SEO is not just about one technique or strategy. To be successful with SEO, you need to take a holistic approach. That means optimising everything effectively, right down to the smallest details – including the title tags.
The title tag of each web page is an important SEO element and one you need to get right.
Optimising your title tags every time you publish a new page is an important part of an ongoing SEO strategy. While it will not suddenly give your overall SEO a huge boost, it does play a role.
Here is everything you need to know to optimise your title tags effectively.
What Are Title Tags?
Title tags appear on every web page of your site. They are HTML tags, and they go in the head section of the page.
Sometimes a title tag is created automatically when you publish a page. However, depending on the CMS you are using, you can often edit the title tag. This is possible in most content management systems like WordPress.
When you publish a web page, you can often see the title tag in the browser, and it usually appears in the search results as well. When your page shows up, the link is usually the title tag – but this is not always the case. Google chooses what it thinks is most relevant, and this may or may not be the title tag.
Also, when you share a page on a social network like Facebook or Twitter, the title tag is commonly used.
The title tag provides the reader with information about the page. It is a brief overview of what they can expect to find on that page, so it’s very important for the reader.
But it is also important for the search engines. Google uses the title tag as a ranking signal, albeit a relatively small one, so it can have an impact on your search rankings.
It’s therefore important to start creating title tags properly, so here are some of the factors to consider to optimise them.
Use Natural Language
It’s important to use natural language in your title tags. That means a short sentence that the reader can understand immediately rather than a string of keywords stuffed in to try and improve your rankings.
You need to make sure that your title tags are easy to read because one of the most important roles of the title tag is to get across the key information that you want to communicate. Someone should ideally be able to read the title tag and instantly know what the page is about.
Keywords are important, as with any type of SEO content. Ideally, choose your main keyword (or keyword phrase) for that page after carrying out keyword research, and use it in the title, preferably near the start. This will help the search engines to understand what the most important keyword is for the page.
Using the keyword in the title tag also has another benefit. If someone searches for your keyword and your page shows up in the search results, the fact that the keyword is in the title helps it to stand out. This may increase the likelihood that the searcher will notice your link and click on it.
Think About the Reader First
While the title tag is a ranking factor, it is not going to have a huge impact on its own. It’s therefore important to focus on the readers when you create your title tags.
That means people discovering your content via the search results, or people who come across it via social media.
If your title tag does not attract readers, it’s not going to get read. If this happens, there is less chance that your content will get shared, and it will also attract fewer backlinks as a result.
So make your title tags compelling and enticing. Create a title that draws the reader in and encourages them to explore the content further. Only by doing this will you get more people to read your content.
As long as the content is of a high quality, you should get more shares and links – and these are what give your content more chance of ranking over time.
Get the Length Right
The length of the title tag is not hugely important, but it does play a role. So it’s worth optimising the length even if the benefits are not enormous.
60 characters is a good length to stick to. Your title tag can be slightly longer or shorter, but 60 is a good average to go for.
How much of the title Google displays depends on the device the searcher is using. If they are using a mobile device, more of the title will normally show up compared to when they use a desktop. This is usually up to around 75 characters. But if you want your title to show up properly on all devices, about 60 is a better length.
If it’s too long, it will not show up properly in the search results or when sharing it on social. It’s usually best that the reader sees your whole title because this helps them to decide whether to click on it or not.
However, it’s impossible to say exactly how many characters Google will show. It shows as many as can fit into a width of about 600 pixels, so this can vary depending on the words used.
Another benefit of shorter titles is that they are easier to scan. Most people will simply scan headlines and determine in a few seconds whether they want to click on them or not.
If you really cannot make your title short enough, don’t worry too much. But it’s one of those things you want to try and get into the habit of doing.
Don’t Use the Same Title Tag Twice
It’s easy to use the same title tag over and over again, but this is a shortcut that you should avoid. You should always ensure that your title tags are unique. After all, every page is unique, so the title tag should be too.
This might be harder to do with pages on your website that are very similar, but it’s worth making the effort.
Make Your Title Tags Work Harder
Optimising your title tags will not suddenly send your pages soaring up the rankings. But like any other ranking signal, they are still important. Boosting your search rankings is about doing everything you can to ensure your pages stand the best chance of ranking, and your title tags play a role in this. Get them right, and you will be giving your overall SEO strategy a boost.
Focus on creating short, relevant, compelling title tags for all your web pages and blog posts. Consider rewriting them if your pages are still not performing as you expect them to. Something as simple as changing your tags really could be all it takes to give your rankings a boost.
But perhaps most importantly, make sure the content is worthy of the title. A great title still won’t do much for your SEO if your content is thin. As you probably know, the best way to rank higher in the search engines is to get more links and shares. And while a good title tag is important for both of these, it isn’t fooling anyone if your content is weak.