The title tag is the most important area for keyword placement on your website. So it makes sense as a writer or webmaster that you spend a bit of time writing search engine optimized title tags will make a difference in your traffic and rankings.
The title tag is what you see when you do a Google search (along with the meta description). The title tag has a duel purpose. It’s used to tell your potential site visitors what your page is about and it ‘s used by Google to determine what search terms your page should rank for. This duel purpose can be tricky. If you focus too much on one or the other you can lose out on traffic. While Google would have us believe that it can interpret the purpose and quality of your page almost as well as a human can–we’re not quite there yet. So it’s best to follow the current best practices for search engines, while still considering the comprehension of your potential visitors.
Title tag best practice (example)
Full Sentence Containing One or Two Keyword Phrases | Business Name
Keyword Phrase 1 – Keyword Phrase 2 | Business Name
In my opinion, it’s better to use a dash “-” than a pipe “|” between your keyword phrases–especially if they are related. Commas can also be used to separate keyword phrases.
Pipes can be useful too, but they are separators. So only use them when you want your search terms to be quarantined from each other. Commas and dashes may be more appropriate when two keyword phrases are related.
Note: Your “Business Name” does not need to be included in your title, but is good for instances where branding is important. I usually put the company name behind a pipe “|” at the end of the title because in many cases it is not part of the keyword phrase I am focusing on. If Google wants your company name front (at the beginning of the title) it will automatically insert your business name at the front. This will usually occur when people do branded searches that include your business name.
How to write SEO friendly title tags: Do’s
- Use Google’s keyword tool to select a focus keyword phrase for your page. Generally you want to choose a phrase that contains high traffic and low competition.
- Use Title Case -this is not a hard fast rule, but lowercase titles tend to get a slightly lower click-through rate.
- No longer than 70 characters (including spaces). Google will usually truncate URLs that are more than 70 characters. But this is also something to experiment with. Evidence suggests that it’s not the character length but the pixels length that matters. So if you use a lot of skinny letters or symbols–you may be able to fit more characters.
- Your title must do an excellent job of describing the content on your page
- Your title should be clear and easy to read and comprehend
How to write SEO friendly title tags: Don’ts
- Don’t use the same title tag on more than one page
- Avoid excessive use of special characters: @*&^%$
- Don’t stuff your title with keywords. Usually one or two keyword phrases is all you need.
- Don’t bother focusing on high competition keywords until you have the authority to actually rank for them.
- Don’t skimp on the length of your title. Use all the space allotted. It’s valuable real estate.
Now keep in mind, search engines like Google understand that titles are written in dozens of different ways, so just because your title is too long, too short, or too keyword heavy doesn’t necessarily mean you will rank poorly. Quality content is still the most important ranking factor and Google will forgive sloppy titles as long as your content is popular and well liked. That being said, following these guidelines can significant help improve rankings of any quality content.
Do you have any title writing tips or suggestions? Let me know in the comments below.