A website’s title tag is an important and sometimes overlooked SEO strategy that can easily benefit your website.
A website’s title tag is like the title of a book, it is meant to draw you in to opening the book and provide some sort of relevance in the title to the contents of the whole book. A lot of the time, a book’s title is a make-or-break point to whether the user reads more. This has the same effect on a website, your title tag can be the decisive factor as to whether a user clicks on your webpage or not.
It is important to analyse and optimise your title tags for each webpage in order to enhance your search engine optimisation (SEO) and to generate a higher click-through rate (CTR) from search engines to your website.
This article will help guide you into understanding and optimising your title tags so you can increase your SEO and the CTR of visitors to your website.
What is a Title Tag?
A title tag is simply a piece of HTML code that serves 2 purposes:
- It provides a title for your webpage that can be seen on the tab of your browser bar,
- It displays your page’s title on search engine results pages (SERP)
This title tag is meant to provide an initial cue and/or context into the contents of your webpage that users will want to click on to find out more information.
The HTML markup of a title tag is simply using these opening and closing tags:
<title> Your Title Tag </Title>
Note, it is important to understand the difference between a title tag and a website’s header tag.
We have outlined the following 8 factors that can help you strategise and optimise your title tags.
1. Rules of Thumb
When you are writing the title tag for your website, there are certain rules, conditions, and best practices to follow, guidelines set by search engines that can help optimise the tags.
A. Keep the length to around 50-60 characters (including spaces)
Otherwise, Google and other search engines will cut it short, and it will look messy. The ideal length is actually based on pixel width but sticking within the 50-60 character range should keep you within the pixel width of the title tag.
You can use the following free tools to check and preview your title tag:
B. Use a primary keyword
Your title tag should use a primary keyword for the page you are trying to rank for. For example, if your page is about “gym equipment” then you will want to have a primary keyword around the topic that users are searching for, e.g. “Gym Equipment to Buy in 2021
C. Optimise Long-tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are more specific to your primary keyword but may be easier to rank for. If the primary keyword “gym equipment” is really popular, you will have to compete against many websites and webpages, this can be difficult, especially if your website is new.
Therefore, if you target a long-tail variation of “gym equipment” for example “gym equipment for your home” then you are making it a bit more specific and niche, this may be less competitive and allow your webpage to rank highly for it.
2. Type of Page
What type of webpage are you writing a title tag for, is it a blog, a product page, your homepage? The context of your webpage within the site is a crucial factor to consider when optimising title tags.
Each page must have its own unique title tag, therefore, it is important to map out your pages and construct title tags for each one, depending on their standing within the whole content of your website.
The hierarchy of your page will indicate a different type of title tag, focusing on different keywords that can appeal to the user depending on whether they are at the stage of looking for information or wanting to purchase a product.
Check out this e-commerce title tag example which shows how to use tags at various levels of a website, to display appropriate context:
- Homepage: Home workout equipment and accessories by Total Gym
- Product Category Page: Exercise bikes for working out at home by Total Gym
- Product Page: Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike with 5 Settings by Total Gym
3. Search Intent
While your title tags need to be optimised by showing primary and/or long-tail keywords, more specific than that, it is important to write them for humans and not bots, capturing the intent of the user searching.
It is crucial to try and optimise your title tags by knowing what your audience is searching for and how they are searching for it. By getting these phrases correct you can capture the intent and improve your CTRs.
Therefore, it is important to undergo a keyword research process in order to fully capture the user’s intent and primary or long-tail keyword being used in their searches.
4. Topical Relevance
Your title tag must have relevance to the contents of the page you have set it for. One main goal of a title tag is to introduce the topic of a page, therefore, if you include phrases and words that are not found on the page, you could be wasting the potential of a title tag.
Google has also been known to ignore certain tags if they do not provide help or any connection or relevance to the webpage.
5. Unique Title Tags
Do not duplicate your title tags.
If your webpages are sharing title tags then search engines are likely to notice and ignore them, inserting their own, more relevant, content instead.
This is quite common when some websites with huge sitemaps, a lot of the page’s title tags are either missing or the content is duplicated, just using the company name.
If Google is re-writing your title tag, then you lose all the potential of optimising them for better SEO and CTRs to your website.
If you notice that you have duplicate tags or if Google is re-writing some of your website’s title tags, then it is definitely a good idea to inspect the reason and write an SEO action plan to resolve the issues.
6. Dynamic Title Tags
For large websites, such as e-commerce websites, with 1000s of products and pages, it is essential to provide dynamic title tags based on the data on those web pages. Luckily. CMSs such as WordPress have easy plugin solutions for this, such as Yoast SEO where you can create dynamic tags for your product pages.
Dynamic tags help speed up the process of writing title tags, helping companies with huge sitemaps to optimise their SEO title tag process.
For example, your product pages can follow a dynamic structure to just use the product name, so each product page, the title tags are drawn dynamically from the names set in the database when the product was uploaded.
However, this needs to be done carefully and meticulously to ensure that you do not make a mistake initially, which could then reflect on all of your product pages. With a sound dynamic tag structure, you can quickly optimise a lot of web pages across your website.
7. Call-to-Action Keywords
Because your title tags will show as a link on SERPs, it can be a good idea to include some key call-to-action (CTA) text that may help users make that click to your website.
Each title tag and each page have the duty of answering the user’s search intent, therefore, if you are running a campaign to capture leads, the text “sign up” may be quite prominent. This can then be incorporated into your title tags, giving users that direct boost they need at the correct moment to take action.
Keep It Simple Stupid (K.I.S.S), the famously known term for designing also applies when optimising your title tags.
Yes, you want to include keywords, yes you want to engage search intent and yes you may want to provide a clear CTA for users to click on to your website.
But you do not want to stuff the title with all of this at once. Keyword stuffing and too much text can be overkill for your title tags and to the very opposite of optimisation.
You do not want to sound spammy and “selly” to the users, your title tags must sound natural and organic for them to act.
A wrong title tag could be something like “Home Exercise Bikes for Exercising at Home, Home Gym”
It is important to find a balance and not repeat words and seem spammy to the users on SERPs.
Title tags play a big part in your on-page SEO strategy and should not be overlooked. Importantly, title tags can be optimised to aid users in their journey at each stage and provide benefits of more than just SEO. Your title tag can be optimised for CTR as well as SEO, which will help increase visitors to your website.
By following the 8 best practices outlined above you can be sure to have an optimised title tag structure for your web pages, generating an overall SEO benefit to your website.
The most important thing is to keep the user in mind, optimise for your users and not for search engines, if you do this, then you should have no issues, as long as your keyword appeals to the search intent and provides topical relevance.
Every website should have an SEO optimisation plan and title tags should play a part in this.