The Definitive Guide to Optimizing Your Website’s Title Tags.
You can achieve higher rankings for your website through SEO Title Tags. Of all the on-page ranking signals used by search engines, few are as important as title tags. Search engines will inspect your website’s title tags as they crawl the individual web pages.
If a web page has a poorly constructed title tag, it won’t receive high rankings. Search engines may index the web page, but they’ll probably rank it lower than other web pages with better title tags.
What Are Title Tags?
Title tags are meta tags that convey the title of a web page. All web pages and other Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) documents must have a title tag. Otherwise, their HTML code will be invalid.
Title tags aren’t plain text. Instead, they are an HTML element. When developing a web page, you can manually add a title tag to its HTML code’s head section.
Just open the web page’s source code and add your desired title tag between the head tags.
Here’s an example of a properly formatted title tag:
<head><title>Enter the Web Page’s Title Here</title></head>
For those of us that use WordPress, the title of the page is our automatic title tag.
If you use an SEO Plugin like SEOpress, All in One SEO, or Yoast, you can also modify it through the tool.
How Title Tags Affect Search Rankings
Title tags affect search rankings in several ways. When search engines begin crawling a web page, they’ll check its title tag to determine which words and phrases are most relevant to it. In turn, the web page may rank higher for keywords contained in its title tag.
Another way title tags affect search rankings is by dictating the appearance of organic listings. Organic listings have three parts: a title, URL, and description.
When search engines build an organic listing for a web page, they’ll typically use its title tag for the title part. Therefore, title tags influence how your website appears in the search results.
Social media networks use title tags for link snippets. When you share a link on Facebook, for instance, the California-based social media network will automatically create a snippet.
By default, the snippet will contain the title tag of the linked web page as well as its URL, a text excerpt, and a thumbnail.
If you don’t optimize your website’s title tags, you may struggle to generate clicks and engagement on social media.
Many bloggers use social media tools with WordPress to adjust their social posts.
A tool like Social Snap allows you to change the tweet, Facebook Message, or Pinterest Message, where plugins like Yoast will allow you to modify the title.
Title tags should be highly relevant to the web pages for which they are used. After all, their fundamental purpose is to describe a web page.
Irrelevant title tags are misleading because they don’t match the content of the web pages to which they are added.
Search engines don’t want to mislead their users, so they often demote web pages with irrelevant title tags.
If a web page has an irrelevant title tag, internet users who see it in the search results won’t have an accurate understanding of its content.
Relevant title tags, on the other hand, offer a better user experience by accurately describing your website’s pages.
No two web pages on your website should have the same title tag. Title tags offer a description of a web page’s content.
If multiple web pages have the same title tag, search engines will assume their content is also the same.
Search engines may rank one of the web pages, but they’ll probably filter or significantly demote the others. This is where duplicate content becomes an issue.
With that said, title tags don’t have to be completely unique; they only have to mostly unique. You can use some of the same words in multiple tags with no ill effect on your website.
Some websites feature their brand name in their title tags. Amazon, for example, uses “Amazon.com” at the end of its title tags.
Capitalize the First Letter of Major Words
When writing title tags, capitalize each primary word’s first letter while using lowercase for all other letters.
A writing style known as title case, it increases the visibility and readability of title tags. With the first letter of each significant word capitalized, your title tags will stand out from other text displayed in the search results.
Capitalization won’t directly affect the SEO performance of your website’s title tags. Search engines don’t care whether your website’s title tags are written in sentence case or title case.
Users, however, are more likely to click your website’s organic listings if you use title case.
Click-through rate (CTR) is a ranking signal, so using title case to write your website’s title tags may indirectly lead to better rankings.
Stop at 60 Characters
Avoid making your website’s title tags longer than 60 characters. Organic listings have limited space, so title tags must conform to search engines’ requirements. If a web page’s title tag is too long, search engines will only show part of it.
Search engines often change the maximum number of characters displayed in listings. Google regularly experiments with different layouts for both the titles and descriptions of its listings.
Currently, 60 characters is the standard limit for listing titles. Search engines don’t support additional characters. While you can technically create title tags using more characters, search engines will only show the first 60.
Beware of Testing
Testing is a common practice in SEO and other digital marketing activities. Unfortunately, though, you can’t safely test different title tags — at least not without jeopardizing your website’s rankings.
Because title tags are such a powerful ranking signal, changing them can directly affect your website’s rankings.
The digital marketing company Distilled recently disclosed the findings from an internal study involving title tag testing.
Distilled removed the word “online” from the title tags of one of its online properties, which caused its average rankings to drop by nearly ten placements.
Upon adding back the word “online” to the property’s title tags, Distilled regained those lost placements.
The specification for valid HTML calls for the use of a title tag on all web pages. Regardless of your website’s size, each page needs a title tag.
A type of meta tag, it tells search engines and users what a web page is about.
By making title tag optimization a part of your SEO game plan, your website will flourish in search results.
Lori Ballen is a real estate agent in Las Vegas. She’s a digital marketing specialist, speaker, and marketing coach and loves to share her “Ballen Method” to generate website traffic and leads online. Lori’s specialties are SEO content writing (ranking on the search engines), social media strategies, and affiliate marketing. Need a website? Contact Lori’s brothers Jeff and Paul Helvin at Ballen Brands.