice…the title tag just to be clear is the link that you’ll click on to get to the company’s website. You’ll notice for the first 3 results..the word paint. Ideally, you want to include the keywords that you are trying to rank for up front in your title tag. The other thing – so you’ll see “paint” is the first word here, “paint” is the first word here, etc (scrolling through each of the top results). Now Sherwin Williams decided to lead with their brand which isn’t a bad move if you have a really strong brand. I would argue, though, maybe you should put it at the end. You could still see it. The other things you want to consider are – you’ll notice that when you include keywords that you’re trying to rank for, Google will actually make them bold so the word “paint” is bold. Even variations like the word “paints” is bold. So, when I click on the link to access the webpage, you’ll notice that the title tag is really giving me a description of the what I should expect to see as a visitor or potential customer when I land on that page. Now, we’re going to get into a little of the technical aspects of what a title tag looks like. Right click and hit “view source”. The title tag is right there. There are some standards and best practices that you should utilize. There’s a Google document that spells out all of these best practices. I’ll share it when we transcribe the video as well. This just simple means open title and obviously this is the title tag text. And this simply means close title. Now the first letter of each word should be capitalized. You should include capitalizing the word and. If you’re going to use characters to separate words, I would use commas or even hyphens, but don’t really use the pipes. The pipes are vertical lines and aren’t really search engine friendly. What’s great about a title tag, too, is that as you write these title tags, keep in mind that a title tag should be unique for every page. If you have the same title tag for every page, it will actually hurt your SEO. If you have really short title tags or really long title tags, it’ll hurt your SEO. We’ll get into the length here in a second. One of my favorite sources for all things SEO, other than Google – Google has tons of videos, they have tons of free documents out there that I’ve been studying for the last 15-20 years. I use Moz a lot. If you go there, you’ll see that aim for title tags containing fewer than 70 characters. I would actually say between 60-70 characters. I strive for 65-70. If you go a little bit over, too, that’s not too bad. Moz says title tags longer than 70 characters may be truncated in the results. That just means basically what they’ll do – and you’ll see that – back here on Google results – you’ll see what they do is a meta description which we’ll talk about in subsequent video – but you’ll see that they put 3 little dots meaning “hey, there’s some stuff we trimmed off.” Back to Moz, you want to keep it to less than 70. I strive for 65-70, less than 70. [Update April 3, 2014: Google recently has been testing and appears to have made a change in the number of characters they are displaying for title tags. Depending on the width of the letter and whether it’s capitalized or lowercase, Google is now displaying between 55-57 characters for title tags.] One of the ways instead of going 1, 2, 3…it’s really a pain in the ..but, I simply copy my title tag. You can also use an excel formula that will show you the length. Sometimes, I will google the word character counter, paste it in, calculate characters and I can see I’m at 63 characters. Again, with all things SEO, you want to follow the best practices that are current for today’s internet. Things are always changing. SEO is a long term play. Make sure that you’re always relevant for years to come. Take the time to find unique title tags for each page. If you have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always here to help. Thank you for your time. I hope you guys have a great day.