Our readers who were around when newsstands and bookstores were commonplace know what it was like looking for the best publication among a sea of titles.
Books and magazines would fight for your attention by coming up with compelling and thought-provoking tags or catchphrases. Chances are you’ll choose the one that resonates with you the most.
In this age of the Internet, title tags serve the same purpose. But first, your content has to be found by the search bots. Optimizing your title tags will help your content get noticed by the bots and indexed as relevant for Internet searches.
What Is A Title Tag And Why Is It Important?
A title tag is an element of HTML that establishes the title of your web page. Title tags appear on the search results page as the headline that users click on after running a search inquiry.
Title tags are important for the following reasons:
- Help search engines understand what your webpage is about.
- Create an immediate impression on the user about your webpage.
- Encourage the user to click on your URL.
- Enhance the manner in which your URL is displayed when shared in social media and the web browser.
Optimizing your title tags is important because users want to find answers to their search queries as fast as possible.
9 Best Practices To Optimize Your Title Tags
If your title tags aren’t properly optimized to be found right away, the user won’t click on your URL even if it ranks high on the SERP.
Here are 9 best practices that will help you optimize your title tags to get the desired results.
1. Use the Right Title Tag Format
Consider using the following formats:
- Primary Keyword|Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
- Primary Keyword & Secondary Keyword|Brand Name
- Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword – Brand Name
- Primary Keyword- Click-through Optimization Phrase|Brand Name
These formats allow you to present short and descriptive title tags that match the average length of search queries. Use hyphens (-), colons (:), or straight pipes (|) to separate phrases and words.
You can also use characters like ampersand (&), comma (,), period (.), plus sign (+), exclamation point (!), and question mark (?). Using separators, characters, and punctuation will improve the readability of your title tags.
2. Be Mindful of the Length of your Title Tags
Search engines cut off long title tags by inserting ellipsis (…). Your Titles will lose their impact if they get cut midway. To avoid title tag truncation, limit the length to 50-60 characters.
Google also takes into consideration the pixel width of your title tags. The maximum width allowed is 600 pixels. Take note that some characters occupy more space such as wide letters and all Caps.
If your title tag is too short, search engines such as Google will use one of your headings instead. Your title tag should have at least 30 characters or 285 pixels.
Make sure to use online pixel width checking tools to test your title tag length. Remember, keep your title tags brief, descriptive, and in sync with your page content.
3. Place The Most Important Keywords at the Beginning of Your Title Tags
Users tend to scan only the first three words of title tags so your primary keywords should be placed in their first line of sight.
This will generate better traffic and increase click-through rates (CTR) because your title tag will immediately gain users’ interest.
Also, the right placement of the most important keywords will prevent them from getting cut off in SERPs when your title tag exceeds the length limit.
4. Come Up With Unique Titles for Each Page
Create a unique title tag for every page on your site. Your titles should give readers a clear idea of what the page content is all about. It can be a taxing process but it leaves a positive impact on search engines.
Unique title tags for each page help search engines identify your content as fresh and valuable. Duplicating title tags will only confuse users and search engines.
Do not use auto-generated or generic title tags because search engines will assume that you have duplicate content on your website. It will also decrease the number of clicks because this kind of title tag does not elicit interest.
Avoid repeating targeted keywords across multiple pages on your site because your pages will go up against each other for rankings. As a result, the CTR and conversion rates of the pages with similar or the same targeted keywords will drop.
5. Go Easy on The Keywords
One of the most common SEO missteps is keyword stuffing – placing multiple keywords and variations of keywords in the title tag. People often think that this practice will result in higher search engine rankings.
However, search engines can quickly identify different versions of keywords so it is pointless to stuff them all in your title tag. If your title tags are too crammed, search engines will cut them off or rewrite them.
6. Feature Your Brand in Your Title Tags
Including your brand in your title tag can do wonders to your CTR especially if it is already well-known. Users will click if they see a familiar brand attached to the title tag.
Whenever you can, fit your brand in your title tag whether it’s popular or not. Featuring your brand in your title tags is a good opportunity to establish brand recognition.
Besides, Google recommends the inclusion of the brand name in your website’s home page title.
We suggest that you add your brand to the end of your title tag. Remember to keep your title within the 60 characters length limit so that your brand name will not get cut off.
7. Use Action Verbs
Using action verbs is an effective method of prompting searchers to take a desired action. If you go over the SERPs, the title tags that entice clicks are the ones with action verbs.
Choose action verbs that are relevant to your page content. For example, use “Learn” if your content aims to inform or instruct. Use “Buy” if a new product or service awaits users.
Here are some good examples of call-to-action words you can use in your titles:
Keep in mind that users will be turned off if they do not find what they expect to see on your page.
For example, if you write “free download” in your title tag, make sure that the users will be able to get it when they read your page. If they do not see what they clicked for, they will immediately leave your site.
8. Keep Your Target Customers in Mind
Write for your target consumers. Think of keywords and action verbs that will draw them in. Do not discount the importance of a well-written title tag.
If you just jumbled words without thinking of how the searchers will react to it, your click-through rate will suffer.
Use your title tag to stir interest and to send a clear description of your content. Take time to research keywords that can woo users to go to your site.
Keep in mind that the SERP is a very competitive platform. For your site to rank well you need to align your SEO strategies with the searcher’s intent. Give them click-worthy title tags, valuable page content, and a good user experience.
9. Use Numbers
Title tags with numbers get higher click rates because they stand out more. Numbers naturally trigger our brains to understand better because they are precise and quantifiable.
Users are impatient and they want fast search results. When they see numbers they get the impression that they will find what they are looking for.
Marketers claim that title tags with odd numbers get clicked on more than even-numbered titles. While this is just a claim, marketers have the experience to see the options that work best. Test the theory by using odd numbers on your title tags.
With close to 2 billion websites on the Internet, you need every advantage to get found by your target audience. Your SEO strategy must be on point and tick off all the boxes.
Title tags play an important role in getting your content noticed right away. Internet users are not patient and you only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention.
Follow the 9 best practices to optimize your title tags and you could be on your way to a higher search ranking.
Better still, give us a call or send an email and we’ll do it for you. We’re more than just professional web designers. Optimization is a service we’ve successfully provided to our clients for the past few years.
Let’s schedule a quick call and get you started!
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