February 4, 2022 |

12 minutes

The ultimate guide to doing title tags properly

Ever consider why you click a specific link on Google or why you’re drawn to a certain article, based on first impressions? Most likely, it’s because the title tag appealed to you. After all, it’s the first point of connection between what you need and how this article provides it. So you can see it is one of the most important On-Page SEO elements.

The tag has very limited space, meaning you can’t write an essay, it’s all about carefully considering which words will make the final cut for the tag. At the same time the title tag has a large search exposure, so it will be the sentence most seen by users. Since the title tag is likely the first bit of information you see, it should spark interest to want to know more.

Titles have a huge impact on SEO, and optimising your title is an easy fix to a big advantage and great results. This article will give you the ultimate guide to writing a title tag and what to pay attention to.

What is a title tag?

The title tag, in essence, is a tiny piece of code. It’s part of the whole web page’s code, and is positioned in the “” part of the site’s code.

Photo part of the site’s code

Within the <head> of the page, there is the element “<title>”, and that helps browsers and search engines.

The title tag appears when you need it the most, specifically to get an initial idea of what a web page is about.

Search engine results pages. That is the blue (purple when you’ve opened it) line of words, which stand out the most in your search engine results page. That is also the line of words you click when your interest has been provoked.

Photo of search engine results pages

Other than that, you see that same collection of words in your browser tabs (check it out, this browser tab starts with the same words as the title tag you read before opening this article), browser bookmarks, and social links.

Photo of browser tab

Basically, whether you search for an article, you save one for later, or share one for your social network, the title tag is what will resonate with the reader.

Why is title tag optimization important?

Apart from the first-impression that title tags generate, they are actually of great importance for more reasons than just that.

1. Improve click-through rate (CTR)

It’s undeniable that title tags are important for your rankings. The perfect title tag helps search engines to identify the contents of your article and place it in their proper place for future reference.

Sure, it’s crucial that the reader is engaged from the very beginning, but it is also important that your search actually reveals this article and the title tag for you to see. Because no one really goes to page 2 on Google.

2. Ensures targeted audience reach

Pay attention to your title tags because they are what affects the search rankings. SEO is largely based on title tags, and that is the reason why they need to be crafted with extra detail, and optimized for improving search rankings. This is what makes sure that your article reaches the audience.

3. Improve Web Browser Visibility

A sentence can have a lot of impact on a person. And that sentence is the title tag. It is displayed in more than one place, which is another reason why it is so important. Apart from the search engine results page, it appears on top of your browser, and indicates the tab you have opened.

4. Helpful for Social Sharing

It all revolves around the article getting your attention and supplying the demands you have. Title tags are what convinces the reader to be, well, a reader. Title tags are the reason why the masses share your article, re-share it, and then re-re-share a couple more times.

When your article is shared, the title tag is what will appear on that post on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This makes your title tag important and influential outside the search engine framework.

The most important features can be narrowed down to three. Keywords, size, and attractiveness. This is the holy trinity of your title tags, which will be broken down and explained further. But for now, let’s focus on these 10 points I will bring to your attention.

How to write the perfect title tag? 
10 tips

1. Write for the users

Think about who reads when you write. At the end of the day, titles are used to improve rankings, but they are read by other humans that make a decision whether to click or not.

This means that it is up to you and your title to persuade the person to click on the title. Consider who you write for and what it takes to make an attractive title. The title should impact the user’s decision, it should advocate in favor of the click.

2. Make your title tag attractive to improve CTR

Attractive is an abstract idea. To each their own, right? Well, to put it in perspective, there are a couple of uniform ways to attract more people, which increases your CTR (click through rate).

Negative words have a positive effect

It is known that negative words influence users positively. So check if you can format your title using words, such as “no,” “not,” “never,” “worst,” “terrible,” etc. Of course, that might not be suitable for the webpage you present, but if you have the option, go with negative words.

Format the title as a question

Instead of a normal, informative sentence, structuring your title as a question is found to be more engaging. It prompts users to want to know the answer. That is why using a question as a title increases CTR.

Be clear about the content of your page

Make sure you’re clear about exactly what your page is about. You need to be able to describe your page accurately and at the same time set reader expectations.Keeping it short keeps it appealing. As mentioned above, size matters.

Use “{}” and “[]”

Sometimes using these closed brackets can help increase the CTR. You generally use them to add more info to the already exhausted space in the beginning of the title tag. Although not very frequent, these brackets are a clever tool for extra info.

There are other ways to make a title tag attractive, but these are the primary ones, and a moderate and humble combination of everything there is to be considered, will surely lead to a title tag that cannot be resisted. Last but not least, remember to put all those keywords you thought of.

3. Keywords are crucial

As mentioned earlier, title tags resonate with the search engines, the user’s search intent and the search results from the keywords typed in. Thus, if you want to be easily found, you as an article need to have just the right keywords in your title tag.

Keywords are the most commonly used words by people who search up the topic of your web page. Implementing those keywords into your title tags is a definite power-move. Keep in mind, however, that over-optimizing is something to avoid in order to be consistent and generate the maximum search ranking.

It is also important to find a primary word to target. That can be a word most commonly used by users when searching for your area of interest. Focus on a primary keyword and work around it.

Oftentimes that primary keyword is followed by the so-called long-tail variations. So you have the freedom to play around with words in order to find the best fit. If your primary keyword is “seo”, you can extend it with “SEO tips and tricks” or “business tips for seo”.

Titles are a ranking factor, they play a role in boosting your search engine ranking. That is why adding keywords to your title tag will improve your search ranking. Especially impactful are keywords placed earlier in the title tag, as opposed to the end, where they might get cut off by the search engine.

When you do implement keywords, though, focus on placing them in the beginning of your title tag. This is important for three reasons.

  1. Users (including me and you) tend to look at the left part of the screen when searching. Simply skimming through title tags, it is more likely to register the keyword if it’s in the beginning of the title tag.
  2. Google weighs the beginning of the title tag heavier than the end. Thus, in choosing what to place higher in search ranking, it will prioritize keywords in the beginning as opposed to later on in the tag.
  3. Browser tabs (check this one out above) show only 1-4 words from your title tag. Thus, it’s easier to come back to the relevant info if the words you see are the key ones.

4. Pay attention to the size - keep it between 45-55 characters

The first ever dilemma I presented in relation to title tags was that of high visibility and limited space, meaning that people see the title tag the most, yet that title tag has a restricted size limit. And indeed the size of the title tag is exclusive, it should not be overflowing with words, and as such is very important. Not all words make the final cut!

The acceptable range is between 45-55 characters, which is why you need to watch out. If it’s too long, users might not read it, if they don’t read it they might lose interest. What is more, the search engine will not show the entire title tag when it’s too long, in which case important information will be lost.

Pay attention to your 50 characters, they mean a lot.

Photo of title size

As you can see, google search engine shows you about up to 55 characters. The rest of the title tag you need to go out of your way to see. This means that these 55 should already have an effect.

5. Pay attention to Search Intent

Demand is what you will try to answer to. What the searcher demands, you need to supply, and that is what SEO focuses on. The user’s search intent is vital, because if you know what your user is searching for, you can much easily adapt your article to that search.

This can be done by using the searcher’s search intent, and taking the keywords in order to optimize your title tag. If you know the most common words used for the topic you offer, you can use those keywords and achieve greater search ranking.

Not simply use the keywords that the searcher will use, but also supply his demand.

This means that you need to ensure that you answer his question, need, ponder, search. Give the searcher a reason to open your link.

That is why you need to firstly pay attention to the demand in the face of search intent keywords, and then reply to that demand with your supply that now has excellent search ranking.

6. Pay attention to the title tag’s uniqueness

Uniqueness is always good. Everyone always strives to be separated from the abundance of content that can be provided.

For that, the title tag needs to be unique, unseen, one of a kind, outstanding.

If you make the mistake of having title tags too similar to each other one issue could arise that might jeopardize your page’s success. There should be only 1 title tag per page, and no 2 pages with the same title tag should exist.

That is the response that the search engine will have. It is highly likely that search engines will automatically ignore the title tags and use other content on that page instead. This can be problematic as it might not cement the desired effect that your title tag could achieve.

7. Use high-impact words

The click-through rate (CTR) is the measurement of how popular your article will rank in search engines. This is, so to say, one of your main criteria that tells you if you have done a good job setting your title tag. Here are some points you can consider in order to make that happen.

There are a lot of features that people have a tendency to enjoy. They value things, such as:

  • Depth - if your research is deeper than others, say it. Use words like “complete,” “perfect,” “ultimate,” “definitive,” etc.
  • Lists - Lists are short, easy, and straight to the point. Use them if you can.
  • Short - Keep it to the point. Use words like “today,” “now,” “fast,” “quick,” “easy,”
    etc.
  • Fresh - No one is going to click on articles from 10 years ago. Use a time indication like years and dates to indicate your material is fresh.
  • Brand - People would put their trust in a brand if they’ve heard it before. Put a brand name, that’ll make them more inclined to stay.

8. Avoid keyword stuffing

Something you might want to watch out for is keyword stuffing. Stuffing keywords means using multiple keywords in your title tag. So much that they get cut off.

This practice can hurt user experience as well as your rankings in search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing. Because search engines are able to understand keywords, stuffing variations of a keyword, or many keywords within one title tag can confuse them.

You will find yourself in the lower bracket of the search engine results page if you’re not careful.

9. Know your audience

Firstly, consider the audience. What are they searching for and does your title match the search query you want to rank for? It is well known that in order to understand someone better, you need to put yourselves in their shoes. In other words, consider the other perspective, the end goal of your title tag. Who is it going to reach?

Your article needs to fit into a certain search engine ranking. Thus, think about what your web page consists of, and what search operation you’d like to fit it into.

Additionally, pay attention to the hierarchy of your website. The deeper a website can get, the more specific the title tags. It is strongly recommended that you get more specific as the website grows more branches.

If you’ve done your research, you will know what words are used more than others. You will be aware of which words to use, and that will increase your ranking in search engines.

10. Avoid cannibalization of words

Cannibalization of words can occur on several occasions. Whether it’s because you have too many articles on the same topic, or your title tags aren’t that different from one another, cannibalization is never good.

You might experience cannibalization when two or more of your articles are competing for the same keywords. In that case, it is because you have used very similar keywords. For example, the articles “Ultimate guide to title tags” and “Most important application of title tags” are in a battle over the keyword “title tag”. In that case, you need to rank them separately and set them apart.

Title Rewriting

This phenomenon has widely increased in the past few years. Search engines, such as Google, will rewrite your titles, and it happens due to the automated interpretation software. Reasons for title rewriting can be many, but it is definitely something to be cautious of.

Since 2021, Google has changed its policy and began to rewrite 13% of cases. Their reasoning is that these changes will increase the search experience for users. That’s because the titles they see are often not good enough.

In other words, titles that have keyword stuffing, repetitiveness, which are too long, etc. All these titles that have just been stuffed with the same words and their variations have been changed.

Another issue is that there might exist too many pages with similar titles. Google then changes their names in order to avoid confusion for the user.

Avoiding rewrites is easy, but you need to pay attention to these details. Here are some useful tips to have the title you want.

1. Check your titles manually

Keeping a close eye on your titles gets harder and harder the more content you put out there. Nevertheless, it is always good to be aware of the importance that some keywords have for your title. Search the important keywords you have selected for your title, and check how your article is presented. Does it read what you wrote? Good!

2. Make sure you stay within the length limit

At this point you may have had enough with the size, and I understand, but that is how important it is. If your title extends beyond the imaginable, Google and Bing will surely rewrite it. And if you had something important, it’ll be gone. Stay within the length limit - keep it under 55 characters. Or else.

3. Do NOT stuff your keywords

Again, this isn’t the best way to improve your search engine rankings. You need to be clear and fluent, not messy and disorganized. “Title tags, make the perfect title tags, best ways to write a title tag,” is far from a good title, or a structured one. Try “The #1 Guide to Title Tags: Everything There is to Know.”

These are a few, but guaranteed tips to avoid title rewrites. Pay attention to the details, and search engines won’t be bugging you anytime soon.

Conclusion

While it is true that title tags are rather important, you need to remember that it’s not all. A proper title tag will boost your SEO performance, but it is not the sole solution for your success. While it is the first point of influence, it is also an entry point, meaning there are other things to consider.

SEO in itself is a multi-colored, flavourful concept, which has in itself technical elements, on-page features, links and so on and so forth. Following these cemented techniques will inevitably boost your success, and impact your ranking.

You will get your web page in the right places and right times, and that can speak volumes for your domain authority, or the attention you receive from the targeted audience.

So make sure to pay attention to your title tags! They are the first contact your viewership has with what you do.

Sign up our newsletter!

Subscribe for weekly key tips on Public Relations for Startups
Sign up here
Red arrow
AMSTERDAM
Herengracht 252, 1016 BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 202 443 748
STOCKHOLM
Birger Jarlsgatan 57 C, 113 56 Stockholm, Sweden
+46 768 81 64 37
MUNICH
Schellingstraße 109a, 80798, Munich, Germany
+49 89 21530184
Mon - Fri: 09:00 - 17:00
Contact
Red Arrow
Official logo of PRLab, the PR agency based in Amsterdam, Munich and Stockholm
PRLab | PR Agency - PR Firm
arrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram