Google changes its search algorithm between 500 and 600 times per year. Knowing that can make working on your SEO feel like a lost cause.
Don’t fear. Google’s algorithm may be a mystery, but there are a few things about it that everyone seems to agree are true. One of those things is the importance of title tags.
But knowing a proper title is important and crafting a proper title are two different things. That’s why we’ve created this guide to writing a title that will give you the greatest chances of boosting your SEO.
Read on to immediately improve your title writing.
What Is a Title Tag?
Before we dive deep into matters of craft, let’s define our terms. What do we mean when we say “title tag”?
A title tag is the element of a web page’s HTML that refers to the title of the page itself.
We see title tags all the time, whenever we search the internet. The link in (usually) blue text you click to visit a page you found in your search? That’s a title tag.
Why Does It Matter?
Given the fact that the title tag is what internet users click in their search results to visit your website, you can begin to understand why title tags are important.
But your title’s appearance in a search is only the beginning of its importance.
Title tags also appear at the top of web browsers. Look up right now. You see those labels on your browser tabs? Those come from title tags as well!
Another one of the reasons title tags are so essential is that they are the text that appears when users on social media share links.
You want your titles to be clear and catchy. Otherwise, no one is going to click on your site, keep your tab open, or share your story.
Tips to Write a Proper Title
Now that we’ve got a solid understanding of what a title tag is and does, it’s time to rise to the challenge of writing titles that convey the information you want and push your site up the rankings.
What follows is a list of tips we’ve collected to help you navigate the murky waters of SEO. Remember, very little in the world of SEO is certain, especially not for very long. And this list is by no means exhaustive.
But many of these suggestions are just good writing practice, and the others are at least worth experimenting with while you find what works for you.
Length is one of the very first elements of a title tag that gets brought up. And surprise, surprise! There is no consensus on the proper length of a title to boost your site’s SEO rankings.
Fortunately, there are some guidelines. Here are a few of the ones we’ve found.
- Under 60 characters
- 600 pixels
- Ideally within 60-70 characters
- Not over 75 characters
- Under 65 characters
It’s maddening, right? What we gather from looking at this data is that 75 characters or more are almost certainly too long for a title. And if you’re hovering around 60 characters, you should be safe.
That said, there’s no rule stating you can’t have a title that’s shorter than that. As long as you’re able to include all the relevant information, it can’t hurt to try a shorter title to stand out from the pack.
“Yes” to Relevance, “No” to Repetition
Speaking of relevant information, “relevance” is a crucial word to know deep in your bones when it comes to writing your titles. Your title should be relevant to the information on the page you’re titling. That means not trying to game the system with a title you think would catch the algorithm.
And while we’re talking about gaming the algorithm, we should also mention that heavy repetition within titles is a no-no. Google has gotten wise to this practice and issues penalties for it.
You should put your common sense first when it comes to titling your page. What is the natural organizing principle for the information on the page? What is the title you’d search if you were looking for this information online?
These intuitive questions will steer you right.
Make It Organic to Your Brand
Your brand is a result of your intuition and your consideration for readers and customers. If you are putting content on your website that is authentic to the brand you’ve established, all you need to do with the title is stay authentic to that content. What kind of title do you want readers to associate with your work?
This is a nitty-gritty tactic, not something for the big picture. But when you pluralize a word in your title, it optimizes that title for both the singular and plural versions of the word.
For instance, if you’re selling pickles, a page called “17 Pickles That Look Like Old Character Actors” will show up in results for “pickles” and “pickle.”
Lead With Keywords
This is another very specific tactic to use, and it relates to the relevance we discussed earlier.
Let’s take our example from above, the post about the pickles that look like character actors. “Pickles” is the second word in that title because it’s the thing we’re selling, and we want our pickle prowess to appear in searches, not our ability to identify M. Emmet Walsh in pickle form.
A worse version of the same title would be, “Old Character Actors Found in the Form of These 17 Pickles.”
Leading with keywords in your titles as much as you can is part of a holistic keyword strategy.
Title Tools to Remember
We trust that with these tools under your belt, you’ve now got the power to unleash hundreds if not thousands of titles that rocket your content to the top of the SEO ranks. There’s no exact formula for a proper title, but that doesn’t mean you can’t improve with research, practice, and a little bit of experimentation.
We’d love to help your SEO efforts however we can. Happy writing!