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How To Optimize Title Tags [Checklist]



How to write Title tags for better SEO and more visitors.Title tags in SEO are like the title of your book for the demographics of your two most important types of readers; people and robots.

People need to know what they can expect to find on your page when they click the link. The robots (crawlers) prioritize your page and its content through a ton of factors, with one very important SEO ranking signal being the title tag.

 Let’s take a look at title tags and the best practices to ensure they’re optimized for crawlers and readers alike.

 

Title tags are one of, if not the single, most important element for SEO as they show up in a number of places.

However, they're not just important for SEO. They are also important for social media and they're important for the usability of your readers. This article will show you what they are, why they're important, where they appear, how they appear in search engines like Google, social media, and in browser tabs. 

We will also cover in this article the top 8 best practices when writing title tags and we’ll give you both good and bad examples to use as a reference.

 Don’t forget to use our checklist when you’re ready to create title tags for your website. Our title tags Checklist contains the top tricks we’ve learned as SEO specialists over the years when creating title tags for websites.

 

ARTICLE CONTENTS:

What Are Title Tags And Why Are They Important?

 



Title tags are the blue text that tells the users and Google what a page is about. A common mistake or misconception is that the title of an article automatically becomes the title tag but it is only a heading. It's probably going to be very similar to a title tag but that's not your title tag.

That title tag is displayed up at the top in the tab of your browser. In the screenshot below, you can see that the title tag of these two items in the search results are “10 Everyday Helpful Pet Care Tips | Hill’s Pets” and “Dog Care Articles | Purina”



 Title tags are extremely important for SEO. If you do a search, you’ll find these big blue lines of text in bold. These are the title tags for these individual pages.

You can see why they're important for users in terms of SEO. If your title tag is not optimized for Google, it's not even going to be displayed in the search results. Therefore, you need to optimize your title tags for both users and for Google. 

Realize that title tags are going to be important for social media as well. If you were to take one of your blog posts and put its link onto Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media platform, they're going to display your title tag along with your post. 

That's not something you can change and it's going to do that automatically. This is why your title tag is important for a number of reasons. 

If you want to figure out how to write a title tag with best practice that’s good for SEO, for users, and for social media, keep reading.

The < Title> tag is an HTML element located in the <head> portion of your web page's HTML code. 

 They can appear as such in your web page's HTML code: 

<head>

<title> Write your Title Tag here </title>

</head>



These titles can appear in:

  • Search engine results

  • Social media posts

  • Unfurled chat messages

  • Browser tabs

Title Tags & Google - 2 Rules to Remember 

Keywords & Accuracy 



 Title tags are one of the single most important elements with regards to SEO and the reason is fairly simple. 

 If you do any search on Google, you'll see a bunch of listings. Each listing will have a headline underlined in darker blue, that's the title tag. So the first thing that users are going to see if they do a search is a bunch of title tags. Google is going to look at these first as well.

 Therefore, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your title tags are accurate. They need to accurately describe what is on the individual pages of your website so that if users click on this page, they don't get to a page that has content regarding some other topic.

Why? Because that would be frustrating to users. Google will also most likely not rank your page well if your content doesn't match your title tag. So remember that one of the most important rules when writing title tags is to send an accurate message to Google and your users. 

Additionally, you need to have your keywords in your title tag. If you don't put your keywords in your title tag, very simply, you're not going to rank.

 Title Tag Length




 

The other thing that you need to pay attention to with your title tags is the title tag length. There is a character limit for title tags and you want your titles to be somewhere between 50 and 60 characters long and that includes spaces. 

If you do a quick search on “how to eat a dozen hot dogs”, you can see right away that some of the titles on the search page have the three little dots at the end.

That means that these titles are too long so they were truncated and Google just puts the dot-dot-dot to remove whatever came after these words. 

Now that kind of leaves something to be desired as a user. You want to make sure that your title tag is complete within that 60 character limit so that users can understand what your page is about. You also don't want to make your title tag too short because it's just not informative.

Users might think “What is this article really about?” You can't really say. 

A good length title tag is complete. It doesn't have the dot-dot-dot. It finishes its thought and it gets all the information. It tells users what they can expect to see and what this article is really about. 

In the next section, we have a tool that we use ourselves to create title tags and it will help you adjust the length so you can avoid title tags that are too long or too short. 

Google hasn’t specifically come out and said that title tags should be 50-60 characters in length, but if your titles are too long, it can cut them off in the middle especially if the search results are shown on a mobile device.

The best way to keep your readers interested is by giving them an idea of the full story with your title tag. Moreover, instead of ending it with three dots or using all capital letters, try using a lower case instead for less space and more character count.

Title Tag Examples - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Examples of Title Tags that are not Descriptive

Here are a few examples of titles that are simply too generic. They don’t provide users with enough information to decide whether or not to visit this page, and they don’t include any long-tail keywords. 






Examples of Title Tags that are Too Long

These title tag examples below are too long. You can see that important information is being removed and replaced with “...” so that readers are left guessing about the specific content of each page.





Examples of Good Title Tags

Here are two examples of good title tags. They provide the reader with a clear explanation of the content on the web pages, as well as the brand name and long-tail keywords for improved rankings. (“Homemade Cat Food Recipes”)





How to write Title Tags in WordPress 

You're probably using WordPress to manage your site and writing title tags in WordPress will require an SEO plugin. It's fairly simple to do this depending on what plugin you use. But before you jump into entering your titles for every page into WordPress, you want to have a little bit of a plan because you can eat up a lot of time going back and forth from one page to another and adjusting the title.

In this section, we are going to focus on how to use a title tag tool for WordPress. We’ll show you the tool that we personally use for our website and for our clients. We’ll also show you step-by-step how to actually insert and use a plugin in WordPress to upload those title tags.

 Title Tag Tool 

 



In the video above, I’ve shown how to write, change, and fine-tune title tags for a WordPress site. This is a system I've refined over several years of writing title tags and meta tags. 

The first step is to open up a Google or Excel spreadsheet and then start with one column and insert either the existing titles, the name of your article or the title of your blog. 

In the second column, add the new title and then in the third column, indicate the title length. Next, just copy and paste everything. 

After copying the first column to the second column, you can apply your changes to the second column. You can use the formula from the video to learn the length or the number of characters in your title.

The next thing you want to do is to add some conditional formatting. In Google sheets, you can highlight the fields and you want to click conditional formatting to find titles that are between 50 and 60 characters. You can also use this to find titles that are over 60 characters long and those that are less than 50.

Just go through this list and adjust these title tags however you like to get the proper title tag length. This is an easy way to update your title tags and keep track of how long they are and have them all in one place.

 In using this method, you can have your title text in one place so if something happens, it happens to them on your site. You can always refer back to this and know what they were so you can regularly update them.

You can simply cut and paste your title tags from the spreadsheet to WordPress. In the next video, we’re going to adjust title tags in case they end up being too short or long.

WordPress SEO Plugins 

You're going to need an SEO plugin in order to change your titles in a WordPress website as WordPress does not allow you to change SEO titles by default. You need to install a third-party plugin to have that feature available. Good thing, there are a number of SEO plugins available for WordPress.

Some of them we recommend and some we don’t. Whichever SEO plugin we're recommending can also change from time to time as they come out with new releases.

 For example, we have always used the all-in-one SEO plugin for years and just recently their latest update made it very heavy which tends to slow down WordPress sites. Due to this, we've changed our recommendation. You can click the link below to see which plugin we recommend in order to keep your WordPress site as fast as possible and still have all the SEO functionality that you need to optimize your site.

How to Write Title Tags (CHECKLIST)

1. Create Unique Titles For Every Page 

Every page of your website needs to have a unique title tag and it needs to be different from all the other pages.

 You don't want to duplicate your Title tags. That's an issue for two reasons: One is because it’s bad for SEO. It's going to make it much harder to have your site ranked for anything other than your brand name.   

Reason number two: You want to let your visitors know what your page is about. Before they click on your page, they're going to want to know if your website is relevant to their needs or if you can offer something that they’re looking for. 

We can’t overstate the importance of this. Users are not going to click on your website unless they think that your page has something that they want. For example, if somebody is searching for jackets, you don't want to have a URL that just says “we sell clothing”.

You want it to be specific to jackets. Likewise, if you're selling office equipment or monitors, you want to be as specific as possible to the content that's on your page. Thus, every single page needs to have a unique Title.

Google has a lot of important factors to consider when indexing your content. One factor is that Google needs to know what your page is about and will look at the Title first. For example, if you have many pages on eCommerce sites with similar products then it's especially important for those Titles to be distinctive so as not to confuse or mislead users searching through categories.

The Title of a webpage should be descriptive in order for visitors to know what they will see on each page before clicking through. It also helps with SEO purposes because more people may share and link back if there is an engaging headline describing the content found within, as opposed to just words without any meaning behind them such as “About Us” or simply having no text at all like some brands do today!

 

2. Make Titles Relevant to your Page Content 

The Title of any given page should be representative of all the text, images, and videos on that site. It is important to ensure a visitor lands in your content's target zone as soon as they click on it because if you do not show up with what was promised, you will lose them before they even get there.

The users can be quite unhappy, so it's important to not mislead them. The same goes for Google; penalizing you is a strong possibility if your page Title does not reflect the content on your site.

It is important to choose the right keywords for your page Title. If you put certain words in it, and then your article isn't about those things, that will harm your rankings because Google may think you are spamming them with one keyword when really this content should be ranking on another topic. If you want your content found by search engines - don't use misleading Titles!

3. Adhere to the Character Limit 

In order to stay within character limits, you can use the title tag tool we’ve mentioned above. This will help you create the proper title tag that can boost your chance of ranking well. We’ve also already provided examples of good and bad Title tags above so you’ll have an idea of what to avoid and what to replicate. 

4. Include keywords

Some people might think that Title tags are a no-brainer, but the truth is they’re one of your best bets for optimizing SEO. The most important thing to remember when using Titles on web pages is keyword research. 

With tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush, you can find out which keywords drive traffic not only to individual posts or articles but also across all content in general and it will point them out like a lighthouse guiding ships home at night!

However, you must be wary about how you use your keywords.

Google has long been able to recognize what we call "keyword stuffing"––this is where someone will put an excessive number of words on a Title tag or a website's index pages for no other reason than boosting their search engine ranking.  

This practice actually carries some risks: If Google perceives this type of manipulation, then they may change your Title text and you’ll most likely not rank for this keyword.

Example: Groom Your Dog: A Guide to Dog Grooming for Groomed Pups | Animal Grooming 

The term "grooming" occurs four times, which is excessive. Here, a simple "How to Groom Your Dog," title should be good enough.

While the example above isn’t the best way to write your Title tag, it got one thing right: Your keyword should be placed at the beginning of your query.

Many believe that your keywords should be placed at the beginning of the Title tag to increase rankings, while others claim it does not make much difference. 

Looking at the image below, we can see that the main keyword appears within the first five words of each article ranking at the top after the first organic result and Google Feature results.



There are times where the keyword will be placed at the end of a Title; nevertheless, it is best to put the keyword as close to the start of the Title as possible.

5. Remove “Stop words” 

The reason to remove stop words like "a," and "the" is because Google will skip right over them.

I just did a search for “watch The Crown” on my phone, but without the word ‘The' in front of 'Crown.' I noticed that it pulled up the same website-–which means these words don't really add anything to what we're searching! 

To make the most of your Title tag, you want to get rid of anything that wastes characters. Your 60 character limit means every letter counts and should have a purpose. You can't afford any futile characters there if it's not going to be useful.

It's best to get rid of stop words even if your Title tag won’t end up with perfect grammar. Most people are now used to seeing blog titles with very few stop words so you shouldn’t worry about it.

Any of the following can be considered as a stop word:

  • A

  • And

  • But

  • So

  • On

  • Or

  • The

  • Was

  • With

It might seem that having a Title tag without stop words is impossible at times, but by experimenting with several variations of the same Title, you may find them.

6. Include “Action words”

Action words, on the other hand, are great for Titles because you're telling users what to do. So use action-oriented keywords in your Title tag. It will be effective to use action words on your Title because you'll be telling users exactly what to do next if this article interests them enough after reading it––click here or download this book!

It doesn’t really do much for SEO but one of the most important parts of any website content is guiding your visitors through a process. If you want to lead someone from one point on their journey, they need to know where that leads them next. Mentioning things like "boost traffic" or "build credibility" will get people excited about what comes after clicking on your page.

Using action words in your Title tags will encourage users to click through. The following are some examples of action words that are frequently used in titles:

  • Get

  • Take

  • Boost

  • Learn

  • Make

  • Go

 

You get the picture. Use words that denote action or a service in your Title to let the user know what kind of content they can expect on your page. Using words like “learn” will provide an educational experience, while using words like “get” denotes some form of instructions is available for download.

Titles like the one below can be perplexing because they tell me that I can get "Free YouTube Views" but not in what context. Is it software that will create YouTube views for my video automatically? Is it a guide? There is no way to tell just by looking at the title. 



Only after reading the meta tag summary do I completely comprehend the Title tag. They are promoting their method which may result in a higher bounce rate if I expect an automated program to assist me.

On that note, remember to write Title tags to complement your meta description so that readers can tell what to expect from your web page simply by looking at the Title.

 

7. When to Use Branding



 I've mentioned in one of the earlier videos that a lot of times, you can stick your brand name in your Title tag. If you have a space in your Title tag, you can put your brand name at the end.

Usually, that makes the Title tag a little bit too long but that's something you want to include if you have room. However, the one exception is your homepage. On your homepage, you want to put your brand name first. This may make your Title too long but you want to do this for two different reasons.

One––for users. If somebody is using Google to search for your company name, you want your website to have your business name first because most likely, they're going to be searching for your business name or your website name and they're probably very similar if not identical. Therefore, you want to have it right away the first thing they see so that they know that's what they're looking for.

The second reason is for SEO. You basically want to tell Google, “Hey, this site is my business. This is what it is.” You don't need to do that for all the inner pages, but for the homepage.

This is a very good idea. If your business name makes your Title tag too long, find ways to adjust it somehow. For example, if you need to say “and”, you can use an ampersand to save on two characters. 



Ranking high in the SERPs also means you'll be able to feature your brand prominently, which can help convince other users that your website is reputable and trustworthy.

8. Don’t Duplicate Title Tags and Headings 

Having a distinct heading in your Title tag lets you target more than one keyword or phrase. This is like having two SEO horses running at the same time, so it will be much easier to win!

This wikiHow article is an excellent example for maximizing the potential of H1 and Title tags.



The title is straightforward and succinct; it conveys the intent of the article by using the most relevant keywords, “How to Make a Blanket Fort”.



The Title Tag has a character limit of 60 characters, so there is some space to include additional keywords and/or compel users to click on the post.

In this instance, wikiHow has taken advantage of the opportunity to remind users that there are "12 Steps" and that the article contains images. Lists and images are two of the most popular content among users. This is aimed at users who use the keyword "with images," which is a popular term in Google search.

Furthermore, wikiHow has used the last available characters to include their brand name “ - wikiHow” to increase brand recognition.

Remember this!

Title tags may seem like a facet of ‘Beginner’s SEO’ but they play a CRITICAL ROLE and will impact your SEO significantly.

Make a copy and use our Title & Meta Tag Tool to create, track and maintain your title and meta description tags. (it includes the Title Tag Checklist!)

Remember the First Rule of Title Tags - they MUST be accurate and specific to the content of your web pages. 

From there, make sure they are enticing for readers!

 

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