Title tags in SEO are like the title of your book for the demographics of your two most important types of readers: people and robots.
There was a time that Google would just truncate a long and unwieldy tag. Now, if you do a poor job of creating the title tag or make it too long, you may experience machine learning and artificial intelligence first hand: Google may swap in your URL or other text from the page on its SERPs.
WHAT IS A TITLE TAG?
The title tag is an HTML code tag that allows you to give a web page a title. This title can be found in the browser title bar, as well as in the search engine results pages (SERP).
It’s crucial to add and optimize your website’s title tags, as they play an essential role in terms of organic ranking (SEO).
It is important to note that this title tag is limited in pixels and therefore in characters (512 pixels; approximately 55 characters).
In the HTML code of your web page, they should appear as:
<title> Your Title Goes Here </title>
These titles can appear in:
- Search engine results
- Social media posts
- Unfurled chat messages
- Browser tabs
WHY ARE TITLE TAGS IMPORTANT TO SEO?
For On Page SEO, title tags are a considerable factor. So, what is a title tag used for in SEO?
Google’s algorithm recognizes the title as a major sign of the page’s purpose and relevance. In the structure of the page, the title is the highest level of the hierarchy, meaning it carries more weight for communicating the main idea of your content than subheadings.
Primarily, the title carries the desired keywords for rankings, and if the <title> tag isn’t tailored for queries, it’s a lost opportunity to reel in traffic and drive conversions. To climb higher in search results, your HTML title tag has to remain clear for search engine algorithms and enhance the user experience.
With the level of optimization for the title, the click-through rate (CTR) differs. Since you’re trying to attract real people to your page, you want to represent your page well and set it up as a useful resource.
The correlation between a good SEO title tag and the CTR comes down to producing a line of text that shows your brand’s distinct benefits in an inviting way. Dressing up your title tag with catchy phrases or effective call-to-actions (CTAs) can amplify your CTR and offer a surge of qualified traffic.
The title is the first chance you get as an ecommerce merchant to grab the attention of potential customers and stand apart from the competition. A poorly written title tag can reduce click throughs, which is an element that search engines use in their rankings.
ELEMENTS OF A TITLE TAG
- Length: Title tags should be between 50-60 characters in length. Google has not specifically come out and said that title tags should be this length; however, if your title is longer than 60 characters, you risk the chance of it being cut off in the middle. Don’t try to stuff keywords into your title tag. Instead create a tag that is easy for the human viewer to read. Also, stay away from all capital letters in your title tag as they’ll use up more character space than lower case letters will.
- Keywords: Perhaps even more important than length in your web page title tags are the keywords you use. Title tags can do wonders for SEO when optimized with the right keywords. Put in your most relevant and desired keywords you want to rank for in the title, but don’t overdo it. Obviously, there are cases when the word can appear towards the end of a result; however, it’s a safe practice to place the keyword toward the beginning as much as possible.
- Use unique titles: This is especially relevant for ecommerce pages that may feature a lot of similar products. Be sure to give each page as unique a title as possible to ensure you’re most desired pages are SEO optimized for their corresponding queries. Furthermore, if you’re still using paginated content, then give each page a different title that is relevant to what’s on each title. You can also avoid this entirely by using a canonical tag that points to the original page so that first page only shows in the search engines.
- Use action words in your title: Action words, or action verbs, are words that express an action. Having actions words in your title tags can help entice users to click-through. Using actions words in your title will let the user know what kind of content they can expect to find on the page. Create your title tags to supplement your meta description so that readers can know what to expect on your web page just from the title.
- Titles and branding: Well-known brands should always feature their brand at the end of the title if there’s space. If not, shorten your page title and make space. Furthermore, titles are the most prominent and noticeable part of a SERP result, thus, having your brand featured there can further convince users that the web page is reputable, trustworthy, and has solid information.
WHY GOOGLE MAY REWRITE YOUR TITLE
Sometimes, Google rewrites the title tag of a page and displays its own title on the SERP. Google does this when it believes it can create a title that’s better or more relevant than the existing one.
Google may rewrite your title if it believes:
- It doesn’t accurately describe your page’s content
- It isn’t unique
- It’s stuffed with keywords to the point of being unhelpful to users
- It doesn’t match the search query
There’s no foolproof method to preventing Google from rewriting your title tags, but if you follow the tips in this post, it probably won’t happen.
It’s worth mentioning that a re-written title isn’t always a bad thing. If your page is ranking for multiple terms, for example, Google might use either your original title or a re-written one, depending on the search query, to match user intent as accurately as possible.
If Google is consistently rewriting your titles, though, look at why and try using the tips in this post to improve your title tags.
Title tags may seem like a facet of beginner’s SEO; however, we would argue that title tags play an extremely important role and the way you use them can impact your SEO score significantly.
Use all the SEO tools at your disposal wisely and ensure that you’re getting the most out of each SEO facet, no matter how small it seems.
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