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Title Tag Optimization: How to Write Titles that Search Engines Love

A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a title by any other name may be a stinker. Choosing the right title for your content is key if you want to be found online. Good title tags help you push your content further and improve your chances of ranking on Google.


What is a Title Tag?

Simply put, a title tag is the title that appears in the search engine results page (SERP).

titleThe title appears in blue text on the SERP and is directly clickable. In technical terms, your title tag is a part of your website's HTML. You don't need to understand coding to mark title tags though - almost all websites make the title of your page your title tag by default. For example, WordPress pulls your title as you enter it on a page or blog post.


How to Write Titles that Search Engines Love

1. Use Your Target Keywords

The title of your page is arguably the most important piece of on-page SEO, so it's critical to make sure it includes your keywords. Simply put, keywords are the key words you want to rank for (har, har). These are the words and phrases someone would use to find your business, like "digital marketing" or "florist near me."

Not sure what your keywords are? That's where keyword research comes in. Generally, your keywords will match your services. When creating page titles, research shows that putting your keywords first helps you rank better. 

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2. Don't Overdue Keywords

Often, when someone hears that keywords are important their first inclination is to shove as many keywords as possible into their title. However, this can actually have a negative impact on your page - Google punishes websites for "keyword stuffing." Stick to main keywords in your title, and only those that are relevant to that page

For example, if this blog had "social media marketing" in the title, that would be misleading. Even though "social media marketing" is one of BizzyWeb's keywords, it's irrelevant to the topic of this blog.


3. Be Mindful of Length

If your title is too long, Google will cut it off with an ellipsis (...). However, deciding title length is a little tricker than just falling under a character limit, because Google determines where to cut off text based on pixel width, not character length. Meaning you can have two titles with the same exact number of characters, but one will be cut off while the other isn't because of the width of the letters.

Generally speaking, aim for 60 characters or less in your title. We recommend running all your titles through Moz's free Title Tag Preview Tool. This will give you a clearer picture of where Google may cut off your text based on pixel width. However, this is also a case where you have to use your best judgement. Some titles may need to be longer, or Google may cut off your title by including your business name. The goal is to avoid wordiness while accurately describing your blog topic. Ultimately, this has no negative affect on your page's ability to rank, but it helps readability if your full title is visible.

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4. Use Unique Titles

Each page and blog on your website should have their own unique title tag. You want each title tag to be about that page, not a blanket statement across your website. For example, on our social media page, we should...

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The latter is more vague and would do nothing for our website if we used it on every page. It's better to be specific than to try and hit your top keyword in every single page title.


5. Write For People

Ultimately, the goal is to entice real humans to click on your content. Ranking high on Google just means more visibility for your content. When writing titles, you should always keep your target customer in mind and write to them, not to search engines. You can always tweak your title after to shrink its size and make sure it includes your keywords. Your title tag is someone's first impression of your brand: it should be accurate, understandable and enticing.

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Writing good titles may seem challenging, but following these guidelines will help you choose the best names for your pages and blog posts.

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Need a new digital marketing or web design plan? We are a Minneapolis SEO, digital marketing, social media marketing, web design and HubSpot inbound marketing agency. Stop on by and get started – and while you’re here, pick up a free honey stick (yes, we love our bee-related theme).