Title Tags still play a crucial role in allowing the search engines to understand your website. Of course, there are countless other factors that will allow search engines like Google to recognise your website as high quality, but Title Tags are a fundamental element of on-page SEO that should never be forgotten.
What is a Title Tag?
A Title Tag is the title of your web page, each page should have a different and unique title based on what the page is about. The Title Tag will look like this in the code of your website (if you are Homebase):
Your Title Tag will usually show up in the search results as the blue link above your listing, like so:
It is important to remember these two elements; Title Tags are part of the coding of your website but also that it is potentially the first impression someone will have of your website in the search results.
Top tips for Title Tags
Don’t forget to make it clickable!
It can be so easy to get wound up in the fact that you are trying to tell Google or other search engines what your page is about and forget the fact that this is the first impression someone may have of your website.
You need to make searchers want to click, you want to make a good impression and describe what the page is about concisely. Steer clear of phrasing that doesn’t fit in with your branding but make sure you are informative. For example, you don’t want your Title Tag to read something like:
“One of the UK’s leading and best websites for buying Gardening equipment | Homebase”
More than the first half of this is not useful for anyone, and it is so long that it will truncate at the end anyway so most of it will not be visible from the search results.
Think of something informative and snappy and don’t forget that this could be the first impression someone gets of your website, so make it good!
Make sure each page has a unique Title Tag
Each page on your website should be about something different, otherwise why would you have more than one page for it? The same applies for your Title Tags, your Title Tags should be about the page and what is on it.
You don’t want to mislead the search engines, but you also don’t want to mislead a visitor by providing inaccurate or generic Title Tags that give no information about what they will find on the page. Duplicating your Title Tags or not including them at all is a huge mistake, one that you don’t want to be making! Not only will it confuse the robots crawling your website and those trying to visit your website from search engines, but it is also an indicator of a low quality website – something you do not want to be associated with!
There is a reason I chose Homebase for my example in this post. Homebase recently launched their new website but forgot one important factor; their Title Tags. Not only did it affect their appearance in the search results, but it also lead to ridicule in the Digital Marketing community. Getting your Title Tags right is a fundamental element of both user experience (when they are in the search engines looking at your results) but also of allowing the search engines to understand what your website is even about!
Fix your formatting!
Title Tags are your opportunity to control how you appear in the search results so make sure your formatting is right. Google have recently undergone a re-design which has changed the Title Tag length has shortened, as the font size of the title has increased.
How long your Title Tag should be has never been an easy question however, as it has always depended on the width of each character. For example, you can have more ‘l’s than ‘m’s because ‘m’s are a lot wider. I would recommend testing your Title Tags on a tool like Moz’s Title Tag Preview Tool. This is such an important part of your appearance in the search results that getting this right is key. You do not want your results to appear truncated as the Homebase homepage does:
Branding is important
When you know your Title Tags are being used by search engine robots as a factor to understand the contents of your page (it’s not the only factor!), it may be difficult to strike a balance between your branding and the searches you want to show up in.
I always think both are as important as each other. You want to be as useful and informative as possible which will usually mean using the kinds of phrases people will be searching for to find your page, but if you find that these phrases are rude, insensitive (if you work in a sensitive industry) or if you’re just not comfortable with it then you will need to strike a balance. Speak with your team and work out the best of both worlds – you want to be to the point and informative without creating a bad or insensitive impression. Staying true to your brand is important!
Check your Title Tags
As we all know in Digital Marketing, things change – a lot! If Google doesn’t like your Title Tag, no matter what the reason they can and will change it. Whether they believe it is over optimised, too long or not informative enough they can and will change how it appears in the search results – usually to something very basic.
You must check your appearance in the search results, are your Title Tags displaying properly? If not, find out why and change it!
Now you’ve fixed your Title Tags, why not find out how to write a killer meta description?