As well as this, changes in Google’s algorithm mean title tags can change depending on the users search term. So, it is even more important that title tags are relevant to the site, supported by page content and adhere to the pixel size stipulated by Google in order to make the most of this core SEO element.
Before embarking on my top tips for title tagging, its worthwhile reiterating to those who don’t know and remind those who should, what a title tag is and its function in SEO.
“A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is…. If your document appears in a search results page, the content of the title tag will usually appear in the first line of the results…. This can help users recognise if the page is likely to be relevant to their search.”
It is a vitally important SEO strategy and is the most important Tag on a page, used in the way a title of a chapter in a book is used. It cannot be stressed enough how important this seemingly simple SEO function is for your site. Not only is it what search engines use to determine what your page is about, but it’s the clickable link to your site for users, the start of the conversion funnel and a facet of internal linking.
Hopefully the statement has been overstated. It’s important.
If not, then here’s some more from Google’s Head of Spam, Matt Cutts.
Top Title Tag Tip 1 – The Maximum Length
There is much debate as to the ‘recommended’ or ‘required’ length of the title tag. A mean average of all on-line help says somewhere between 65- 70 characters. Some recent studies have shown though that it is the pixel width of the title tag, rather than the sum of the characters that is being picked up.
No taking into account the recent changes to the SERPS look and feel less is more when it comes to title tags. It appears the title displayed appears to be 10 0- 15% shorter than previously.
Whilst adhering within a boundary of length, width or pixel, it’ important not to get fixated on these measures. We know that Google may use all the title for a page, and as such it’s important to give as much as maximum as possible.
Top Title Tag Tip 2 – The Minimum Length
As well as a maximum length, we are aware of a minimum length advised. This is based on the two points below:
- Why waste the space with nothing, when you could be explain more clearly to Google what your page is about?
- Google may decide to ‘fill in the blanks’ and with this you can lose control over what is shown.
Stick to the length advised and work as close to this as possible, it’s called ‘optimisation’ for a reason.
Top Title Tag Tip 3 – The Opening
Starting off with a strong start in your title tag gives you the best advantage of securing a click, and/or a conversion on your site.
Reviewing the SERP that you are in, can give you an idea of how to stand out from the crowd. A SERP is full of noise that is all the same. In order to stand out you need to be creative and see what others are not doing. Add a call to action, use your brand name convincingly, and show where you are exactly.
Remember tile tags are and an art and a science. Write accordingly.
Top Title Tag Tip 4 – The Bold
Until colour options are available (not sure when, but maybe soon for paid ads) it is the bold results that pull users in to your title as;
- Psychologically users see it as more important
- Subconsciously, our eyes are directed to the difference
- Emotionally, we feel more confident in decisions that appear with signals of strength (pour search queries are –roughly- matched in bolding results)
Anticipating users search queries and ensuring they’re included in your title tags (and meta description snippets), will potentially give you one or a few bolded words in your search display, driving greater visibility, differentiation, and hopefully driving a higher click-through-rate as results appear to better match the users intent.
Top Title Tag Tip 4 – The Brand
There is some fair discussion around the theory ‘to brand or not to brand’ your title tags. There is no definitive answer, and no proof of the inclusion of brand keywords in the title tag having any additional lift from an SEO standpoint.
You should rank for your brand. If you don’t, there are probably a lot more challenges ahead, including the possibility of a penalty, site availability and any other SEO “deal breakers”.
The homepage should absolutely feature your brand name in the title.
Google will truncate title tags where a brand has been used in the search term, bear this in mind, when constructing title tags.
Top Title Tag Tip 5 – The Real World
Google can and will show whatever it likes. Following the best practices outlined above is designed to (hopefully) not give Google reason to swap out your results, though there has certainly been witnesses of times where Google can and will who’s anything they believe is more relevant to the searcher, even if you believe your title tag is great, Google can always think otherwise.
Call Dental Design to find out more about best practice for title tags. 01202 677277.