According to Google’s John Mueller, the most important ranking factor is what you put on your page. This includes optimised content, user-friendly features and internal linking, however, title tags also serve an important purpose and, along with other SEO elements, contribute to the overall performance of your website. In fact, an optimised title tag can help improve your click through rate from anywhere between 20-100%!
Let’s explore more about what a title tag is exactly, how they can benefit your SEO efforts and how to go about writing them for your website.
A Title Tag is a HTML code tag that describes what your webpage is about to both search engines and users. In essence, it serves as a headline to help search engines understand your page and tell users what to expect when they click onto it.
Title Tags appear in the search results pages as blue text, also known as title links, that users can click on to navigate through to a website; they are also visible at the top of a browser tab, bookmarks and shared links on social media platforms.
A webpage’s title tag can be found in the HTML markup however, some CMS platforms enable you to edit this directly in the code or simply fill in the required field in the backend.
Title tags have a limit of 512 pixels, which is approximately 55 characters. You should aim to keep your title tag around this length in order for it to display properly in the search results pages, without truncating. Although truncated titles do not affect how spiders crawl your web pages, it can have an impact on readability for users. We recommend using a SERP preview tool to check your title tag lengths before publishing.
When it comes to writing an effective title tag, it’s important to remember that you are not only writing title tags for search engines but your audience, too. That’s why producing interesting, user-friendly titles is key. Some simple ways to enhance your title tags and make them more appealing to users include using snappy words and phrases, like how to, best or hacks, and include numbers, for example 10 Top Tips to Writing Title Tags.
Next, you will need to carry out keyword research and follow basic SEO best practises. It is advisable to include both primary and secondary keywords within your title tags to optimise for user intent and reach your target audience. However, remember not to overdo it. Your titles, as with all your on-page copy, should be read naturally to avoid being penalised by Google and offering poor user experience. Here is an example format to follow:
Primary Keywords – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
Digital Content Marketing – Content Strategy Services | Semetrical
We also recommend making sure each title tag on your website is descriptive and unique. This is to signal to Google that each page is different to avoid confusion or cannibalisation.
Along with other elements, such as meta descriptions and meta tags, HTML title tags play a key role in your website’s ability to rank in search engines. The great thing about title tags is they require very little effort to implement but can help you see significant results. A well-written title tag, containing a long-tail keyword and audience-specific language, can help increase click-through rate and drive quality traffic to your website.
Long-tail keywords signal a high level of intent and have higher conversion rates. This is why it’s so important to write descriptive and audience-centric title tags, rather than deceiving users with clickbait. Vague or keyword-stuffed title tags will attract low-quality traffic and increase bounce rates. High bounce rates signal that your site does not satisfy user intent and, typically, leads to lower conversion rates.
In August 2021, Google rolled out a new Page Title Update, designed to replace any title tags that do not provide an accurate description of the page. Google states that it will keep ‘around 87% of original title tags’ and make changes to those that do not follow a certain criteria. This includes tilted tags that:
We’ve put together a handy title tag checklist to help avoid Google changing your titles and help you improve site performance: