I am often asked what one thing I would do to help focus and increase awareness of a website, or what are the quick wins in SEO. There are probably a multitude of answers to both questions but, in my experience, one aspect of effective on-page SEO that hasn’t really changed, in terms of impact, is the SEO title or, in code, ‘speak’ the page < title >
So why is the important?
It is more often than not used for the link in the search results, it is designed to show the potential visitor what they can expect from any given page / result.
Google uses this information in its algorithm to gauge the topic / theme of the page.
Therefore, engaging, relevant <title> tags can both help compel a searcher to click on your result and they can help pages rank well for important keywords.
By considering your title tags carefully you can ensure your site is focused and appealing to both users and search engines, here are some best practices for you to consider:
Keep the length of the title tags between 70-90 characters
This is not a hard and fast rule as we have seen results when including additional characters / keywords but anything past 70-90 and the titles get ‘cut off’ in the search results. It also helps you to remain concise and to not include too many keywords and phrases.
Keywords in the title tag
Ultimately you want to do two things, firstly you want to include keywords that are relevant to any given page. As I have mentioned, the title tag (with other page optimisation techniques) helps to focus a webpage and the more focused the webpage, the better chance Google understands the information on that webpage. The second part is to include keywords that include your target rankings as the more focused content you can add within a given webpage, the more likely you are to rank for that product or service.
Avoid unnecessary words
Think of a title tag as a statement rather than a sentence, there is no need to waste characters making the title tag makes sense grammatically, you can also use characters such as “&” instead of “and” to help conserve character use.
We sell Flowers bouquets and arrangements in our shop in Hampshire, could be more effective as:
Flower Bouquets & Arrangements, Hampshire, South | Great Flower Shop
Keep all title tags unique
As well as understanding that each title has to contain important keywords and information about the given page, it is also important to keep all title tags unique across the site. Resist the temptation to keep repeating formats and keywords; instead find derivatives of those keywords and different keywords that explain your products or services.
Use Words to compel the user
You can use words such as ‘Buy’ and ‘Download’ to help to signpost the searcher and compel them to click on your link, just ensure you are describing the page, your products and or services.
General practice is to always place your brand at the end of any title tag, this helps to endorse your brand and therefore rank well for brand related keywords but try to avoid repeating keywords that are in your brand. ACME Cement Services for example is a brand so it is unnecessary to place ‘Cement services’ elsewhere in the title – this also helps to keep length down if you have a long brand name.
Don’t repeat the title on page
It is important to keep the page as unique and ‘flowing’ as possible so don’t repeat the title tag in the on-page header (or generally <h1>) . You can use the main keywords for the H1, just don’t mirror the title on-page.
We hope that has gone some way to give you an idea how important the <title> tag is in terms of rankings and brand awareness; it is an important tag and used well can help you attain quick wins within the major search engines.