Have you ever thought about what motivates users to click on a link and explore your brand offerings? It is something known as a title tag. A title tag is the literal title of a page that gives visitors a brief gist of the page in a few words, helping them assess whether it is relevant to their needs.
What is a Title Tag?
A title tag – also known as an HTML title tag – is the title of a web page. It gives users and search engines a brief idea about the content of the page. Title tags are around 60 characters long and appear on search engines as the first thing searchers can see on the search results page. Title tags play a crucial role in search engine optimization as they make the first impression on users. They are the fine line between users clicking or skipping your page.
Importance of Title Tags in SEO
Title tags play a very important role in SEO. Being the first thing users set their eyes on, they become the first-ever impression made on a prospective customer. They are also the first thing search engine result pages (SERPs) analyze to see if the content you are publishing is relevant to the title. If your title tag has no relation to the main content published on the page, the chances are that SERPs will push down its ranking. This gives title tags the power to decide the click-through rates of your webpage and its ranking on SERPs.
What is the Difference Between Title Tags and Page Heading?
It can be easy to confuse a title tag with a page heading. A page heading is a headline that appears once users click on your webpage. On the other hand, title tags are what appear on SERPs. However, over 90% of webpage owners/ publishers keep the same title tag and page heading. Keeping the two identical makes no impact on the search results ranking and is a widespread practice because of being the default options available on most website and content management tools. However, there is no hard and fast rule suggesting that the title tag and page heading has to be the same. As long as both of them are unique (not plagiarized or sneakily modified) from competitor websites, there is no harm. Moreover, even if you publish the same page heading and title tag, you can revisit them and carry out a page or title tag optimization at any time.
Best Practices of Writing Title Tags
The title length in SEO is around 60 characters. Anything more than that appears as ‘…..’ to the viewer, which can be off-putting and divert the user’s attention to the next title on the SERP. The entire process of title tag optimization is to ensure that the title fits the character limit but is yet eye-catching. This is because most searchers spend only a few seconds to read the title tag and decide whether it is relevant. People tend to skip through the main content if the title tag doesn’t appeal to them.
Write a Unique & Readable Title
Apart from maintaining the title length in SEO, title tags must be unique to fare well on SERPs. Anything plagiarized or unrelated to the main content of your webpage gets pushed down by search engines. A unique title is a key to capturing the attention of the searcher. Your title tag should also be readable and understandable at first glance. If it is full of fancy or hard-to-interpret words, the chances are that the users might skip through entirely.
Use of the Primary Keyword
Primary keywords are words that are most associated with what your web page or post is about. It gives users an idea about what you have to offer and is the central focus of a webpage. Primary keywords have high search volumes and, if used correctly, are responsible for pushing your rankings above on SERPs. You should include your primary keyword in the title tag and even the meta title tag of your webpage. This gives both users and search engines a clear insight into what your page entails.
Do not Overuse SEO Keywords
Overusing your target primary and secondary keywords can make SERPs detect your webpage and its content as spam. This is to curb those who tweak their title, Meta description, URL, backlinks, or any other visible content to trick the SERPs algorithm to push up their web page’s rank. This practice led to a lot of unfair advantages and spam content online. However, search engines and readers both realize the manipulation due to the overuse of the same keyword which tends to put them off from visiting that page.
Use Your Brand Keywords Wisely
A brand keyword is a keyword including your webpage’s or domain’s name as it is. These include the original brand name and any variations of it and are associated with your products, services, or offerings. To use a brand keyword, you must know when to do so and where to place it. Brand keywords are excellent attention grabbers if they are a well-known and popular brand among people. In this case, you can put the brand keyword at the start of title tags or Meta tags. However, if you are an up-and-coming brand or a brand with mid-level recognition, it is best to use brand keywords in the latter half of your title or meta title tag.
Mistakes to Avoid While Writing a Title Tag
Writing Long Title Tags
While you can exceed the title tag character limit, doing so can break a searcher’s attention and leave it trailing off. As most users want quick answers and solutions, they might move on to the next search result instead of clicking on a half-visible title tag.
As mentioned above, keyword stuffing is a manipulative practice intended to increase page rankings on SERPs. However, with better algorithms in place, most search engines can spot the repetitive pattern of keyword stuffing and lower your web page ranking, making this practice counterproductive to increasing your reach.
Keyword cannibalization is the practice of using the same keywords across different sections or pages of your website to gain visibility on SERPs. However, this leads search engines to weigh which of your pages are most relevant to the keyword simultaneously pushing down the rank of others. This makes you compete with your pages instead of competitor pages and destroys the quality of content published as users and search engines will come across multiple pages with the same keywords and end up having to weigh which one is most relevant to their query.
Example of Title Tags in SEO
To understand what is a SEO title tag and how to write a catchy one, here are title tag examples you can consider:
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First impressions matter and title tags are that for search engines and users. However, your sole focus should not be to please search engines and push your rankings to the top but should be more on what the user wants and how you stand out from competitors. Ultimately, you should be able to tug on a user’s heartstrings or spark their curiosity through your title tag.
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