Search engines look for hundreds of different signals to determine where and how to rank websites in their respective index. Google, for instance, recently revealed its top three ranking signals: backlinks, content and RankBrain.
But there’s another ranking signal that’s particularly important for search engine optimization: page titles. Using the right title tags on your webpages will encourage higher search rankings while giving you greater control over where your page ranks in the search results.
What is a Title Tag?
The title tag, also known as the title element, is a piece of HTML code you use to define the title of a webpage. Browsers often display the title tag of a webpage in the respective tag, making it useful for conveying the meaning or topic of a webpage to visitors.
But the real benefit of title tags comes from its usage as a ranking signal. Google, Bing and Yahoo all use the title tag as part of their search-ranking algorithm, displaying it in their search listings while using it to determine the site’s ranking.
Creating Title Tags
Title tags should be an accurate, to-the-point description of a webpage’s content. Some webmasters make the mistake of reusing the same title tags across multiple pages, confusing the search engines in determining which page to rank in their index.
You should give each page of your website a unique title tag that conveys what is about. Depending on the content management system (CMS) you built your website on, it may automatically create a title tag based on the information you provide.
When creating your title tags, it’s important to keep them a reasonable length. According to the search marketing experts at Moz, Google typically displays the first 40-50 characters of a page’s title, at which point Google truncates the remainder.
Title Tag Tips
Here are some tips when creating title tags.
- Include the keywords you are trying to rank.
- Keep title tags under 50 characters for maximum search engine visibility.
- Avoid reusing the same title tags on multiple webpages.
- Target long-tail keywords in your page titles, not short-tail keywords. For information on long-tail keywords, take a look at this post.
- Include your brand name somewhere in the title tag, assuming you have space.
Note: Reusing your brand name in multiple page titles is okay.
- After Google has indexed your page, view the listing from the perspective of a visitor to see how your title looks.
- Avoid changing your page titles, as this may have a negative impact on its search rankings.
- Consider the readability of your page titles.
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Have any other tips on choosing page titles that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!
How to Choose the Right Page Titles for Your Website
Search engines look for hundreds of different signals to determine where and how to rank websites in their respective index. But there's another ranking signal that's particularly important for search engine optimization: page titles.