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How To Write Successful Page Titles

  • Written By Andy
  • Posted August 23, 2012
  • 3 minutes Read Time

Page Title Tags

Title tags are used in all HTML/XHTML documents. They are also called title elements and as you’d expect, they define the title of the document.

They look like this:

<head>
<title>Example Title</title>
</head>

The optimal format is either
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
or
Brand Name | Primary Keyword and Secondary Keyword.

It’s best to use no more than the Google search display limit of 70 characters.

What exactly is a Title Tag?

In SEO terms, the title tag is the most significant element, aside from the content itself. It describes an online document and is found in the browser, search results pages and external websites. Social media sites tend to use title tags as link anchor text.

SEO for Titles
Title tags should describe the content of the page in clear and precise terms. This has three overall benefits which relate to SEO and also to the human reader.

Make it relevant.
If you’re looking to achieve those all-important high rankings in search engines, you’ll need a title tag containing both keywords and description. A survey of major players in SEO carried out by SEOmoz showed that 35 out of 37 rated title tags as the most important location for keywords from a ranking point of view. Because such a small amount of effort makes such a difference to SEO, it seems worth working on getting it right. Here are some pointers for optimization of title tags:

Keep it concise – Search engine results will only show the first 70 characters, followed by “…” when there’s more beyond that limit. So stick to that limit.

Move important keywords nearer the start – Advice from SEOmoz is that search engines and readers are more responsive to keywords towards the beginning of the title tag.

Consider branding – Where to put your brand name depends on how well known it is to potential readers. If it’s a strong and influential brand, then put it at the start. If not, you may be best placing it at the end of the title tag and starting with the keyword instead.

Write for humans too – Don’t forget to make the title tag readable and intriguing, so that potential customers want to see more. As well as SEO considerations, remember that the title tag is the first impression new clients will have of your brand, so make it a good one.

Page titles and browsers
The title tag is shown in prime position in browser software, at the top of the window. (That’s good in theory for user experience, but in practice, users don’t pay too much attention to this.)

SERPs
For an improved click-through rate and visibility, user’s search terms in your title tags are highlighted in bold in search engine results pages.