Writing the Perfect Title Tag: Best Practices

The Title Tag is the most significant part of a webpage, which helps search engines understand the meaning of a document and therefore, plays an important role in the ranking of a website.

Whether you’re conducting an SEO audit of a small business website or fortune 500 company, the SEO title tag is the very first item you look for in every web page.

Length of Title Tags on Google Search

Google characteristically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. However, the length of the title tag technically on Google’s SERPs is 512 pixels, meaning Google factors in the “pixel” of every character in the title tag. For example, a capitalized letter “A” will contain more pixels than its lowercase version.

Relatively, an emboldened letter will have more pixels in it.

Sometimes, even 512 pixels may not be satisfactory when building a better yet still compelling title tag. But, since that’s all you have at your disposal, be advantageous in making every pixel count.

 

make if count gif

 

Beyond the Pixels

Beyond the pixel count, lies a deep secret to crafting the perfect title tag.

Even though you have used 55 characters to keep your title tags short enough sufficiently, Google may occasionally truncate them and display only 95% of their actual length.

In actuality, it is more than just counting your pixels.

The following are the most important objectives of title tags:

  • To improve your webpage rank on SERPs
  • To show your webpages clearly and succinctly
  • To increase click-through rates (CTR)

Considering the scanty character limit, it can sometimes be very challenging to craft meaningful titles, especially when you have to use long tail keywords. Indeed, building the perfect title tag requires a great deal of creative approaches.

What’s the Perfect Title Tag?

The perfect title tag is one that is compelling, impeccably coordinated with your page content, and follows through in its promises. The perfect title is the balancing act between copy and keywords.

Personally, I look at title tags that describe your page content. If you overpromise and underdeliver, your visitors will hit the back button and you lose their trust– the most valuable asset to have in a highly competitive marketing landscape. Even worse, it may potentially lead to high bounce rates, resulting in lower ranks.

gif Giphy

 

Still, if you have quality content optimized with magnetic title tags, it will help you improve your click-through rates and rank better.

Unlike unicorns, the perfect titles actually exist. Here are some examples of perfectly optimized title tags.

  • 17 Untapped Backlink Sources (Updated) – Backlinko
  • Content Marketing Made Simple: A Step-by-Step Guide - Neil Patel
  • Check Your Website's SEO: Free Analysis Tool - Neil Patel
  • Moz: SEO Software, Tools and Resources for Better Marketing

So, what do these title tags have in common?

First of all, they promise immediate benefits to the visitors without beating around the bush. Secondly, they are succinctly worded while employing an urgent tone. Lastly, they hold targeted keywords: backlink, content marketing, free SEO tool, SEO software.

Title Tag Writing Best Practices

Creating the perfect title tags is not rocket science – all that you require are some best practices.  Evaluate the following rules while executing your own title tags:

Mind Your Pixels: As explained earlier, write shorter title tags, preferably within 55 characters with spaces. Avoid using too many capital letters unless it’s an acronym or your brand name. Similarly, avoid using stop words such as “to”, “and”, “for” unless absolutely necessary. Be creative, e.g, use ampersand (&) instead of “and”.

Keep it Unique: Ideally, you write unique title tags for all your pages. This is particularly important for ecommerce websites with a large number of product items. Duplicate title tags are a recipe for SEO disaster.

Keyword Placement: Keyword placement is an important consideration and if not done right also becomes a deal breaker. Your most important keyword should be located as close to the beginning of your title tag as possible. If you take on a secondary keyword, e.g. brand's name, include it at the end. Don't forget to write title tags for humans first and search engine crawlers later.

Brand Name: Including a brand name to your title tags is a matter of choice. If you anticipate that your brand name offers a competitive advantage to your titles, include them in your title tags by all means.

Relevance: This is the most significant rule, but is oftentimes broken. Write trustworthy title tags- nothing more, nothing less. Using link baits will only hurt your credibility. Stay true!

Handy Tools for Title Tag Optimization

Even if writing the perfect title tags requires an inventive approach, it helps when you have some nifty tools at your disposal. These popular tools can make writing title tags a little less daunting.

Yo Rocket: Yo Rocket is really a WordPress plugin which, when set up and used, will analyze and recommend improvements for a more compelling title.

LSI Keyword Generator: If you’re looking for derivative keywords for your title tags, LSI Keyword Generator can quite useful. Once you enter your primary keyword, it generates a list of derivative keywords based on Latent Semantic Index (LSI) mechanism.

Headline Analyzer: Offering a great user interface, Headline Analyzer analyzes your titles, compares them to a set of best practices, and assigns a score to them. A superior score means that your title is prospectively going to perform better in SERPs.

Yoast SEO: The most popular SEO plugin among WordPress users, Yoast SEO has a built-in feature which scores your titles and simulates an SERP snippet, helping you perfect your title for higher CTRs.

Final Thoughts

Writing perfect title tags is an art and a gradual process. As Google Search’s real estate is becoming crowded with answer box and suggested questions, and PPC ads, making your title tags stand out has become more crucial than ever. With these best practices, you can forever stay ahead of the curve and continue to get noticed in the SERPs.

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About the Author

Susanta Sahoo is founder and chief content marketing strategist at Top League Technologies, a digital marketing start-up in Bhubaneswar, India. By offering SEO consulting services, he helps SMB’s build their online presence and boost ROI. Follow him on Twitter:@sushantsahoo

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