Title tags are ridiculously important for getting more visitors to click on your website when it appears in search engine results.
And lucky for you, they’re one of the simplest things you can change on your site. More SEO (search engine optimization) bang for the buck!
Why Title Tags Matter for Traffic & SEO
#1 Title tags are the most prominent part of a search result
Google and other major search engines use the title tag of a web page as the link to that page in search results. It’s what people will see and choose to click – or not.
You can see the titles of websites in the image to the right.
#2 Title tags are one of the most important ranking factors for SEO
When search engines try to determine what a web page is about – and therefore, what keyword searches it should show up for – the title tag is one of the most important factors that the engines consider.
If you want a page on your website to rank better for a certain keyword, include that word in the title tag.
Of course, search engines also consider factors that aren’t on the web page itself, including links to the page from other websites. These are called inbound links or backlinks.
#3 The title tag is at the top of the page and tab in a web browser
The title tag on your web page can help orient your visitors and tell them what to expect to find in a specific browser window. This is particularly important when people used tabbed browsing or have multiple windows open at once.
#4 The title tag is what displays when someone shares a link on social media sites
If someone shares a link to your site in social media sites like Facebook or Google+, what shows up is the title tag of that page. It’s great if people share your links, but if the title tag isn’t appealing or informative, less people are going to click on it and visit your site.
How to Make a Great Title Tag
An effective title tag:
#1 Persuades people to click it.
If the title tag for a web page is just a bland statement of the topic, it may rank well for that keyword, but could be too boring to get clicked. A compelling title tag can increase your click-thru rate (CTR) — that’s the percentage of people who see your search result and click on it.
#2 Includes a few relevant keywords.
Because it is such a strong factor in search rankings, it’s a good idea to place one or two of your important keywords or keyword phrases in the title tag. Make sure it’s still interesting for people, though – you want to make sure it gets clicked.
#3 Accurately matches the page content and your goals.
Is the web page strictly informational, an interesting blog post you would like people to share, or a place to purchase something? Your title tag should help people understand what their experience will be on that page.
You also want to make sure that your title tag is consistent with the content so you don’t entice someone to click the search result and then make them bounce as soon as they arrive at the page. Remember, the whole point of using search engine optimization to get people visiting your site is to convert them once they arrive. You want them to read something, buy something or sign up for something – you don’t want them to leave as soon as they land.
Let’s say someone clicks on a link with the title, “Introduction to Photography.” That title implies they’ll get some free information on the topic. If they end up landing on a page that just overwhelms with aggressive sales pitches for cameras and other gear, and little actual information about photography, they’ll leave.
If you are trying to sell something on the page, be honest about it in the title tag. You’ll get visitors who have at least some interest in checking out your product or service, and they’ll be receptive to your pitch.
If the title doesn’t contain keywords relevant to the page’s content, it’s unlikely to show up when people search for what matters to you, or persuade as many people to click.
Make Sure Your Title Fits Search Results Parameters
The text of your title tag should be less than 70 characters long. Google won’t display more than 70 characters in the title tag link in its search results – longer title tags are cut short and end with “….”
The text portion of your title tag should include plain text only. HTML tags won’t do anything except make your site look broken.
Give Every Page Its Own Unique Title Tag
Every page on a website should have its own unique content, including a distinct title tag that isn’t used for any other page on the site.
If a web page doesn’t have a unique, accurate title tag:
- Google and other search engines may choose not to use the page’s title tag, and instead make up their own text to serve as the page’s link in search results.
- It could be seen as duplicate content, and disregarded by search engines.
- It will be harder for you – and your visitors! – to distinguish one page of your site from another.
How to Change Your Title Tag
However you edit your website’s content, you will want to look for <title>Your current title tag</title> and change the text to improve its SEO, according to the above tips.
The title tag should go in the top part of the code for the web page, after <head> and before </head>.
For example, the title tag for this article and web page is coded like this:
<title>Title Tags Really Matter for SEO, Clicks & Social | Kristina Weis’s Blog</title>
Remember that each page on your website should have its own unique title tag, so don’t stop after you’ve improved the title of your site’s home page.