Along with relevant on-page content, your title tag is the most important element of your on-page SEO. Learn how to keep your title tags trim and topical.
Although meta tags do not hold the same sway over SEO that they once did, the title tag remains one of the most important factors in communicating to search engines just what your page is about. Your title tag is the headline to your on-page content’s feature story.
So how do you craft a title tag that draws traffic and competes for enviable keyword rankings?
Get to the Point
Don’t just get to the point quickly; get there immediately. Sure, visitors will not see a page’s title tag while they are visiting your site, but the title tag will still show in search results as the blue link that points to your landing page.
You have precious little real estate to work with. To make things even more complicated, you are not limited by word count but by pixels. When crafting your title tag, use tools like Moz’s Title Emulator Tool to determine your tag’s limitations.
Any text that exceeds this limitation will be replaced by an ellipsis and searchers will not be able to see the content. It is unlikely that anything beyond this point will influence Google heavily, but there will still be situations were a well-crafted tag will slightly exceed Google’s pixel constraints. When this happens, just be sure that the visible text makes sense to the viewer and that the ellipsis does not disrupt the tag too much. In certain situations, the ellipsis could even be seen as a click-through encouragement.
Don’t Force Your Branding
Your site should not have any difficulty ranking for its own brand. Including your brand name or URL in the title will, more often than not, simply be a waste of pixel space. However, if you create your own products and your brand has significant search volume on its own, it may be worth including so that you clearly distinguish your own online store from other vendors that may be selling your products.
Prioritize Your Keywords
Choose a primary keyword phrase for the beginning of your title tag. You will likely be able to work in more than one, but do not get caught in keyword-obsessive mentality. Just remember:
- These are likely not the only keywords that you will rank for.
- These may not even be your most profitable keywords.
- You have plenty of space to work with other keywords in your description tag and on-page text.
- Your goal should be to communicate the relevance of your page, not just to rank for your favorite phrase.
You should also diversify the keywords that you use between pages. Having ten pages of title tags that all start with “Hiking Boots” is just going to water down your authority and create competition between your own pages. And save yourself some space; there is no need to work in multiple versions of the same phrase in the same title tag, such as “bird house” and “bird houses.” Keep in mind that searchers will weigh this title tag when choosing between your page and others that have shown up in their search results page. Even if you manage to rank using spammy tags, their unprofessional appearance makes it less likely that searchers will actually click through.
If you are eager to learn more about SEO and recent changes to Google’s search algorithm, be sure to read our Google Trend & SEO Strategy report.