Search engine optimisation (SEO) is how we affect your website’s position in a search engine’s organic results, and thus improve the visibility of your business. Needless to say, you want to be on that first page of listings — after all, when was the last time you clicked through to the second page of Google?
SEO is not a single-step procedure. In fact, there are many little ducks we have to get in a row for your SEO to truly succeed.
Today we’re going to break it down to examine just one of the gears in the vast SEO machine: Title tags.
Title tags, combined with the meta description (the snippet that appears below the title), should provide a clear and concise description of the web page’s content. When it comes to search engine ranking, title tags are arguably the second most important on-page factor, after content.
You’re sure to have seen them, even if you didn’t realise it. They appear as the clickable headlines that are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs).
They also appear on your web browser tabs…
…and as anchor text on social network displays (such as Facebook) when you share the link to that web page.
Title tags are the cornerstone of good SEO, usability, and social sharing. Not only can they affect your visibility online, but they are also your opportunity to compel readers and improve click-through rates for your website.
So how do we write title tags effectively?
A well-written title tag can mean the difference between a customer clicking onto your site, or a person scrolling past to a competitor. That means that title tags could single-handedly improve your website’s ranking.
There are many things to consider when writing your title tags:
Do you know what the maximum length of your title tag should be?
If a title tag is too long, it will be cut off with an ellipsis […]. This could cause important keywords to be removed. Ideally, the title tag should be short enough for people to read easily, long enough to provide a good indication of what the page is about, but not so long as to be cut off.
To be more exact, your title tag should be approximately 50-60 characters long. There is no exact limit, because SERP design is governed more by pixel width (around 512 pixels) than by character spaces.
Sticking to a general 50-character guideline should safely keep your titles on display, but keep character width in mind. For instance, some letters (like w and m) take up more space than others (like i and l). Capital letters will similarly use more space than lowercase.
You may find it beneficial to use a Title Tag Preview Tool, which can show you what your title tag, meta description and URL will look like on a SERP.
Your title tag should grab the reader’s attention and help them find what they’re looking for. One way to do this is by including relevant keywords.
Keywords are the words and phrases that most accurately sum up the content of your web page, and which are most likely to be used as search terms. A typical format used by many business owners is:
Primary keyword – secondary keyword | Brand name
This is not a strict format, but is nonetheless a useful reminder to avoid keyword stuffing. Your title tags should avoid repetition of the same keyword (e.g. Good keywords, find keywords, keyword techniques | Keywords), as this can deter readers and get you into trouble with search engines.
Instead, put yourself in your customers’ shoes: what are they searching for, and what search terms will they use? Put the most important keywords at the start of the title tags to give yourself the best chance to attracting attention. (Studies have shown that many people only scan the first two words of a headline!)
Unique title tags help to express the idea (to both search engines and readers) that your content is valuable and one-of-a-kind.
No two pages on your website should have the same title tag or meta description. Google themselves have stated that ‘it’s important to have distinct, descriptive titles for each page on your site’. Duplicate titles can bring about duplicate content issues, and this would negatively affect your website’s SERP rankings.
It’s also a good idea to avoid generic or default titles, like ‘Home’ or ‘Homepage’, as this could confuse Google into interpreting the pages as duplicate content. Including the brand name is a simple way make the title tag more unique. You could also include your location or brand slogan, where relevant.
Title tags should engage the reader, but the goal is not to trick people. Instead the title should effectively, accurately, and concisely communicate the content on the web page.
Potential customers should be able to read the title tag and understand whether or not you have the information or services they’re looking for. Moreover, you should be able to clearly affirm the benefit that the searcher can obtain by engaging with your brand.
Good SEO may be complicated, but title tags can be mastered without technical skill. Are you ready to improve your website’s rankings and click-through rates? The team at núcleo is here to help! Whether you have an existing site or require us to build one from scratch, we can write effective and SEO-friendly title tags to get you noticed.
Contact us today to get started!