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What Is a Title Tag, and Why Is It Important for SEO?

  • Andrew Dunn
  • 6 min read
What Is a Title Tag, and Why Is It Important for SEO?

Intro

If you have a business website in any capacity (eCommerce, blog, branding, lead generation, etc.), then you are probably trying to improve your ranking on search engine pages. A higher ranking on search engines increases your discoverability, which means more clicks and more customers coming to and interacting with your website.

If you know you need to rank higher to make more money, then you're probably familiar with SEO. SEO is one of the most misunderstood elements of all the ways to get websites ranked higher on search engine pages, but probably the one you need to know about — and the most important.

Another lesser-known aspect of getting your website ranked higher is the use of title tags. Having proper title tags, like having good SEO, can also boost how search engines rank your website. Plus, if you can incorporate SEO words in your title tags, search engines will love your page even more, and you'll be ranked that much higher.

What Is SEO?

What Is SEO?

Search engine optimization, or "SEO" for short, is the practice of improving the ranking of a website on search engines. The higher the ranking, the more likely people are to find the site.

SEO is one of the most important elements of having a successful website and business because it helps you to be found online by potential customers.

Search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo "crawl" websites and catalogue the content of your page. If your page has the right SEO words that match what users type into their search bar, your website will show up in the results. The more SEO words you have on your website (and in your title tags), the higher it will rank on search engine results pages (SERPs).

What Is a Title Tag?

Officially, a title tag is an HTML code tag that describes what your webpage is about to both search engines and users. In essence, it serves as a headline to help search engines understand your page and tell users what to expect when they click on it.

Unofficially, it’s the title of your website page and the name that shows up on SERPs.

Title tags appear in Google's search results pages as blue text, below the website URL (the website address) and above the meta description (another essential component that needs SEO).

Title tags are also known as title links that users can click on to navigate through to a website. They are also visible at the top of a browser tab, bookmarks and shared links on social media platforms.

What Is a Title Tag? (Source)

What Do Title Tags Do?

For people, they tell the reader or user the name of the page the are about to click on.

For computers and search engines, they are much more.

Title tags are one of the most important on-page SEO elements. They tell search engines what your page is about and can help you rank for relevant keywords.

Vague or keyword-stuffed (adding in many keywords without having them make sense) title tags will attract low-quality traffic and increase bounce rates. High bounce rates (where people click your link and then leave the page almost immediately after) signal that your site is not providing the information users want and being misled by your title tag, which can hurt your ranking in search engines.

What Are Long-tail Keywords and How Do They Fit In?

A long-tail keyword is a specific, audience-focused keyword phrase that is generally three or more words in length. Long-tail keywords are more descriptive than generic keywords and usually have high conversion rates.

For example, a keyword is “SEO” that gets a bunch of searches per month, but a long-tail keyword could be “how to write an SEO title tag,” which get much less searches, but pull up more specific information with particular title tags on SERPs.

A well-written title tag that includes a long-tail keyword in an audience-specific language (people who know about SEO, for instance) can increase your click-through rate and drive quality traffic to your website.

Long-tail keywords signal a high level of intent and have higher conversion rates than generic keywords. That's why writing descriptive and audience-centric title tags are important, rather than stuffing them with keywords or using clickbait titles.

How Long Should Your Title Tag Be?

The title tag should ideally be around 55 characters long, as this is the limit for title tags before they are cut off in the search engine results pages. Less than 20 is too short and more than 70 is too long. Keeping your title tags within this limit will ensure that they are easily readable by users.

Here is a helpful tool you can use to check the length of your title tags and meta descriptions, and see what your title tags and meta descriptions will look like.

How Long Should Your Title Tag Be? (Source)

How To Write The Perfect SEO Title Tag

The art of writing a perfect title tag for SEO is all about striking the right balance. On the one hand, you want to include your target keywords to ensure that your page is properly optimized. On the other hand, you don’t want to sacrifice readability for the sake of a few extra search engine hits.

The key is finding a way to work your keywords without making your title sound forced or unnatural. Try to think of creative ways to work them in without sounding like you’re trying too hard. A good rule of thumb is to place your primary keyword at the beginning of your title tag and then include any secondary ones towards the end.

For example, this blog has keywords of “title tag” and “SEO” and a long-tail keyword of “what is a title tag?” Since this article is mainly about title tags, that keyword is placed at the front so search engines know to give it more weight when cataloging the website.

You also need to ensure that your title tags are well-written and user-friendly. You can try using snappy words and phrases and including numbers whenever possible.

For example, "The Top 7 DIY SEO Software Every Small Business Needs."

Here are some tips to keep in mind while writing your SEO title tags

The Top Nine Tips For SEO-Ready Title Tags

  1. Use a primary keyword in your title tag
  2. Use your company/product/service/brand name in your title tags whenever possible
  3. Try to use common abbreviations to save space
  4. Match the search intent to get the user’s click (make your tags similar to what people will type into the search bar)
  5. Write titles that accurately describe your page
  6. Write titles for people, not just search engines
  7. Title tags should be no shorter than 20 characters and no longer than 70 symbols
  8. Ensure you create a unique page title for every page on your site
  9. Provide a quality CTA that makes customers want to click

Why Are Title Tags Essential for Better SEO?

Title tags play a key role in your website’s ability to rank in search engines. The great thing about title tags is they require very little effort to implement but can help you see significant results.

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Long-tail keywords signal a high level of intent and have higher conversion rates. This is why writing descriptive and audience-centric title tags are important, rather than deceiving users with clickbait.

Test Your Title Tags to Find the Perfect One

Testing your title tags is a great way to see what works best for your website. By split-testing your title tags over a period of time, you can see which ones generate the most clicks. This will help you determine which titles are the most successful and encourage you to continue using them.

You can change the wording order around of your title tags to see what search engines like better and rank higher, but you need to give it at least a week for them to properly index your site. You can also use different words, emojis, and order to see what people like to click on more. Do the tests for a few weeks, see which performs better, and go with that one.

Wrap Up

Title tags are still one of the most important on-page SEO factors. Although Google has been known to change what it likes written in them over the years (and therefore how high they rank them), but they still play a major role in how your page is ranked.

Ensure that you carefully target your title tags, so they accurately reflect the content of your page. If your title doesn’t match what’s in your content, your ranking will suffer.

Utilise the character counts given and stay within the limits, as this will help Google and other search engines better understand what your page is about.

Additionally, ensure your meta-descriptions are well-written and accurately reflect the content of your page — this will also help improve your site’s ranking.

Title tags are essential to SEO and should be carefully considered to ensure they are well-written, user-friendly and keyword-rich. By following the tips in this article, you can create title tags that will help improve your website’s ranking and click-through rate.

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