Have you ever bought something that came in an attractive package and the actual product inside didn’t quite meet your expectations? You probably bought it because of all the marketing promises and product features written on the box, only to find out that they’re the least bit true.
How badly you felt about that purchase is how your potential customers will feel towards your web pages when the title tags are inaccurate or exaggerated. Think of a search results page as a display shelf, and your web content is your product. The title tag, then, is the box that your website comes in.
To stand out from the rest, it should be attractive, informative and reassuring. Make your potential customers feel comfortable buying your product or, in this case, clicking on your link by letting them think that they’re making the right decision. And you can encourage that with a well-written title tag.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the importance of adequately phrased title tags, not just for SEO purposes, but to attract actual humans that are looking for specific information, as well. We’ll go over why they matter, how to write them and how they can contribute to your website’s SEO rating.
What are Title Tags?
Title tags are tiny bits of HTML code in a web page’s header. They help search engines classify the contents of your web page and give humans a preview of what to expect to see once they click on your link. On search results pages, these are the clickable bits of text in a specific snippet that takes you to the website they link to.
Why is the Title Tag in a Website Valuable?
Think of title tags as the headline of your page’s contents. And like headlines from a news article, they let readers know, at a glance, what the content will be all about. Therefore, the value of title tags falls into attracting searchers to click on your link by letting them know that you can provide the information they’re looking for.
From a marketing standpoint, title tags have the potential to make or break profits by either attracting leads or repelling potential customers, depending on how their phrasing. People looking for information will tend to be attracted to a clearly and accurately written title that has the potential to solve their problems. And if the content they find inside matches what’s on the label and addresses their search intent, they’ll see your website as a valuable resource, and you’ll gain their trust and, most probably, their business.
When it comes to SEO, title tags also play a critical role. Well-written title tags significantly contribute to a search result’s Click-Through-Rate—the number of users who clicked a link against the total number of people who saw it. And what better way to have people clicking on your links than to make it attractively clear and straightforward. Let the users seeing your titles perceive your titles as a reliable resource for their queries.
Why does this matter? A compilation of studies from Wordstream and Moz gives us confidence that good Click-Through-Rates is a signal for Google to rank your search results higher up on the page. Search engines will understand that your page has relevant and helpful content if people keep clicking on it.
Conversely, title tags with false promises, hyperboles and other clickbait will attract visitors. Still, almost all will leave in an instant once they find that the cookie tin is actually a sewing kit.
Attracting people with an inaccurate or, worse, a dishonest title tag will only lead to an increase in bounce rate and will hurt your page’s SEO score. Furthermore, going beyond search engine rankings, no person will want to deal with dishonest brands. Whether you’re selling products, providing services or serving as an information resource, trust is most important—to retain visitors and gain a loyal following.
How to Write Title Tags
With the importance of clearly written title tags established, we can now move on to the ‘How.’ Starting with the technical aspect, the recommended length of title tags is somewhere between 50 and 60 characters. Make them too short, and you might not communicate your message clearly, make them too long, and you risk the title being cut on the search results page.
There is no definite number of characters for writing title tags because the length is measured by pixels. Anything above 600 pixels will be cut from the search results, and not all characters occupy the same space on a line.
There are several preview tools that you can use to write your title tag on to see if they’re going to be cut from the search results and how they will look like on the actual SERP. You can check your titles with these free tools:
- To The Web’s Test Page Title & Meta Description Pixel Length Checker
- Search Wilderness’ Free Pixel Width Checker Tool
- Portents SERP Preview Tool
Writing Title Tags for Humans who Use Search Engines
We’ll go over some best practices for writing your title tags in a way that works well with search engines. But keep in mind that, ultimately, it’s a human who’s going to be reading and clicking on it. This means that while choosing the right keywords is essential, ensuring that your title makes sense to the reader is more important.
Let’s say you’re running a bakery in Brisbane called Brisbakes, and you’ve built a web page for your custom-made cakes. You’d want to focus on a keyword that’s highly relevant to the contents of your page. Using a free keyword tool, like Wordstream, Ubersuggest or Ahrefs, you can check whether your chosen keyword generates enough search volume—relative to its industry standards.
Start with a term that describes the contents of your page. In this case, we’ll explore the term “Custom Cakes,” using Semrush’s Keyword Magic Tool.
After setting the target location, tools like these will display a long list of—what it thinks—are relevant keywords to your original query. The results will include:
- The number of monthly searches a particular keyword has.
- The current trend of the search term.
- Other technical information.
For the sake of simplicity, we can focus on looking at the search volume of specific keywords to see if people are actually searching for that particular term.
As we can see, the term “Custom Cakes” is being searched 1,900 times monthly by your targeted audience, and let’s say that it’s a good volume for your specific industry; the next step is to humanise the search term by incorporating it into a clearly written title tag.
One might be tempted to include more high-ranking keywords, like “custom cake toppers” into the same title, but that often comes at the expense of title tags ending up too long or missing the actual intent of the searchers.
Missing the search intent can mean that people who just want cakes, not cake toppers, may see the lack of conciseness in your title and choose another link with a more straightforward title tag. And worse, people looking for cake toppers may click on your link only to find out that you don’t offer those.
Here are some examples of how we can incorporate the “Custom Cakes” term into a title tag that makes sense to readers.
By being able to incorporate the search term into a concise phrase, we’re able to indicate the focus of the service, along with some selling points, and there’s even leftover space for a little bit of branding. For emphasis, we’ll look at how not to write title tags, even if you’re using a relevant search term.
As a business owner, you most probably have a good sense on how to communicate marketing intentions, and just need a little bit of guidance when it comes to digital strategies. Continue reading below for a quick list of best and worst practices for writing title tags.
Title Tag Tips and Best Practices
- Length—50 to 60 characters will ensure that your title tag doesn’t get cut in the search results page.
- Don’t overuse keywords at the expense of clarity.
- Minimise using stop words: A, And, But, So, On, Or, The, Was, With.
- Use unique titles for each page.
- Use verbs: Get, Take, Learn, Make, Go, Boost, Increase, etc.
- Tryto include your selling points or unique strengths.
- Make Spacefor branding.
- Keep your titles Short and Sweet
- Let them know what to expect. Does the content have a list, a study, is it a quick read, in depth, videos, etc.
- Try to add a bit of emotion, using powerful words.
- Avoid using ALL CAPS. Not only is this not good etiquette but eats up a lot of pixels.
- Write either in sentence case or title case.
- Write important keywords first, if possible.
- Always remember that you should be writing for people first.
Need a Digital Partner?
KDM is a Brisbane-based digital marketing agency, providing services to all business sizes and industries. You can turn to us to help you build your website and create meaningful content, including your title tags, that will resonate with your target audience.
Get in touch with us today and let us grow your business together. We look forward to hearing from you.