Title tags are as important as ever as an SEO ranking factor in 2019. One of the main purposes of a title tag is to assist Google by helping identify what your page is about, this allows the search engine to display your page to the right audience.
Strong and relevant content will help you improve your web page’s online ranking. Title tags that include targeted keywords are essential to moving towards the top spot on the search engine results page (SERP).
The power of title tags cannot be understated. According to Moz: “Title tags are a major factor in helping search engines understand what your page is about.”
What do title tags do?
A title tag’s main purpose is to provide information to search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. It gives them a basic understanding of what each web page is about.
Title tags are a HTML document requirement and are written as
In most cases, they will often be the first thing a user will see in the results page when using a search engine. This is why it’s of utmost importance to make a great first impression, especially if you wish for users to click through to your site.
Google advises webmasters to always “write unique, descriptive page titles to describe to searchers what the page is about.”
What’s the difference between title tags and meta descriptions?
Title tags cover the main headline, meta tags, more commonly known as meta descriptions provide a brief description which includes additional details on what information can be found on the page.
Here’s a simple example of how a title tag and meta description will appear in a search engine results page for an online comparison website.
Title: Energy Comparison: Switch Gas & Electricity with Utility Saving Expert
Meta description: Utility Saving Expert is an energy comparison site that helps you save money by comparing energy prices online. Save up to £450.42* today.
How do I write a good title tag for SEO?
When you’re trying to write the ‘perfect’ title tag that is optimised for search engines, it’s a great idea to look at how relevant it is. Using relevant keywords that your target users are actively searching for will help you achieve this.
Relevant keywords help search engines to list your website in the right place, in addition to helping users decide what page they should click on based on their intentions.
How to structure title tags?
Generally, title tags should be between 50-60 characters. Research suggest that If you keep your title tags under 60 characters, you can expect around 90% of your title to display correctly. There is no exact character limit, because characters can vary in width and Google’s display titles currently max out at 600 pixels.
55 characters may be a safer optimal choice; however, you can use this useful tool [https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag] to check how your titles will be displayed in Google.
Include primary keywords but remember to be unique
We recommend that you make your title tags unique but ensure they are correctly optimised at the same time. This may seem complex, but essentially you want to include a primary keyword, secondary keywords and your brand name.
Primary keywords should normally be at the start of the title tag as this is likely to have a greater impact in rankings.
Powerful brand names that are recognised can help you benefit from a feature. Here’s a quick example:
Use pipes to separate keywords from the brand name
You can separate keywords and brand names in your title tags through a number of different ways. Most websites will use colons, commas, dashes and pipes.
Each of the above can be used, however pipes e.g. ‘|’ are a great choice as they are efficient and use minimal pixel width when separating keywords from a brand name.
Avoid appearing like spam
Your title tags should give users confidence and show a level of trust, as they can often be the entry point to your site.
Too much, unusual, or no capitalisation of words will make users question how authentic your site is, this may deter them from clicking through.
Don’t use title tags that are too long, as they won’t display correctly and will look unprofessional. Long title tags are sometimes found to be keyword stuffing. This isn’t recommended, as Google can understand semantic variations. If you use one to two keywords for each title tag, this will help prevent keyword cannibalisation.
Make your title tags engaging
Where possible, try to avoid title tag duplication as this will lead to keyword cannibalisation. Many users are dependent on your title tags to help them locate specific pages, the less confusion the better.
Automation can be used if your site has hundreds or even thousands of pages that are similar. However, pages that are very important should have title tags created manually.
Don’t rely on Google to write your title tags
If you haven’t been following correct practices, Google may re-write your title tags for you. This can hinder your SEO efforts as they may not be well written.
Creating title tags for an eCommerce site
Creating title tags for an eCommerce website can be a challenging task, especially if there are many product or service pages to contend with. Each page needs to be unique and have an appealing title tag to attract customers and rank highly in the search engine results page.
Build trust with customers/clients by focusing on your unique selling point (USP).
Using semantic variations to avoid duplication
Boilerplate content is defined by Google as content that is reused multiple times without any changes. This can also apply to title tags, as they can appear unclear if Google removes the boilerplate keywords. For example:
Cheapest Cakes with icing in Cheltenham | Utterly Bakery
Cheapest Cakes with sprinkles in Gloucester | Utterly Bakery
Cheapest Cakes with chocolate chips in Tewkesbury | Utterly Bakery
Google may filter these and display them as the following:
Icing in Cheltenham
Sprinkles in Gloucester
Chocolate chips in Tewkesbury
Your title tags will take on a completely different meaning if the boilerplate text is removed. You’re allowed to repeat keywords, if you’re selling 55 different types of cakes and the word ‘cakes’ needs to be used regularly, focus on longer title tags and use semantics in an optimal way.
This means that if your boilerplate words do get removed, the page titles will still make sense. Alternatively, keep things straightforward, looking natural and be descriptive.
Do emojis appear in title tags in 2019?
Search engines like Google do support emojis in the results page, however they will only appear if they are relevant to the search query. For example, if you search ‘cake emoji’, it may show up, but may not appear if a user searches for ‘Cheapest Cakes in Cheltenham 🍰’
Search engines can filter out emojis from a title tag if they appear to be:
- Out of place
- Seen as spam
As an example, if you list your cakes as being ‘out of this world’ with a Planet Earth emoji, this could be seen as being misleading, as you’re exaggerating.
Test, test and test again
There is no secret formula to creating a perfect title tag. We recommend that you experiment with different ideas, carry out a competitor analysis, and closely monitor your click-through rate (CTR) and bounce rate.
Receiving feedback from users is always a great way of testing, try to understand what type of headlines appeal to your audience. If they like a lot of numbers, you can include statistics, where relevant in your title tags.
Using a single variable test is another great way to experiment. Change your title tags over a period of time and ensure that the only variable is the title tag to make it a fair test. Analyse the data to help you make an informed decision on what works and what doesn’t. This should ultimately help you improve title tags across your site.
Remember that content should be described accurately and concisely within the title tag. It’s important to include high volume keywords that are relevant to your content.
Covering different areas of SEO is always an ongoing process. It is based on both research, testing and analysis. However, the importance and optimisation of metadata will always be a great foundation for any website.
If you’re still confused about title tags, metadata or any other SEO topic, our experts would be more than happy to help. Contact us to discuss your project and we’ll see how we can help you achieve the results you’re looking for.