By way of introduction
Well-written page title (or more accurately the HTML Title Element) will no longer be a nice-to-have recommendation from the SEO specialist, no matter it’s an amateur, who has just started to learn the world of ranking and search engine injustice or a guru, who has been fighting for organic traffic for many years and has developed lots of his own techniques.
Metadata that includes title and description, cannot be called a trick or hack, which will help to bypass competitors and shine in the first place in the search. Don’t dream 🙂 Today metadata is a basic step, which should be perceived by you as an integral part of work on the quality of your website. Titles and descriptions on the website can be compared with the title and the annotation of the book. To read a novelty – you must find it at first – on the shelves of bookstores, in the eLibrary or from the acquaintances. But you need to know at least its plot, and better – its name with the author. Same situation with the website.
So, why the titles matter?
According to the analogy presented above, we can calmly answer this question and derive the following reasons:
- The first and most important – the user. The title tag is a visitor’s first interaction with your brand when they find it on the search results page. If you promote an e-commerce website, then your title is “a hook”, that will catch the attention of the user-fish and will be the first element on the way to the conversion. In the same context, it is important to note that the title is displayed as a tab name in the web browser and therefore it is part of the user experience.
- The title is important for search engine optimization, as it gives a superficial idea of the page content. Moreover, the correctly chosen keywords and their combinations can help your pages rank higher on Google results pages. As a result, you get a better click-through rate, that can measurably increase your traffic if you get the title tag right.
- An additional place, where the title appears is social media channels. When we share the link to the page for our followers and, in fact, as well as in SERPs – contributes to the call of interest and the attraction of traffic to the website.
What’s the optimal length for the title?
As a rule, we take a length of 55-60 characters. This is justified by the fact that it is within the 70 characters limit that Google is able to display as a title. But there’s a nuance that you need to keep in mind. The width! Google admits as many characters as it can fit into a block of elements that’s about 600 pixels wide.
Surely, you guess that a letter like “W” is much wider than “I”, for example.
What’s preferable, the uppercase or the lowercase? Creating the titles, you must remember not only about the different “weight” of letters but also about the visualization of the phrase as a whole. Visual perception of the user can be attracted by using the uppercase, which allows you to put emphasis in some way. Although, please remember that the CAPS title cannot be called attractive, it rather scares.
Don’t seek to forcefully fill all the space, having prescribed exactly 70 characters. Your goal is to create a descriptive and concise title that fully reflects the key point of your content on the current page. In each case, you will have an individual solution.
Is it true, that Google can override your title tag no matter how much effort you spent on it?
Occasionally yes. Sometimes Google rewrites the title for its search engine results, pulling in information from the anchors, on-page text, or other sources.
“Sometimes even pages with well-formulated, concise, descriptive titles will end up with different titles in our search results to better indicate their relevance to the query. There’s a simple reason for this: the title tag as specified by a webmaster is limited to being static, fixed regardless of the query”. Google
Note, that your page snippet title is the dynamical and query dependent element. In case of choosing the title for the snippet, Google is looking for the best title that will help a user assess whether that’s what they’re searching for. If you want to control the title that’s being shown – try to anticipate what user is going to type.
What about keywords in the title?
First of all, try to forget about the rule: “the more, the better”. In case of meta tags, such tactic not only doesn’t work for the benefit, but can be penalized by Google as spam and, consequently, harm the ranking of your site. Don’t forget that the scanner evaluates your website in the complex. This way, it will consider your relevance for certain queries based on their set of keyword: from the headlines, the description, the external and internal links’ anchors, and, of course, the content on the page. If these elements are clogged with the same words or phrases (as a bonus, repeating over and over), then the value of the page and the whole website will be quite questionable.
Additionally, it makes sense to ensure that the keywords you use for the particular page are not repeated across multiple pages. Compliance with this recommendation will help each of your pages to collect its own value, not sharing it between all of them.
“In general, we try to recognize when a title tag is stuffed with keywords because that’s also a bad user experience for users in the search results. If they’re looking to understand what these pages are about and they just see a jumble of keywords, then that doesn’t really help.” John Mueller, Google 2016
Secondly, remember that the title content should be as informative as possible. “The goal of the snippet and title is the best of both. The more information you give us, the better your search result.” – © Matt Cutts
So, you should help Google to understand the context of your keyword. For this purpose, it is very effective to use LSI, that you will find researching.
By the way, remember that using a lower-frequency keywords in the title will help you to get good positions on low-frequency queries and find your target audience.
Thirdly, to write an appropriate page title tag it’s sometimes very useful to abstract from your business goals and become a regular user, to think over what would be interesting to you personally when entering a specific query.
Fourth, don’t forget that the highly relevant unique page title is not enough to float a page with thin content. You should notice that good page titles and poor page text could lead to doorway page type situations.
What’s the ideal title structure?
Fortunately (yes, it’s fortunately), the universal formula doesn’t exist. And that will be an exciting challenge to create your ideal one by researching the experience of the dedicated marketers and run your own experiments.
However, we can’t leave you without few recommendations, that will be useful on the way to your high-ranked title.
- It is generally believed, that the closer to the start of the title tag any given keyword is, the more likely it will rank for that keyword-based query. This conclusion cannot be considered as a panacea, since Google gives priority to the relevance of the user’s request, rather than the keyword location in the title. Although, such piece of advice can work regarding the user experience and pleasing appearance in the SERPs.
- In the context of your branding strategy, it will be valuable to include the name of your business in the title. If your company name is not part of the important keyword phrases, put it at the end of the title tag. Remember that, on the one hand, this approach will slightly narrow the relevance of your request in case the user doesn’t mention your brand in the query. But, on the other hand, it can help you to make your titles unique in a certain way.
- Boldly use delimiters, since structured and accurate snippets always help users to think less, that make their choice easier! In comparison with the dashes and the other punctuation, the pipes is a nice example of the thin and clear separator.
- From time to time, analyze the search results of your competitors for targeted queries and change your own titles on the base of them. If you suddenly came up with the idea to include all your competitive advantages in the title, then we strongly recommend using for this purpose the description.
- It’s good practice to use numbers in your titles. That always attracts attention, especially when it comes to any analysis at the current time. Users are attracted to the fresh information, so don’t be lazy to update the content on your page, and then its title.
Like a conclusion
Meta titles and descriptions on the web pages form the impression for the users and the search engine about your site. That’s why we recommend to write them with care and attention, following the single style, using the grammatically correct language and thinking about your customers 🙂