I made a search for “Title SEO” in Google the other day, and I got a quote from hobo-web.co.uk saying
Ranking in Google in 2015 is about SO MUCH more than just optimising one element of a page, but the Page Title Tag (or more accurately the HTML Title Element) is still – arguably – the most important on page seo element to address on any web page.
Is your page title really that important in your SEO? And if so, why and what can you do to make it more appealing to Google?
Here I share with you 5 useful title tag SEO tips that will not only provide you with better rankings but cause visitors more likely to click on your website. Which, in fact might be your ultimate goal in search engine optimisation.
I don’t assume you don’t know what your page title is. The only reason I want to talk about this subject before digging into the SEO part, because here is something that most people just forget about, when talking about title tag SEO.
Indeed your title is an on site or on page element, but just take a closer look. Where the hack can people actually see this element on your page?
That’s right, basically nowhere. It shows up on a little tab at the top of the screen. Even if your visitors notice it, they usually see 20-25 characters and no more.
Actually a page title or title tag is an element that you set up on your page (i.e. an on page SEO element), but it actually works best off your page. If set up correctly, the title tag is what people actually see in the SERPs when searching for a keyword.
Let’s see how the above page title example (11 Useful WordPress SEO Tips) looks like in the search results page:
And this is the reason your title was, is and will be that important in your SEO. Not because your visitor is aware of it when they are in your website. Not even because Google thinks it is important (it might though). But mainly because a good title tag has a huge impact on your click-thru rate from the search results. And your click-thru rate has a great impact on your rankings.
You must perfect your title tag copywriting skills, and always keep in might your visitors. What are they really searching for, what type of words make them click on your page.
Knowing why is your title that important, let’s see how should you set it up so you can get better rankings and more visitors.
That’s right. Gone are the days when you could successfully set up one page for one keyword. In those days you had to make sure your keyword was in the title, preferabily in the beginning, but it seems that’s not true anymore.
Doing a quick search for the keyword WordPress SEO Tips, there are only 3 sites in the first page that actually have the phrase “WordPress SEO Tips”. (Click to enlarge.)
So try to write a title that catches your visitor’s attention, makes them want to click on it, and of course is related to the topic. It is no coincidence that almost all sites on the above SERP use numbers, which is a great way to motivate readers.
Google recently changed it’s algorithm of calculating how long a title it displays. While it used to be 70 characters, now it is based on character length. That is, if you have lots of i’s in your title, it might display more characters when you have lots of L’s. The world-famous Yoast SEO plugin is a good starting point in calculating the optimum length of your title.
And this is is again for your visitors. If your title is longer, the visitor will see an ellipsis (…) at the end, which is by far less catchy. So try to use 55-60 characters, 70 maximum for your title.
Your branding (or site’s title) is preferably short name of your site that makes it clear where the content is from. It is the brand of your site, WpCookHouse in my case.
Even if you’re a beginner, you aim to get more traffic, so it will become handy sooner or later when people actually see that some content is from your site. It makes them more confident, and they will be more clicking willingly on your page.
This is mainly the reason Google wants us to use the site brand in every title. They want to make sure, only real, “brandable” content is shown to the visitors. And this might be the reason why Google overwrites your title tag if you don’t include your brand name.
This one shouldn’t overwrite Tip #1 (write for the visitor) at all, but it’s still important to try to match the keywords with your title, if it is possible. Yes, the problem lies in having some dozen or even hundreds of possible keywords for one page.
One way might be that you include synonyms of the words used in your keyword(s). Instead of using “Tips” in the above example, #1 article uses “Tutorial”, which gives the sensation of getting the same content for the visitor (or even more in this case, as a tutorial might give you more than just a few tips).
Use narrowing words. Eg. “best”, “useful”, “for beginners”, advanced” can make your title match more keywords, and even target more precisely. If you target beginners in any niche, just add “for beginners” after your title.
Even this tip might be contradictory to tip #1, but according to many SEO experts, the closer to the start of the title tag a keyword is, the more positive impact it will have on your rankings.
While this might be true as one part of the ranking algorithm, I find that many other factors have bigger impact in your long-term rankings. And considering all my tips, it’s not that easy to write a title tag that contains all your keywords for that page, and contains them at the beginning.
As you see, it’s not that easy to write good title tags for SEO purposes. Even some of my easy tips might seem contradictory, and indeed they are.
The “best” title tag might even differ from niche to niche, as people from different countries, different social backgrounds tend to click on different words and phrases.
A bonus tip is that you should always experiment with your titles. Try one, check the results. Not only the keyword position but also the click-thru rate. Try another one and compare the results. Use what works best for you.
If you have any useful tips on how to set up your title tags, don’t hesitate and share with us in the comments below.