Title tags are an important for SEO because they tell search engines and users what your content is about. Good title tags are crucial to improving your rankings and organic traffic and that’s why optimizing title tags is a top on-page SEO strategy. Let’s dive into title tags and the different techniques you can implement to enhance them.
What are title tags?
Title tags are the blue clickable link that show up in the search results on search engines like Google. Title tags are both an important ranking and conversion factor for SEO because they entice a user to click on your post. Title tags should accurately reflect what your post is about and should include descriptive words that make users want to learn more.
When you have an engaging title tag that includes relevant keywords and information that is valuable or interesting for your audience, you will get more clicks.
Click-through rate (CTR) is also a ranking factor and by improving your title tags, you can also improve your CTR.
There are several ways to optimize your title tags for SEO as well as best practices you should follow. Let’s explore how to generate better SEO title tags that convert more users.
How to optimize titles for SEO
Title tags hold a lot of weight with Google and other search engines when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). When optimizing your on-page SEO (the content on your website), it is important to first review your title tags and headings to ensure they include targeted keywords and helpful content.
There are several different strategies that you can follow when creating title tags that are optimized for SEO. Here are a few tactics you can test out when crafting an effective title tag.
1. Use title case
Title case is when the first letter of most words is capitalized. This helps readers quickly scan a sentence and find keywords quickly. It is a best practice to use title case for title tags to make your result easy to read. Title tags that use title case often have better conversions.
2. Start with a number
Title tags that start with a number often do well because people like to see that they will get a certain number of tips, tricks, or examples all from one post.
Leading with a number like this example: “10 Easy & Effective Ways To Boost Your SEO” tells the user they can get 10 quick tips from a single post. The modifiers “easy” and “effective” also help convince the user that these tips actually work and are straightforward to implement. This type of title tag may perform better than something more generic like “How To Boost Your SEO.”
3. Lead with a high-volume keyword
When crafting a title tag, it’s important to keep in mind the placement of your keywords. After you’ve done your keyword research and identified the list of semantic keywords you want to hit for an article, it’s time to think about where they should fall in the title tag and headings. It is an SEO best practice to begin your title tag with the highest volume keyword phrase, or at least get it close to the front of the title tag. As we mentioned previously, a title tag carries the most SEO weight when it comes to on-page optimizations and keyword placement, so your targeted keyword should be at or near the beginning of your entire title tag.
This keyword placement also makes sense for user experience because when a user is looking through different results in the SERPs, the keyword that they’re searching for will be quick and easy to find on the results page.
4. Include a CTA
An effective strategy for crafting a compelling title tag is to lead with a call to action. A CTA in a title tag could look like “Download Free Email Marketing Strategies Guide”, “Women’s Fall Sweaters & Tops – Get $10 Off”, or “Shop Best Laptops & Computers for College Students” All of these examples include action-oriented words that will encourage clicks. Common CTAs include buy now, download here, shop sale, get $ off or get a quote, subscribe, try, sign up, learn more, find out how, get started,
5. Include an eye-catching modifier
Another strategy you can experiment with to entice users to click on your content is to include eye-catching descriptive words in your title tag. What does this look like? Some examples of enticing verbiage you can test in your title tags to attract more clicks include ultimate guide, expert tips, top secret, exclusive, supercharge, dominate, proven strategies, mind-blowing, and more. Using words similar to these examples in your title tags will create a sense of urgency or authority with your audience and get them more interested in the post.
6. Ask a question
Another strategy that can be effective when creating engaging title tags is asking a question. Often users are asking questions and looking for specific answers in Google or other search engines. You can attract users to your post by leading with their questions and showing that you have an answer. An example of this would be a title tag that says “How Can I Get a Job in SEO?” You can take this title tag up a notch by adding “Here’s How” or “Explained” at the end to show that you answer this question in detail in the post.
You can also include “Learn more here” or “Discover how to…” in your meta description which is just underneath your title tag in the SERPs to further convey that the user will find the answer they are looking for within your article.
7. Lead with stats or social proof
Everyone loves data. Whenever you have a statistic or social proof that can back up your content, use it! Data and customer testimonials resonate with different audiences and demonstrate credibility and authority on a topic. Including statistics in your title tags makes them more compelling and trustworthy.
8. Include relevant locations or times
Appeal to specific audiences that are looking for fresh content or location-based articles by including a relevant time or location in the title tag. If you’re writing a guide that is specific to tips and trends in a certain year or quarter, you should include that time in your title tag. Not many sites add this kind of information in title tags so this could be a good way to stand out in search results.
One important thing to remember when including locations, periods of time, or dates in title tags is that after that time has passed, it is important to go back and update those title tags so they are still relevant for the following year. For instance, if you have a post called “Ultimate Guide to SEO Trends in 2023” you will want to go back and update the date to 2024 the next year. Users prefer fresh, accurate, and relevant content over old, possibly outdated content.
9. End with your brand name
So we discussed how you should start your title tags, but how should you finish them? It is an SEO best practice to include the brand or website name at the end of the title tag. You will see that some sites choose to use a hyphen followed by their brand name (Insert Title Tag – RankScience) while others will use the pipe symbol followed by their brand name (Insert Title Tag | RankScience). Either of these options are acceptable for SEO. However, sometimes you can fit a few more characters or a longer keyword into your title tag if you use the pipe symbol.
How long should they be?
When writing a title tag, you want to make sure that it is not so long that it will truncate in Google search results. What does this mean? Sometimes when title tags are too long and have too many characters some of the words at the end will be cut off in the search results, followed by ellipses. It is best to avoid writing very lengthy title tags.
There are free tools you can use to check the length of your title tag before publishing your article. Metatags.io is a free, easy to use tool that allows you to plug in your example title tag along with a meta description and see a preview of how it would look in the search results.
You may be able to get away with a title tag as long as 74-78 characters before it truncates and gets cut off.
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