How to Write Great Website Title Tags - 10 Tips
Increase Organic Search Click-Through With Compelling Title Tags
Writing a title tag that grabs a searcher's attention and boosts page rank isn't a difficult feat. Once you know the basics, you'll be on your way to increased page rank, higher click through rates, and happier web visitors.
I've put together a list of 10 tips for writing a better webpage title tag ('title element' in HTML terms). You need to remember that title tags aren't just about search engine optimization. This is the best chance you have to entice a searcher. Just in case you've been getting to caught up in perfecting SEO, remember that the actual people searching for your content aren't google bots.
1. Grab Your Searcher's Attention
First and foremost, write your title tag so that it stands out and convinces a viewer that the content they're searching for is right beyond your link; they absolutely must see it.
Sometimes, it's easy to get lost in the notion that you should be writing page titles that are keyword optimized. Yes, your keyword should be in the name of the page but it doesn't need to consumer it. Remember, the google page rank algorithm isn't clicking on your link, an actual human being is.
- pose a question
- leave them wanting more
- use language that feels familiar to the type of person searching for the content on your page (know your audience)
- tell them you have the answer
I always recommend testing different styles of title tags across your site. With your next few posts or articles, try using different techniques (questions, answers, off-the-wall crazy, etc) and
- see how they rank compared to one another and
- how many click throughs you get relative to the search traffic for that particular phrase or keyword.
2. Describe the Page and its Purpose
This is the next most important aspect to keep in mind when writing a page title. If you're writing about how to bake a chicken, tell viewers you're going to teach them how to make the best tasting chicken they've ever had.
Don't make the page title "How to Adjust Temperature According to Chicken Weight" if a majority of that particular page is actually about the start to finish process. Not only are you going to rank lower for the overall content of your page, you're going to have higher bounce rates since the content that title conveys isn't going to be the first thing a viewer sees.
In other words, don't deceive people into clicking on your link (even if the title accurately describes a small, lower level portion of the page content)
3. Avoid Using Your Website Name Everywhere
One of the common mistakes I see smaller blogs and websites make is the use of their website name in every page title tag. Unless you're a well known brand, don't waste the limited space of a title tag with your company or blog name. i.e. 'Tommy's Hardware Store' doesn't carry the same brand recognition and inherit recognizability as 'Home Depot'
First, it's very likely no one knows what "Marketing by Aaron" means or have any level of trust with my brand. The same goes with your lesser known site.
Second, your title tag length is extremely limited, concentrate on writing great titles that will convert to clicks. If you absolutely think that I'm wrong here and feel the need to bog every title down with a branded name, stick it at the end, in a portion normally cut off by search engines.
Caveat: If you are running a niche commence site such as Etsy or Threadflip, it's fine to include your company name in the title tag. In these instances, visitors become familiar with the type of products sold and may be looking for one of a kind, or unique items. Similarly, community sites–such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest–that are user based with unique content created by their members should try to fit their brand name within the title tag of most pages.
4. Keep Title Elements Under 65 characters
While there's no official number of characters (this includes spaces) Google displays in search results, it's safe to follow the below guidelines. The most important take away here is that you should get your most important keywords and attention grabbing language out first because you can never count on anything over 65 characters showing up 100% of the time.
- Titles under 50 characters are extremely likely to appear in their entirety
- Title sections between 51-65 characters will most likely show up in search results
- Everything between 66-79 characters will probably display fully in search
- If you're going over 79 characters, it's highly likely that search engines will not display anything beyond that point.
Say what you've got to say immediately and include other relevant information after you've accurately described the contents of your page. I don't recommend going over 79 characters.
5. Don't Cram Keywords
Another mistake many SEO-happy web writers make is the overcrowding of keywords. If this is you, take note. Not only does it look like garbage when your title is a run-on repeat of the same keyword, it's also a signal to Google that you're trying too hard. In turn, it could actually damage your site's page rank.
When you're writing title tags around a keyword, don't overdo it. Include it once and make it understandable to a reader who is searching for the information you're presenting.
Consider a bad example of how I could've written the title tag for this page: "Write Title Tags - Best Title Tags for SEO - Understand meta Title Tags"
If that's something you saw in search results, I'm betting you'd have never clicked on this post. Not only does it sound spammy, it decreases reader trust and actually hurts your SEO.
That said, if you have room and want to better optimize your site for a keyword, use a synonym in conjunction with your target keyword instead of repeating the same key phrase multiple times. e.g. Google thinks "bake" and "cook" mean the same thing so if you're writing an article about how to make a chicken it's perfectly fine to title your page: "How to Bake a Delicious Chicken - Secret Cooking Techniques"
One of the easiest ways to find keyword synonyms is by doing a google search for the term you want optimized. In the search results, Google will bold any word or phrase it thinks means the same thing as your keyword.
6. Avoid Stops Words
Stop words in SEO (a, the, an, is, be, etc) waste precious title character space. As you're writing, try to remove them from the title tag or rework the name so that you need as few as possible.
In our normal speaking language, we use stop words all the time so it's pretty easy to overcrowd a title tag. If it helps, write your title tag with stop words, then go back and revise it to eliminate them and free up room for more attention grabbing phrases.
Consider this example:
- (contains too many stop words): This Page will Show You How To Write the Best Title Tags for Your Website"
- (eliminating stop words): How to Write Great Website Title Tags - 10 Must Know Tips
With the second example, I eliminated stop words and was able to fit more relevant phrases into the title tag. Consider stop words in a page name equivalent to the fluff and flowery language a professor reading an essay would frown upon.
7. Make Your Title Tag Unique
While this might seem obvious to some, you want every page title on your website to be unique. Don't write 5 posts on SEO Optimization and call them all "SEO Optimization Tips." Even adding "Part-1, 2, 3, etc" might not be enough.
Not only does it create confusion for a reader trying to get back to your webpage, it increases competition for page rank within your own site.
Take the time to write interesting, click drawing titles for every page on your site.
8. Don't Repeat Yourself
This goes hand in hand with the keyword cramming problem some people run into. When you're trying to optimize a title tag for a particular phrase, don't use the same word twice. A reader already knows your page is about Keyword X, so don't waste space and use Keyword X again.
Additionally, repeating non-keywords multiple times (e.g. I could have used the word "writing" twice in my title tag) may increase your page rank for a topic you weren't initially shooting for at all. That, in turn lowers the value of your page for the phrase you were trying to rank for.
9. See What Your Competitors are Doing
What's the best way to determine great ways for writing a title tag around your keyword? Search the phrase you want to optimize for in Google. What are the top 3 results? How are the titles displayed?
Once you've got an idea of how your particular internet field is working, improve upon their established, high ranking techniques.
Every industry is different and has widely varying levels of competition:
- someone trying to rank for "Comic Book Heroes of the 60's" might see some horribly written titles ranking high (good for you, this low competition makes it that much easier to beat out the other pages and rank number one).
- whereas, someone trying to rank for "SEO best practices" is going to have an incredibly difficult time ranking on the first, second, even third page. After all, these people talking about SEO, know SEO better than anyone else (the proof is in the rank).
Disclaimer: I'm not suggesting you straight copy your competitors title tag. Not only does it devalue your content in page rank, I'd call it stealing and I wouldn't be caught trying to copy big name website title tags. I'm no lawyer but I'd think there could be legal repercussions. Be creative and come up with your own content.
10. Know Your Audience
And finally, make sure you have a firm understanding of your audience. Take a step back and ask yourself:
- What words would someone searching for my page use to find the content I'm providing?
- Will people type phrases and questions into the search box or one-word keywords?
- Will my searchers be using technical jargon or is my page geared more toward layman readers? e.g.
- lawyer vs attorney
- doctor vs physician
- Be mindful of region specific language:
- pop vs soda
- In Michigan, anyone living in the lower part of the state calls traveling further north in the state "going up north"###li/li###
- What are your searcher demographics?
- Does your content appeal to a broad range of people?
- Are a majority of your web visitors women in their 30's?
As you come to know your audience better, you'll be more likely to create title tags and content that drive clicks, keep people reading, and add value to to your website that could translate into more revenue.
Read More About Title Tags and Elements from the Industry Experts
Moz: Title Tag - Learn SEO
W3Schools: HTML Title Tag
Search Engine Watch: How to Write Title Tags For Search Engine Optimization
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