SEO title tags have several names: page title, meta title, SEO title, and title tag are the most common. But, whatever you call them, title tags are vital to your SEO.
In this article, you’ll learn:
What are SEO title tags?
Why are SEO titles important?
7 SEO title tips to make your content clickable.
Your page or article title is what visitors see first. It’s what entices them to click your page above all others from search results. And it’s such an easy way to win out over your competitors.
After reading this post, you’ll be on your way to creating irresistibly clickable titles to boost your site’s traffic.
But first, what actually is a title tag?
What Are SEO Title Tags?
A title tag is the HTML used to designate the title of a webpage. Its purpose is to let visitors and search engines know what the page is about and what they should expect to find there.
SEO title tags show up in search results (SERPs), social media posts, and anywhere else your page pops up on the internet. It’s your page’s first impression.
If you want people to end up on your site, looking at your content, shopping for your products, you need to capture them immediately, and a well-written SEO title will do that.
Here’s what your SEO Title tag might look like:
And here’s what that translates to on Google’s SERPs:
Why Are SEO Titles Important?
SEO titles are the first impression many people get about your page. This could mean the difference between a click on your page or your competitor’s.
SEO title tags show up in three key places:
Search Engine Results
As you saw above, your SEO title is how your site shows up in SERPs and is the first chance you have to pull in readers.
Having an eye-catching SEO title is important because if your site ranks well, a poorly written or boring title isn’t going to capture the attention of searchers.
Your SEO title tag also shows up at the top of your web browser.
This is helpful for people who have multiple tabs open in their browser window. An SEO title that is organized well will let users know at a glance which tab your article is on so they can get back to it easily.
SEO title tags show up in your social media posts. Here’s an example of what TopSEOs looks like on Facebook:
Some social media networks (Facebook and Twitter, for starters) have their own meta tags. This means that you may be able to customize your SEO titles to those users, depending on the social network.
7 SEO Title Tips
Now that you’re convinced you need to start paying more attention to your SEO titles, let’s take a look at some SEO title tips that will make yours even better.
These SEO title best practices are going to help you create SEO title tags with a better click-through rate, increased site traffic, and more sales.
1. Find the Best Keywords
We recommend optimizing your SEO title for a single keyword.
This doesn’t mean that your page will only rank for that keyword. It’s likely that your page will rank for hundreds of other relevant keywords.
In the SEO title, though, you want to really focus on a single keyword and maybe one or two long-tail keywords.
If you’re creating a title, you’ve probably already written your content. Your target keyword for the SEO title will likely be the same target keyword from your content.
2. Use Supporting Long-tail Keywords
So, you have your target keyword. But we all know that it can sometimes take a while to start ranking for a competitive target keyword with high search volume.
That’s where long-tail keywords come in.
When you add one or two long-tail keywords to your SEO title tag, it can help you start ranking for those keywords, too.
And long-tail keywords are easier to rank, meaning you’ll start getting traffic from those keywords faster. But, what is a long-tail keyword?
Long-tail keywords are words or phrases that are more targeted and specific than commonly searched keywords.
If your target keyword is “seo tips,” for instance, a long-tail keyword might be “seo writing tips for Facebook” or “seo tips for websites,” depending on the focus on your content.
Your SEO title representing both your target keyword and long-tail keywords might be “SEO Tips for Facebook Writing” or something similar.
3. Keep It Short
Search engines and website builders give you a limited number of characters for your SEO title before cutting you off.
Brevity is your friend.
Since most search engines show around 50–60 characters before cutting you off, we recommend keeping your SEO title tags to under 50 characters.
No, that’s not a lot. So, you’ll need to format your SEO title well.
4. Pay Attention to Formatting
What you include in your SEO title tag is entirely up to you. However, you’ll want to format it in a way that gets the point across quickly.
You’ll want to use different SEO title tag formats for pages on your site versus blog posts.
For your main pages, you’ll want to set up your SEO titles to include your company name or the name of your site, your target keyword, and, if relevant, your location.
It’s also nice to create some separation between those things using dashes or vertical bars to make it easier to read:
Keyword/Page Name | Location | Company
For blog posts, you’d use your keyword and a catchy title that encourages users to click on your site above your competitors:
Keyword: Catchy Title of Article - Company
We recommend leaving your company name at the end. If anything gets cut off, that’s what really matters least to people searching for your content.
5. Use Your Brand Name
Yes, we know we just said that your company name matters least to the people searching for your content.
You should include it anyway.
Adding your brand name to your SEO title can give your page credibility, particularly if you’re a well-known brand.
When searchers recognize the name behind the content they’re more likely to trust that content (if your brand inspires good feelings). Plus, adding your company name to your SEO titles can increase brand awareness and turn your brand into a trusted authority over time.
It also helps you improve SEO for branded results.
Keep your brand name at the end of your title tag, as we mentioned before, to improve readability.
6. Write Unique Titles
Duplicate content is bad. While search engines are pretty smart, they can still get confused. If your pages and blog posts all have the same SEO title tag, you’re going to confuse them in a hurry.
When search engines are confused, they won’t know how to rank your pages and your traffic will end up suffering for it.
Each page and article published on your site should have a unique SEO title tag that you’ve taken the time to write and format to reach the audience you want.
7. Optimize for Search, Write for Readers
Most of our SEO title tips have covered how to write your SEO title tags to get them noticed by search engines so you can rank.
But, surprise, there’s more that goes into it.
Google has placed heavy emphasis on user experience as an SEO ranking factor. This means that while your content and SEO title tags need to be optimized for search, they still need to meet the needs of the readers who find them.
For SEO title tags, this means avoiding keyword stuffing. So, don’t do this in your title tags:
SEO Tips | 5 SEO Tips | SEO Tips Here
SEO titles that are stuffed with your target keyword aren’t helpful to searchers and you’re going to tank your rankings.
There are certain markers you can use in your SEO titles that will signal to searchers that your content is the content they want.
Readers want content that’s going to answer their questions thoroughly so they don’t have to go through tons of different resources.
You can use words like “ultimate guide” and “step-by-step” to let readers know that your content will give them everything they need.
Numbers are eye-catching. If you’ve written a list post, let readers know that it’s a list post by including the number in your SEO title.
Power words are words that inspire emotion in your readers. Using power words like “quick,” “easy,” and “revealed” can entice readers to click.
What’s the first thing you check when you see a search engine result that you think might be what you’re looking for?
If you’re like us, it’s probably the date the content was published or updated.
Things change fast and we all want the most up-to-date content. When you’re writing SEO titles, pay attention to words that signal your content is up-to-date.
Why Your SEO Title Isn’t Showing Up in SERPs
There are a few reasons that Google may decide not to use your SEO title tag on its SERPs.
We’re not dealing with the SEO of yesteryear when all you had to do to rank was stuff a bunch of keywords in the footer of your page. Keyword stuffing is now seen as a black hat SEO practice.
If you use too many keywords in your title tag, you may find that Google just rewrites it for you.
If you’ve included both a title tag and alternative meta titles, Google might decide that it likes one of your meta titles better and use that.
If you see this happening and you want it to stop, change both your SEO title tag and meta title.
Title Doesn’t Match Query
When your page or post matches the intent of a search query, but your title doesn’t, Google might rewrite the title for you.
If your title isn’t being picked up for high volume keywords you need to rewrite it.
Why not just let Google rewrite it?
Well, Google will generate a new title based on on-page text, anchor links, and other sources. This means it might convey what’s on your page, but not in a way that makes people want to click.
If you notice that Google has changed your SEO title to something you don’t like, you may need to get help from an SEO agency or Google’s Webmasters Help Community to get it changed.
Your best bet is to write the best SEO title tag from the start.
Old DMOZ Listing
Rarely, a search engine might pull a title from Open Directory Project (DMOZ). If you notice that your SEO title in search results doesn’t match, check your DMOZ listing.
If your DMOZ listing is being used, you can block that substitution with a simple meta tag:
With these SEO title tips, you’re well on your way to crafting irresistible SEO titles that drive traffic to your site and increase your sales.
Need a bit more help with SEO titles? No worries! Here are our picks for the best SEO software that will help you craft search engine optimized title tags in no time