For starters, a title tag, otherwise referred to as a title element, defines the title of a document. It is required for all HTML/XHTML documents, and if written properly, should stand at 70 characters or less.
Here’s a code sample, to see what one looks like…
<title>Title of Page</title>
So Why Are Title Tags Important?
Apart from the overall content of a web page, the title tag is one of the most important contextual components of SEO. But why?
When conducting a Google search, the first thing we see are title tags, giving them a chance to either pull us into a site, or scroll past it. In layman’s terms, title tags are very short pieces of text with a LOT of power! They are ultimately what we use to judge the overall content of a page before clicking to read it.
Creating Title Tags
Creating title tags seems like an easy and forgiving process, when in reality, it can be just the opposite. An outstanding title tag is a well-defined, curtailed representation of a page’s content. Having keyword-wealthy and specific title tags is paramount in achieving high page rank and click-throughs simultaneously.
With That Being Said, Consider This…
The placements of keywords, and brand names, (if used) have everything to do with whether or not your titles are click-worthy and thriving.
Here’s an example of a not-so click-worthy title…
We see the most important keyword here being “Crossfit”, but the problem lies in the fact that it is uncomfortably overused. Another thing to take note of is length. Here it is 67 characters, and although that length holds substantial value in the realm of SEO, the words that make it up do not.
After conducting some research on why this title might have been written so poorly, I found that the actual keyword “Crossfit” is in the name of the gym being advertised, automatically permitting the keyword to be used twice.
Perhaps a better version of this title would be…
“Cross Fit Gym | Merrick NY | Cross Fit Strong Island”
We keep the keywords because they are of obvious importance and relevance; this goes for the brand name as well.
So What Makes Up A Perfect Title Tag?
- Length: This cannot be stressed enough! Title tags should be a maximum of 70 characters in length (Google typically does not display anything further)
- Placement & Punctuation: The more important keywords should go towards the front of the title tag as many SEOs believe they rank better in terms of search. For punctuation, I like to use pipes “|”, for I believe they create a smooth aesthetic transition between your keywords and phrases.
- Brand Names: If your brand name does not exist in your keyword, tack in on at the end of each title you create. Studies show this ensures trust in your viewers that your brand is consistent and reliable.
- Learning To Ditch The Stop Words: You want to avoid using any “filler” words that inflate your titles and make them sound like sentences. They hold no implicit value to search engines, and take up space that you could be using for a keyword. Some examples include a, an, as, about, are, but, be, good, etc.
- Paying Mind To Expectations: Make sure that what you’re advertising in the title matches your content as accurately as possible. For instance, if you want to advertise for the “best salads in town” and your content covers nothing but fruit salads, you now have a serious problem. You need to create an amicable balance between what your title tag declares, and what your content conveys.
- Leveling Up The Interest: Searchers should see your title tag and go, “That’s what I’m looking for!” in their heads, so making your titles as interesting as possible will undoubtedly score you some traffic points. Now if you want to target audiences that are just browsing their interests through the web, try presenting an argument with a “this OR that” statement, or add a question mark somewhere in your title to evoke curiosity.
This is better…
The only thing that could make this better is adhering to the 70 character limit. The above title was truncated, as shown by the ellipsis (the three dots). In reality, will this hurt your rankings? No, but it’s simply not as contextual clean as it could be. Now if this title were well past 70 characters, that’s could be a different story. I suggest you always err on the side of caution.