What Is a Title Tag and How Should You Optimize It?
If a title tag definition is a must, I would easily say that it is the HTML element that specifies the title of a webpage.
Title tags exist in the head section of each webpage and determines a page’s topic.
Users of search engines see these title tags on the results page.
Also, it’s really useful when users add the page to their favorites; they can easily see what the page is about when they check their bookmarks afterwards.
And it’s also cool when someone wants to share your content on social media, and the title of the page says that “Hello!”.
Everything Changes, So Also The Way People Search Online?
The world has started getting digital at first, then turned into a digital world. But now, that digital world gets more digital day by day.
We have digital assistants and use them every single day. Over the past years, the way people search online has changed because of these digital assistants. According to Google, one out five searches come from voice queries.
So, what does that mean?
Voice searches are different than text voices obviously . Now, it’s time to write the title tags with long-tail keywords and these keywords should be natural.
Are Long-Tail Keywords Being Allowed in Title Tags?
Yes, we now can use long-tail keywords in title tags, because the length of the title tag has changed. Including spaces, you may write up to 70 characters, instead of the old one which was just 60.
(Maybe that length will change again, who knows?)
Check how your title tags look like, and optimize for SEO (Title Tag Checker):
These are links I mostly use:
What Did I Mean By Saying That It Should Be “Natural”?
The keywords you use, should be in a natural language because people talk to their digital assistants naturally.
Well, think of it as an epic love story… I mean, an epic SEO story… It’s a “click at first impression” and, only if a title tag is a long-tail keyword that sounds naturally, its audience will believe that this page was written especially for them.
In addition to these, there is another factor; machine learning. Though Google hasn’t released any official news about it, we already can see the influence of machine learning on any typical search result.
What you should take from what I’ve been talking about, is that you should start with focussing more on the audience if you haven’t started yet. All of these changes show that optimizing for SEO is not only about keyword research.
But title tags are still important aspects of SEO when it comes to targeting the right keywords that your audience uses for research.
I’d like to take Kubix Digital’s website as an example. Step-by-step I will deep dive into its title tags.
The Keyword of Stars: Choose A Major Keyword to Target and One or Two Supporters for It
A lot of pages rank for lots of other related terms like long-tail keywords, but it’s going to be a perfect first step to finding your primary keyword.
You have the page and you know what the page is about, right? After your keyword research, use a keyword tool and analyze how much volume these keywords have or how many times they were all in the title (AIT). After analyzing and choosing your primary keyword, search for other long-tail keywords. They can be one or two words.
When you use these keywords in your title tag, you can see that your keywords will be matching with the top queries.
Every Page Has A Different Purpose, So Show That Purpose in Every Title Tag
It’s easy to find the right title tags if you focus on the content of the pages. And no need to worry about the length of the title tags as I’ve already mentioned that it’s longer than 70 characters.
Don’t hesitate to repeat words and phrases in these different title tags, because you will give more specific details on the pages itself.
A Title Tag Per Page
Search engines have a different language than people. We speak; and it codes.
By giving a title tag per page, you tell your visitors what the page is about.
Plus, with this title tag per page, you also make sure Google understands what the page is about.
The title tag has a potential to drive organic traffic to the page. Since being a badass is the new sexy, keep in mind that there should only be one <title> tag per page, and it should be within the <head> section of the code.
In SEO World, We Don’t Like the D-Word: Such As Duplicate
Using duplicate title tags don’t increase the organic traffic, and also they are useless to search engines.
Before showing the title tags to the visitors, we send our magical keywords to the search engines. Then, search engines use all these title tags to find out the topic of the webpage and after that, search engines rank these title tags. Finally, title tags catch the user at this point
This process has two parts. First one is about the visitor which is particularly important, and the second part is about Google’s ranking system that is also important.
When you use duplicate title tags, visitors will see the same title for different web pages. Do you think this is helpful? No, we do not think so.
Besides what the visitors see, Google’s ranking system can get confused when two web pages compete for the same keywords.
You can check Google Search Console to control if your website has the same problem or not.
Queries Are Your Guide, Utilise Them
Title tags must match with the users’ queries. If my query is “raccoon habitat”, that means I want to see some facts about raccoons. “Raccoon habitat” was my keyword as a user. Again, as a user, I would click only on titles if they cover my expectations. So the key placement in the title tag is a big-deal ranking signal and is also a key factor in clickthrough rate.
Well, create an expectation by title tags and satisfy these expectations with relevant content.
Keyword Placement is The Key
Assume that it’s weekend and you’re going to the marketplace. You really want to find the most colorful and the brightest strawberry there. Farmers put the most glaring strawberries in the first line of the bench because they know the buyers will mostly be able to buy the ones on the first line. So why don’t you put your keywords that are the gem in your title tag text?
Put your most valuable keywords to your title tag in a descending order.
By the way, don’t forget that a title tag shouldn’t look like a shopping list. It has to be natural so the users would like to click the most interesting link in the search engine result pages.
Okay, I got it. You really want to serve me a content that is really really about coffee and health, health perks of coffee, and coffee and my health… Well, you make me a little bit confused and I really don’t want you to think about my health that badly. Thanks!
Put Your Gem First and Branding Goes Last
That really makes sense because of what I was talking right before this. Most valuable keywords first and then the others. I don’t say your brand is not valuable; I’m talking about the main keywords that the page’s content is about.
Of course, you can make your brand a gem for people, but if your brand has not a big brand awareness like Starbucks, don’t think twice to put your brand name last in the <title> tag text. When you put a brand name which doesn’t have a huge volume and is not a gem-keyword first, you just break the order.
Guide to Title Tags-Rules
“You better stop (stop)
Before you tear me apart” says Jamelia. She is damn right!
First of all, while having limited characters for the title tag, it doesn’t make sense using stop words in the text. Try to minimize them.
Secondly, choose the right wording in title tags. I mean that if it’s a blog page, make people curious about that blog post.
If you have good deals on your e-commerce website, make people move and put some call-to-action words.
I think you probably see a search result like this in every day.
This is called as a title tag truncation. Google cuts off title tags after 70 characters, and people who are on the search engine page results, they see the title tag like this.
This is not a rule, but also not good to see in the results. If it’s not an abbreviation for a special world like “SEO”, I suggest you not to keep using all-caps.
These all-caps title tags won’t be an element of ranking, but maybe it would be nice for people who have a problem to see clearly.
When you want the search engine to notice you, the first thing you must think about is not the search engine; it should be the humans. (Again, this is the time when Holistic SEO must have been considered.)
Before sleeping, right after waking up… Repeat it and try to memorize:
- I have limited characters in the text.
- I have to put the most valuable keywords in the text.
- Organic traffic matters and I can make “the organic traffic to my website” great again.
Show Them Your Content is The Unique One
As a user, we are willing to see some wordings in title tags:
- If the users really want to see information about something, they would like to get all of the information while reading your content. These words/phrases would bring the users to your content if your title tag has: “ultimate”, “study”, “step-by-step” etc.
- We’d like to read list posts. They are easy to make us get what we want, so put a number in your title tag.
- It’s a world that people want to buy something cheap or to get immediately. If you offer goods and have an ability to serve cheaper than the others in the right time, you can use these words in your title tag: “today”, “now”, “free shipping” etc.
- It’s really helpful to add these fresh words in your title tag: “2018”, “last updated April 10” etc. Nobody wants to read a content that is written in 2010. If you think how fast everything changes, you will see that it really makes sense.
Please Welcome Clickthrough Rate (CTR) to The Stage
Yes, clickthrough rate is a ranking factor but it depends…
If you are at the level which includes being in the top 10, it’s an important ranking factor to effort optimizing for CTR. If not, it’s just a waste of time.
As a user, we love to read what we are looking for on the first page of results. However, once your page starts ranking in the top 10, this should be more of a focus.
To increase CTR with your title tag, you can:
For example, I’d like to see best coffee shops in Istanbul. (You know that I’m a #coffeeaddict)
When I search for this term;
I’d like to see a list which includes top coffee shops in the city. People who search like I do, would be willing to click this title because they know that they will get to see a list of best coffee shops in Istanbul.
If you’re a coffee addict, but also obsessed with healthy living, that kind of title would catch you at first sight. Because, hey, the HEALTHY one is calling you!
<title> Tag vs. <h1> Tag
About representing the main theme of the page, a h1 tag and a title tag could have the same main keywords. But is it a good thing?
Of course, in content, there can only be one main idea and it affects using keywords on titles. So even if the title tag is not too different than h1, it must be a little bit different at least. When you use the same keywords for both of them, you miss the opportunity to develop other keywords for the page.
Let’s Talk About My Feelings as A Conclusion
I’m a user and…
When I search a query and click the page, I don’t like to see a head section of the page without a title… Because the title of the page says to me “Yes, you’re on the page that you really want to read, and you’ll read the content that you just clicked 1 min ago.”
I don’t trust the web page, and I go back to search again if I see a title like this: “This is the default global title of the site pages.” Why? If I would want to see a default page, I would go for default content. I want to see I am worth driving more traffic to your website, I don’t want to see that you haven’t given your time to make your web page more specialized.
I get confused when I see a title that is not related to the content on the page.
I get confused when I see the same title for all pages of the website.
I don’t like it when the length of a title tag is too long. It has to be short but long enough to give me an idea of what I’m looking for.
I want to make my americano refill when I see unneeded keyword stuffing in the title tag. If I want to read a content of a raccoon’s life, I don’t want to see a title that includes funny cat memes.
I’m a Digital Marketer and…
I know how important page titles are for the search rankings.
I’m one of search engine’s’ best friends and talk to it every single minute. It seems like it has a very confusing-coding language but once you get a serious connection with the search engine, you can learn how it speaks.
To be a best friend of it, don’t forget to tell the search engine what the topic of a particular page is.
You all got the idea, and my feelings as a bonus! I hope you start to apply all of these tips on your title tags and see great results!
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