The meta tag <title> or title tag is part of the most determining element for the SEO, as well as the URL, the meta description tag, the Hn tags, the alt attributes and the internal links.
Its role is twofold: it allows search engine crawlers to know the content of a web page, and it encourages visitors to click.
The title tag should not be confused with the h1 tag which is the title of an article or a page visible by the users on the site, which is not the case of the title tag.
Its drafting is a specialized exercise during which it is necessary to be both technical, to meet the requirements of engines, while keeping an attractive style to capture the attention of users.
The title tag is considered by SEO experts as one of the main “hot zones” of SEO. If this tag is so important is because it is the first signal read by Google robots when they analyze a page, each term that composes it and the theme to which they relate are crucial to enable them to evaluate and position a page in the search-results.
It is not only crawlers that will discover the title tag before knowing the content of the page linked to it, it is also the case of Internet users whose clicks on the page link will depend on the quality of its writing. In order to encourage clicks, it must therefore offer a relevant and motivating summary.
The title tag is often used to share a link on social networks. Writing a relevant page title is therefore recommended to promote the relaying and sharing of your blog article or page by the members of your community.
However, this role tends to be reduced because the most well-known CMSs allow you to write specific page titles for sharing on social networks.
As we have already said above, the title tag is what web users and crawlers will perceive first on your page. It must therefore provide a clear and motivating summary that must be calibrated according to the content that will be discussed on this page.
Concrete cases of title tags for blog articles, product pages for e-commerce or showcase pages, to name just a few, are presented in this article.
A title tag must imperatively contain the keyword or key expressions related to the content of the web page it represents. A good way to find the words that “speak” to google and to internet users is to ask yourself questions such as: What is the main subject of my page? What is the message I am trying to get across? What query would I make in Google to find the content my article is about?
Related Google searches (the ones at the bottom of a results page) also allow you to see what queries are most frequently made around the topic you’re talking about in your article. This method allows you to discover the complementary keywords that can help you position your web page with a more precise targeting that will certainly drain less traffic but will address a very specific audience. (see our article on the long tail for more information on this subject)
Don’t forget that for optimal efficiency, your main keyword must also be found in the hn tags, image tags and text of the page concerned. If you ignore this rule, Google will find that your tag is not consistent and will penalize the referencing of the linked page.
To be more concrete, let’s take a look at examples:
Here are two properly worded tags:
The important keywords (Language holidays and Travel to Ireland) are placed at the beginning of the title and the other terms describe well what you will find on this page.
And here are two other tags that will not have the expected impact:
This is to promote the same services as with the previous tags but here the keywords are not located in the right place and the titles do not give a precise description of the page content.
The most important keywords should be placed at the beginning of the tag in order to give them more weight and for Google robots to understand the main subject of the page and the hierarchy of your idea.
But that’s not all!
Google is using more and more semantic analysis to judge the quality of an article or a page. It will be necessary to use words in the text of the page that evoke the universe of the main keyword. So if the main keyword is “gardening”, the use of terms such as: planting, sowing, fertilizer, digging, watering, sun (for example) will be a sign for Google that there is consistency in the content and the title of the article
As you know, duplicate content is very bad for your SEO, it may be that your pages that would have the same title are ignored by search engines.
If your pages have similar themes you must differentiate their titles, but nothing prevents you from keeping a close structure. This can also be an opportunity to:
The title tags below are different enough to not be considered as duplicated, and at the same time they allow you to publish three different articles that will each reinforce the weight of the keyword “Travel to Provence”.
The logic will be more or less the same for the product description pages of an e-commerce site where it will be wise to adopt a structure such as:
600 pixels is the size of the title tags that are displayed in Google (on a computer). The fact that this dimension is expressed in pixels does not make it possible to determine a precise number of characters, but rather a range which is generally between 65 and 70 characters (or 8 to 12 words). As you will have understood, letters like i or j and others like m, w or capital letters do not consume the same number of pixels – keep this in mind when writing.
Beyond more or less 70 characters your title will be cut by three small dots, which is detrimental to its understanding by the user. However, Google will take into account titles that are much longer and that are not displayed in the search results (it will read without problem tags of 100, 200 characters or more, but the weight of each word will be proportionally weakened). Be aware that the weight of each word is weighted by the total number of words in the tag. A tag that is too long will therefore alter the effectiveness of the words placed at the beginning of the sentence and give little weight to those placed at the end of the sentence.
A tag that is too short may not be evocative enough to tempt the user (except in the case of a well-known brand or product) and may be misclassified by Google, which will have difficulty determining the theme of the page.
If you write a title that does not meet Google’s technical constraints, Google may in some cases modify it in its own way. This can happen if your title is too long or too short, or if the content related to the page is not consistent with what the title tag promises.
If Google only uses technical criteria to measure the attractiveness of a tag, the user will be sensitive (or not) to the style of the tag. Google has the means to know if this style pleases, indeed, it takes into account the CTR (the click rate in the search results) or the bounce rate to deduce the attractiveness of the title and the content of the page. If the CTR is strong, the position of the page will be reevaluated in the engine results… and vice versa.
Using 8 to 12 words make people want to be there while remaining realistic, avoid banalities and non-explicit terms such as: Home page, About us, Welcome to our company’s website …
The numbers in a title tag jump directly to the eye, tags using numbers in search results tend to get a higher click rate.
When the Internet user consults Google’s search results page, he or she is confronted with a lot of information. Numbers have the power to simplify information by giving it a quantitative dimension.
Using a recent date in your tag may suggest that the information you are providing is more recent and therefore more relevant to the news.
The correct use of action verbs promotes clicking because they provide a concrete answer to what will happen if a click is made. However, be careful not to disappoint users once they arrive on your page: your bounce rate will have an impact.
Action verbs should rather be used imperatively: buy, try, enjoy… and should give a precise indication of the benefit that will be obtained by clicking on your tag.
Formulating questions also helps to give more incentive to click on a tag, because curiosity encourages you to click.
Don’t hesitate to go to Google to see what your competitors are doing and make sure you stand out from them.
Beyond the technical advice we have just discussed and that will gradually allow you to become pros of the title tag we would like to conclude with three tips that we apply to ourselves in this delicate exercise: