A Good HTML title tag is one of the most important elements in using SEO Best practices for your website.
According to Google, Titles are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it’s relevant to their query. For users it can be the most important information given in the search that compels them to click on your link over other links. The title tag is the boldest, most obvious element in a search result.
Search engines may create their own titles and descriptions if they are missing, poorly written and/or not relevant to the content on the page and cut short if they go over the character limit. So it’s important to be clear, concise and within the suggested character limit.
A highly relevant page title is no longer enough to rely on if the page itself is thin on content. Unique, long form quality content with a well thought out Title Tag performs REALLY well in Google in 2017.
Titles should be concise.
Google is trying their best to tie your page / post to someone searching online. Making the title concise gives Google a better opportunity to make that connection. For example, using “Home Page” as your title tag on your home page will not help Google connect you to an online search.
Title Tag best practices.
- The length of your title tag should be between 50 and 60 characters
- Put your keywords at the beginning of the title.
- As stated above. Make your keywords relevant. Make sure the keywords in your title tag are indicative of what the page / page is about.
- Don’t use keywords that you think are popular (but not related to your topic) just to drive traffic. This will likely backfire and your site will be penalized by Google which would result in your page ranking far below where you would want it to.
- Make sure your title tags are unique on your site. Duplicate title tags will have a negative impact on your rankings.
Where are Title Tags used?
Google Seach Results.
The most recognizable place for you to see a Title Tag in action would be in the search results on google.
Using the keywords “best steak in toronto” we see the following ranked almost at the top of first page. The Title tag is the “big blue” text. Clearly Google was able to put the “post” together with the “Google search”.
Social Media “anchor text”.
Very common examples of this can be seen on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and most all of the other Social Media platforms. There are a slew of Social Media plugins for WordPress. Most of these allow you to share the post / page you are reading on your Facebook page.
Now there is an ongoing debate about how much of what is on Facebook is relevant to Google Search Rankings. That is a whole different post. Be on social media not for search rankings but to build up your brand and drive qualified traffic. But remember you Title Tag will make an appearance on both.
Is Brand important
A lot of people will tell you that brand is important and that you should add your brand towards the front of your Title Tag. Unless your brand is iconic, then I would not include your brand at the front of the Title Tag. Let’s look at an example. Using the same keywords as above you can see this listing buried in the middle of page 5.
Ruth’s Chris is a well know high end steak house with a great reputation of having what some would call the best steak in town! It is a recognizable brand but I wouldn’t consider it iconic.
When you replace the product word in a sentence then the brand is iconic. Going to buy a pair of sneakers is synonymous with going to buy a pair of Nikes. Nike is an iconic brand. I would have no issue with Nike being at the beginning of the Title Tag. You need to ask yourself if your brand is iconic enough to risk it. Ruth’s Crisp clearly thought it was and ended up on page 5. Remember this is not a branding exercise, this is a matching the user search term to your page / post.
Where do I add the title tag?
You can add a title tag in the <head> section in your site’s HTML. It should look something like this:
However in most content management systems (CMS), including WordPress, you can either add a title tag in general settings or other SEO related plugins.
Will result in this Google search.
This is one of those things that a little effort can have a huge impact on your page ranking. Take the time to think through a meaningful, keyword driven Title Tag that is connected to a content rich article.