What is the Title Tag?
The so-called title of a web page or more accurate the HTML title tag is still one of the core elements. You can and should invest time in when doing your on-page optimization. The title tag is absolutely essential when you want to get an individual page ready for a good ranking in the search engines, especially in Google. This is especially true of course for world´s, by far, most important search engine: Google.
This HTML element is not visible to the visitors so they are generally not aware of it at all. The information that website owners put between the opening <title> and the closing </title> tag is nevertheless being displayed in the header section of the page´s HTML source code. If you never looked into the source code of your website´s pages you can do this immediately. Simply right-click on the respective page and select the item in the contextual menu that allows showing the source code (Chrome, Fireball, Edge) in the desktop version.
The Importance for SEO, but even more for the user
The fact that the title tag is far less prominent in the awareness of visitors and website owners may be one cause why in my experience many self-made optimizations start completely wrong from the beginning. Many people still assume that generously spreading many important keywords throughout the page text – which is essentially wrong -would work. They believe that stuffing keywords in the keyword tag in the source code will help with SERPs. The same people may even forget about working on the title tag at all.
From my experience, the title tag is the most indispensable single element we have some influence on. Sure, it is only one out of about 200+ factors that play into Google´s core algorithm. But diluting the content of the title tag is far more damaging than to have f.e. a weak keyword density on the page, to neglect the hierarchy of headlines or to forget about the readability of your copy.
So what should we do with the title tag?
First: Along with the meta-description, the title is your chance to optimize the user´s experience with your listing in the search engine rankings.
So it´s without any doubt very important to get both done right. The title and the meta description should always be of value for the searcher. We will talk about the meta-description in another blog post.
Second: The reason for your work on the title is simple: we not only want to get listed in the SERPS but especially motivate searchers to click the search engine result they are going to see.
The title is hidden for the visitors as soon as they are on your web page. Yet it is one of the two central elements they see when searching for a keyword or phrase in a search engine. So it is mandatory to write the title with the CTR (Click-Through-Rate) in mind.
In other words: people should get information about what they can expect on your page. Moreover, they should become curious to follow the result which they will do by clicking on the title the search engine is delivering.
Use The Space In The Title Tag For The Core Thought
Third: Rule of thumb to create a meaningful, relevant title is: use the provided space (i.e. the number of characters) for an abbreviature of the individual page´s core content the title will be written for.
The condensed content in the title should be centered around the most important keyword respectively the most relevant “keyword phrase” of the page. This makes sense and is indispensable as the content of the page normally will have a thematic focus anyway. In other words: when reflecting on what is the first thing you need to build a focus you inevitably will end up with a keyword or at least a keyword phrase as the answer to that question.
One Individual Page – One Individual Title
Fourth: Use an individual title for every single page on your website, whenever it is possible.
Yes, there are limits to the variations of product pages in an online store where sometimes only the color or size of a product differentiates it from another one, but this should be seen as an exceptional challenge. In this case, a full-blown informative page about the basic product beyond the specific features will probably help more in terms of optimization than the many nearly identical pages with the specific features.
I normally use the title of the nearly identical pages for pointing out the most specific feature. This can be something like the color, size, model label or sometimes a unique ID. Others set these product pages aside altogether and even make efforts to prevent them from being spidered. I let Google decide what they want to put into their index.
Fifth: 70 characters are the often recommended classical maximal length for a title. BUT Google f.e. is varying the length they display and analyze. I prefer to say: use the first 70 characters for your most important information, anything above 70 characters for possible differentiation.
Title Tag: An Example
Example: You are offering several IT services on your website. On one page you showcase your smart-phone repair service for devices with an android or ios operating system. You restrict the fulfillment of this service to your hometown. You furthermore promise to deliver within 48 hours.
What about the title?
I suggest, your main keyword phrase will be “Smart Phone Repair” along with the geographical specification “[A-Town]”
A title – in this case extending a bit the length of 70 characters for more information – could be:
Smart Phone Repair in [A-Town] | Reliable 48 Hrs Service | Android, IOS
BTW: You will often hear, that you should include the company´s name in every title. I disagree as far as this example goes.
I would set the company name aside in this case but use it in the meta description. So the user will still know who is behind this search engine listing. The company´s name already will be included in the home page title. You probably also will use it in the titles of your about-us page and other legal pages.
So users that are simply searching for your company´s name will probably find you anyway. Furthermore, branding is usually all over the place with your logo and the name being visible. They are on the individual pages and posts as soon as the visitor enters your site. So why repeat that on this distinct page about a service?
I am sure you got the idea and can implement this on your pages very soon.
Thanks for reading, paying attention and perhaps for sharing 😉