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Best Practices for Writing Title Tags That Boost Your SEO

Empower SEO with strategic title tags. Embed relevant keywords, creating concise, compelling titles. This optimization enhances search visibility and entices clicks for a robust SEO strategy.

Home / Blogs / Best Practices for Writing Title Tags That Boost Your SEO
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

February 23, 2024

New, fresh, and unique content pieces get added to the internet every day, adding more to existing competition. It may seem daunting to find a way to establish your footing in the market and be seen by search engines and your target audience. Title tags are the silent hooks that help websites capture the attention of search engines and the target audience who are already on the lookout for information.

However, title tags can be tricky to get right as they involve extensive keyword research and should be intent-driven and compelling enough to make someone want to read the information that is being presented on the website. Here, we discuss everything you need to know about the best practices for writing title tags that will make search engines happy and your target audience eager to read what you have to say.

What Is a Page Title in SEO?

The page title (also known as the title tag, meta title, or SEO page title) is an HTML code element that is positioned at the top head of a webpage. The page title sufficiently describes the content on the page and the page’s use for website visitors and search engines. The page title shows up on the SERP. A well-written page title is often an important part of optimizing the website to gain an SEO advantage.

Why are Title Tags Important?

There are two different types of title tags. The display title indicates the SERPs to show your web page using the title tag available. The headline of the web page is the main title that is displayed at the top of the web page and is often marked as an H1 tag in the page’s structure. Both help search engines to identify and display what your website has to offer.

Here are 4 reasons that make title tags important for SEO:

  • Title tags help search engines understand what to expect when a page is viewed. It is a brief overview of what the page is about.
  • Title tags on SERP show up as link previews that also help website visitors determine if the page offers the information they are looking for or need to search more.
  • Search engines like Google often use title tags as title links, which are clickable titles in search engine results pages (also known as SERP).
  • The page’s title tag appears in browser tabs, helping people to navigate to the website they are looking for when multiple tabs are open.

9 Best Practices for Writing Title Tags

1. Structure and plan your title tag in advance

Planning out what title tags you will be using for a page is essential as it ensures the potential to rank higher on search engines once your page gets published. The focus should be on creating a unique title tag that is well laid out for your viewers to understand and for search engines to process.

In case you need help figuring out where to begin, keyword research could be the way to start. Once you have understood what your target audience is looking for, plan a keyword-rich title that is tempting and SEO-friendly.

2. Create title tags keeping your audience in mind.

Your web page needs to look like the solution your target audience is looking for, and that’s how they are more likely to land on your website. The best way to ensure this is by producing high-quality, intent-rich content and a user-friendly website experience.

Writing for your audience is essential to ensuring they find the title tags enticing enough to click on them. The best way to do this is by closely emphasizing the values you are offering.

3. Offer benefits they can take advantage of

Highlighting a benefit that a web page offers can ensure your potential customers click on the website knowing they are going to get valuable information. A brief highlight of what the web page is about and the values one gains after reading it will ensure more clicks.

Additionally, matching the web page’s title with the content maintains consistency and is another way to ensure that your title tags are offering a benefit. SERP analysis can be helpful in identifying specific types of title tags that are gaining clicks and how you can improve your web page’s title tags to gain similar (and more) traction.

4. Be intent oriented

Factoring in search intent when writing your title tags is crucial for ensuring that you are reaching your audience. Keyword research is an important factor in this as it helps you understand deeply what your target audience is looking for and how you can customize your title tags to meet their needs.

When a potential website visitor sees information they are in need of or are interested in, they are more likely to click on it. To achieve this, consider introducing the focus topic adequately by being descriptive and why your audience should be interested in reading the content. Avoid writing click-bait title tags, as they can hamper your reputation.

5. Cut the extra length.

The ideal title tag length should be under 60 characters. Most search engines show up to 50 to 60 characters of the title tag, depending on the width of individual characters. For instance, ‘M’ is wider than ‘I’ and ‘O’ is wider than ‘J.’ Longer title tags end up getting truncated and will show up with ellipses (…) at their ends.

6. Position your focus keyword at the start.

Placing your keyword at the beginning of the title tag will help you capture the attention of search engines and the target audience instantly. It will also ensure that your target audience sees the keyword easily and takes the desired action. Placing it later in the title tag always runs the risk of getting truncated by search engines. Aim to naturally fit the focus keyword at the beginning to gain more traction.

7. Create unique titles for each page.

Use a unique title for every web page. If every page ends up having the same title tag (also known as duplicate title tags), it can become extremely challenging for search engines and readers to understand which page offers the type of information they are looking for.

Avoid using the same set of keywords across multiple pages. Instead, use topic-specific keywords and match the content present on the web page. Creating unique title tags for individual pages also indicates to search engines that there are no duplicate pages on your website, a factor that can cause serious drops in rankings on search engines.

8. Use your brand’s name.

Adding your brand name to the title tags can help your brand create more resonance with your target audience and the current market. Additionally, the use of the brand’s name in title tags adds to the website’s authority, makes it more trustworthy, and creates brand recognition.

By adding the location in the title tag, you can further leverage local SEO benefits. However, it is important not to add too many locations in the title tag, as a truncated title tag can have a negative impact on organic efforts.

9. Do not crowd your title tags with keywords.

Keyword stuffing is a frowned-upon practice in SEO. The practice can potentially hamper your brand’s credibility and significantly lower your rankings. Furthermore, it looks spammy from a reader’s perspective, and search engines may find it difficult to crawl your web page.

In case your title tag has too many keywords, Google may either rewrite the title tags or you will be required to take an action on your own. When writing your title tags, ensure they align with the page’s content and don’t have keywords in excess.

Additionally, if you are using your brand name, be concise about the location or product/service that you are aiming to mention in the title tag. This will ensure you have a structure to work with and no room to add more than the required keywords.

3 Things To Keep In Mind When Planning Your Title Tags

Find the broad topic your keyword falls under.

Make sure your title tags are in sync with the parent topic. The parent topic is the main keyword that sends most of the traffic from search engines to the top-ranking pages with the keyword. For instance, chocolate ice cream falls under the parent topic of ice cream. Targeting keywords under this umbrella will help ensure that you are able to attract traffic to your website. 

Keep a list of secondary keywords to add handy.

Aside from having a focus keyword, having secondary keywords can be beneficial in capturing traffic that is searching with a different query. However, these secondary keywords must come in naturally and not forced. The best way to identify this is by ensuring that the secondary keywords:

  • They make sense in the title tag and do not seem out of place.
  • They are easy to read and fit into a natural flow.
  • They are not changing the overall meaning of the title tag.

Make your title tags adjective-benefit-confidence booster oriented.

It doesn’t matter how informative and content-rich your web page is. Without effective title tags, they may not attract adequate traffic to your site. The adjective-benefit-confidence booster approach ensures that you capture the attention, offer a benefit, and then persuade second thoughts with a confident claim that gives a positive confirmation. This approach should be used in scanty and not as a general thumb rule.

Common Mistakes To Avoid With Title Tags

A poorly written and keyword-stuffed title tag can result in Google rewriting it and displaying a different title tag altogether. The worrisome part is that there’s no sure-shot guarantee that with the rewritten title tag, your website will rank as intended on search engines or gain the click-through rates you had been expecting. Due to this, your title tags must be well-planned and structured appropriately.

Here are 5 things to be careful about when it comes to title tags.

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1. Redundant, meaningless, or boilerplate titles

Title tags are a sneak peek into the web page a user is about to visit. It highlights what the page is about and what to expect. Using a template structure across the website can create redundancy and make your website seem less interesting.

For instance, let us look at these title examples.

‘Best chocolate cake recipe from myhomebakery.com | Dessert recipes’

It is too long and unclear. Whereas:

‘Chocolate cake recipe | myhomebakery.com’

It is focused on the keyword that sits well with the page and is short and clear. You can similarly correct other title tags across the website to ensure they are clear, easy to read, and enticing.

2. The missing <title> element in the HTML code

Without specifying the title tag in the HTML code, it will become impossible for the website and the crawlers to understand where the title tag is. Eventually, Google will create a title tag based on the website’s content. Tools like RankWatch can help conduct an overall website audit and identify pages with missing title tags.

3. Too long titles

It may seem harmless to write a long, detailed title tag, but anything above 60 characters gets truncated by search engines, and only a part of the title can be seen. This is especially concerning if you are a small business trying to attract every potential customer. Here’s an example to understand how you can correct this mistake:

‘Looking for a last-minute birthday gift? Our huge collection of exotic chocolates is the perfect surprise gift option | myhomebakery.com’

The above title is 136 characters long, is too wordy and overly descriptive. Here’s how it can be fixed:

‘Exotic chocolates for birthday gift | myhomebakery.com’

The above title tag example is 56 characters, is clear to understand, and concisely indicates what the brand is selling.

The key to ensuring your title tags are short, crisp, and easy to read is only adding information that can impact you. All other information (sales, savings, last-minute options, etc.) can be added to meta descriptions. The meta description is seen alongside the title tag and will convey information that can be fit into a 150 to 160-character limit.

4. Using non-descriptive and vague title tags

Google aims to offer the best search results to its users whenever a search query is made. So, if your title tag is as non-descriptive as ‘Service Page’ for a web page listing all the services your business offers, it is highly likely that Google may rewrite the title tag to make it more specific and information-oriented.

Here is an example of a poorly written, non-descriptive title tag:

‘Deep Cleaning DIY’

The title tag gives no indication of the nature of content to expect when you click on the title. It is superficial, unclear, and looks untrustworthy.

On the other hand,

‘DIY tricks for deep home cleaning: Staying healthy and happy’

The above title tag is descriptive, tells you about what to expect, and offers confidence. Google appreciates such descriptive title tags as they help website visitors find what they seek.

5. Keyword stuffing

More the better is not the case when it comes to using keywords in title tags. They can seem unnatural, out of context, and forced. As a matter of fact, using too many keywords can lead to Google rewriting the title tags to make them value-oriented.

Keyword stuffing is the process of unnaturally adding keywords to content of any type. It is often forced and with the intent to rank higher. Over time, search engine algorithms have become more sophisticated and agile.

This enables them to crawl through a wide range of web pages in a single day and identify high-value websites (credible and trustworthy) and low-value websites (spammy and using black hat SEO practices to deceive crawlbots).

While the origins of this practice are dubious, Google automatically deprioritizes content that has traces of keyword stuffing. It eventually results in a drop in search engine rankings.

Using only one highly specific focus keyword for a page is always highly recommended. You can consider using secondary keywords only if they naturally fit in the context and make sense.

Let’s understand keyword stuffing in title tags with an example:

‘Chocolate packs, exotic chocolates, chocolates for gifting, chocolate gift box’

The above title tag is long and is made up of only keywords.

‘Exotic chocolate box collection for gifting’

The above title tag strikes a balance between using the keyword appropriately and being meaningful in nature.

Bottomline

Title tags are important for SEO and for your website visitors. They are a generous scoop of a sneak peek into what your website has to offer. Whether you are an eCommerce business or a service-based website, effective title tags are essential to attracting qualified traffic to your website.

Your perfect title tag should be under 60 characters, have a descriptive layout, and be balanced. Researching keywords and competitor analysis (using SERP analysis) is paramount to ensuring you have a deeper understanding of how you can make your title tags shine.

Remember not to use too many keywords at once, duplicate title tags for similar pages, and always write for search engines and your potential customers.

PS: If you need help navigating your way through SEO, our experts will gladly help you.

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