Title Tags and SEO: Everything You Need to Know in Under 2 Minutes (2020)

Reading Time: 2 minutes

What is the Title Tag?

The title tag is an HTML element placed on each page that specifies the page’s title. Title tags are important for both search engine optimization (SEO) and for users. In a page’s source code, it looks like this:

example of a title tag in HTML

Titles are important for users because they are shown on the search engine results page (SERPs) when searching for a keyword, and are displayed at the top of your Internet Browser. They are also often pulled into the preview when a webpage is shared on social media.

html title tag displayed on an Internet Browser

Webpage titles are important for SEO because search engines use titles to understand a page’s content, and using your page’s primary keyword in the title is correlated with higher keyword rankings.

What is the Purpose of The Title Tag?

The purpose of the title tag is to provide search engines and users with information as to a page’s content. Think of it like the title of a book, or a storefront sign.

Title Tag Length

Keep your titles to under 60 characters. The reason for doing this is because search engines like Google will truncate your title in the SERPs after a certain character limit. It’s not an exact science, but if you keep your page titles under 60 characters, search engines will typically display the entire title.

example of a title tag that is too long and is therefore truncated in the Google SERPs

Title Tags and SEO

Title tags are important for SEO because:

  • Studies have shown an (admittedly weak) correlation between keyword rankings and having the keyword in your title tag
  • Title tags (along with meta descriptions) are one of the key factors that determines if a user will click on your website from the SERPs
  • The more context you can give search engines about your page’s content and topic, the better

While page titles are not as significant for SEO as they once were, overlooking them would be a mistake. For your most important pages, you should handcraft your title tags. If you have too many pages to write out each page title, develop a template that can be automated and leveraged across your website.

Title Tag Best Practices for SEO

When creating page titles, keep in mind the following title tag best practices:

  • Keep your page title under 60 characters to avoid truncation in the SERPs
  • Use your primary keyword close to the start of the title tag
  • Incorporate numbers, dates and statistics if at all possible
  • Appeal to the user’s emotion where relevant
  • Use Google Search Console’s Search Analytics report to evaluate your page’s CTR; if it’s below 1%, consider testing a new title and/or meta description
  • Include your company’s brand somewhere in the title. That way, even if the user doesn’t click on your page, you at least get some free brand exposure

How to Implement Page Titles on Your Website

Depending on your website’s CMS (content management system), you can implement page titles in a few different ways.

  • WordPress: Install the plugin Yoast SEO and on each page you create, scroll down to the Yoast SEO block, click on ‘Edit snippet’, and write your page title in the box. By default, your page title will match your H1 tag.

  • Magento:  Go to the page, product, or product category. Click on the meta title box, and write your page title in the box.

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): Open up the page’s code in your file editor, and manually insert the title tag to the <head> section of the page.

<title>title goes here</title>

Conclusion

That’s it! If you have any questions or tips you think should be included, let me know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *