Read our lips: your website title is important.
In fact, the words inside your title tag and how they partner with the words on each page could be considered the most important natural Search Engine Optimization (SEO) element on a webpage. To make the most of them and ensure your title tags are working hard for you, you’ll need to give them more than a cursory once-over. We’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to explain all you need to know about title tags.
What Is a Title Tag?
One of the most frequent questions we’re asked regarding titles is what, exactly, title tags are. Other frequent ones include: “What is a meta title?” and even “What is a website title?” Fortunately for you, the answers to all three of these questions are one and the same.
Title tags are an element of your page’s HTML content that describes the webpage’s actual content in question for search engines and human users alike. Search engines (like Google) use the title tag to help determine the page’s content and context. Beyond that, it will be used to link to your page in the search engine results and is the primary forward-facing element when your page is linked on social media.
Why Are Title Tags So Important?
As we mentioned above, title tags give information to both human users and search engine crawlers alike and are one of the most crucial elements of digital marketing. The humans in the equation need to ensure your page content is relevant to what they’ve searched for and that it can provide new, interesting, or necessary information to help them achieve the major goals behind their search. Similarly, the machines (Google’s web crawlers) need to assess your webpage’s relevancy for the keywords searched so that it can provide your page in response to appropriate user keywords.
In other words, great title tags are a huge component of your organic SEO – especially if you’re currently attempting SEO without a blog and have a limited number of landing pages and title tags to work with.
To ensure that you index well and that people are enticed to click, you’ll need to make sure that your title tags work for you in the most efficient way. We’ve compiled a few tips to help you get started.
Watch Your Title Length
Ideally, your title should be between 55 and 60 characters. Too long, and you risk having words cut off on the search engine results page. Too short, and you might be missing valuable opportunities to communicate what your page is about.
If you look at older guides, you’ll see recommendations up to 70 characters. Why the change? Google changed their page layout in 2014 and increased title font size from 16 to 18 pixels. The larger size is clearer and more readable but allows for fewer characters. While there are no specific character limits since character widths vary, Google allows a maximum of 600 pixels – check to make sure yours is on-point with Moz’s Preview Tool.
Save the clever wording and wit for the title that appears on the page itself. The words that go in your title tag should all be in service of showing what your page is about. Include the most important keyword you want to index for, what else you have to say about them, and, if there is room, the name of your site.
Keep It Unique
Many sites have the same title tags on every page of the site. This is a lost opportunity for optimization. Not only will Google read it as duplicate content and potentially penalize your page, but you have not given the search engine the information needed to index each page correctly.
In addition, make sure your homepage title is appropriately descriptive. Simply having “home” or “index” can hurt your performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs). This, in turn, makes your natural search optimization efforts much less effective.
Utilize Natural Language for Voice Search
With the advent of digital assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant on mobile devices and smart home devices in many homes, voice search is more common than ever. In fact, the next SEO task on your list could very well be learning how to turn on voice search.
When it comes to your page titles, do your best to write your title tags in a way that can be easily understood by voice search. Use natural language and avoid stuffing your titles with SEO keywords and jargon. Not only does using natural language boost your ability to get recognized by voice search, but you avoid potential search engine penalties.
Optimizing Title Tags Is an Important Task You Can Start Today
Spending time on every page title can feel nitpicky and frustrating. But, when you put in the effort to write the best titles for every page, you can improve your SEO and make sure you get seen. Moving forward, you can ensure each of your pages are getting the attention they deserve from human users and search engine crawlers alike.
Need more information about how to get started? Zero Gravity Marketing can provide SEO insights personalized to your unique website. Contact us today to access the expertise of our digital marketing and SEO team.