Optimizing Title Tags For Search Engines
The title tag of your webpages is one of the many integral components of solid SEO and can be seen by visitors in two essential spots: the search results page (in blue clickable font), and on social media sites.
The title of your webpages is directly encoded into the page, typically near the top, in this format:
Your Page Title.
Obviously, a higher click-through rate (CTR) on search results will typically lead to a higher page rank. If people are clicking on the link for your website more than the websites above yours, that’s a really good sign. As far as social websites are concerned, a decent CTR means more page views, which in turn means more backlinks and shares if the content is good, which are both critical factors that Google looks at when ranking webpages.
Having said that, CTR isn’t the most important piece of the puzzle to optimize page titles. Instead, the most important reason to optimize page titles is that Google uses the title tag of a webpage as a main factor when identifying which keywords that webpage should be ranked for and in what position it should be ranked in. As far as the scale of importance in optimizing a site for Google is concerned, appropriate SEO for webpage titles is second only to having good content on your website and having people actually link to it.
Ideally, your webpage titles should be clear, descriptive, unique, draw attention, include keywords, and encourage people to click. Here are some tips to help you optimize your page titles for Google.
Having the primary keyword in your title is certainly helpful, but it’s not essential. Having said that, without the target keyword in the title, it will be harder to rank for that particular keyword.
Google ‘bolds’ the words in their listings that match precisely the search that’s being made. If none of your webpage title’s words are in bold, your title won’t be as visible as the titles above and below it. The result: your CTR will plummet.
There are advantages of having the keyword in the title, but there aren’t any for repeating it. Therefore, you should avoid this repetition.
There is also a benefit to having the keyword closer to the start of the page title compared to the end. This will help indicate to Google that its more important and can also help boost your CTR.
Keep your page title length within 55-60 characters. Anything more than this might not be displayed in the search results and will be replaced in the search results with ‘…’ which can lower your CTR because of a cut off title.
Don’t always skip out on words such as “a, an, to, the,” and so forth just to save on characters. The title won’t be read very well and your CTR could be negatively impacted. Write your page titles with both human readers and search engines in mind.
Make your page titles descriptive of the content that’s on the webpage. After all, that’s exactly what users will be expecting and you will want content that matches what the titles description says. If not, they will quickly hit the back button and will be left will a bad impression of your site.
If you’ve got the space, try including your business name in the title. Searchers will typically skim through the results, so it’s in your best interests to put your business name in front of them to build brand awareness and give off a consistent message.
There is nothing you can do about the font or colour that your page title is written in or which words are bolded. However, you can control which letters are capitalized and the type of word dividers that are used. It’s perfectly acceptable to capitalize small words like “a, an, to, and the” and to use pipes (|) if you want. Just make sure that you stay consistent in your titles’ presentation across all of your webpages. Pick one style and stick to it throughout your entire website.