Understanding the Title Tag

The title tag is an element of your webpage’s header that defines the title of a webpage that is used in your browser’s tab, favorite links, social sharing previews, and most importantly on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Code Snippet

<title>Example Title</title>


The Title

The title element of a web page should be an accurate and concise description of a page’s content. This is where most people can trip up when creating a title. The title should contain elements of what is in the page so that people searching for the page know what to expect when they see the title come up in Search Results. This element is critical to both user experience and search engine optimization. It creates value in three specific areas: relevancy, browsing, and in the search engine results pages.

For most of your pages, the title does not require your brand name, unless that page is using the brand as the keyword.

Most Useful Title Format

Primary Keyword/Phrase – Secondary Keyword/phrase 

Why your title tag is important for SEO

A title tag is the main text that describes your page on the URL. The title tag of your page is one of the most important on-page SEO elements as it appears in three key places: browsers, search engine results pages (SERP), and share links on external websites.

1. Browser

Title tags show up in the top of a browser’s tabs next to your favicon. Also, if you are lucky enough to gain a bookmark from a user, the suggested text for the bookmark is your title tag.

2. Search Engine Results Page (SERP)

When a page on your website is returned by the search engine, the link provided is your Title Tag.

When you use keywords in the title tag, search engines will highlight them in the search results if a user has performed a query including those keywords. This gives the user greater visibility and generally means you’ll get a higher click-through rate.

3. Social Media and External Websites

Many websites, including Facebook and Twitter, will use the title tag of a web page as its link anchor text when it displays the content on their website.

Optimizing Your Titles

Because title tags are such an important part of search engine optimization, implementing best practices for title tags makes for a terrific low-effort, high-impact SEO task. Here are critical recommendations for optimizing title tags for search engine and usability goals:

Be Mindful of the Length of your Titles

Search engines will truncate titles in search results that exceed a certain pixel length. For Google, this length is usually between 50-60 characters, or 512 pixels wide. If the title is too long, engines will show an ellipsis, “…” to indicate that a title tag has been cut off. That said, the length is not a hard and fast rule. Longer titles often work better for social sharing, and many SEOs believe search engines may use the keywords in your title tag for ranking purposes, even if those keywords get cut off in search results. In the end, it’s usually better to write a great title that converts and gets clicks than it is to obsess over length.

Place Important Keywords Close to the Front of the Title Tag

The closer to the start of the title tag a keyword is, the more helpful it will be for ranking and the more likely a user will be to click them in search results.

Consider Readability and Emotional Impact

Creating a compelling title tag will pull in more visits from the search results. It’s vital to think about the entire user experience when you’re creating your title tags, in addition to optimization and keyword usage. The title tag is a new visitor’s first interaction with your website when they find it in search results; it should convey the most positive message possible.

Harness the Power of the Title Tag

Now that you better understand title tags, go take a look at your site. Do your Titles capture the essence of your page’s content? Would someone searching for your site know what to expect when clicking on the title of your page in the SERPs? Are your titles too catchy or too over the top that makes it difficult to understand what your page is about?

With all of this information in hand, look to the headers of your webpages and see if you can make the changes that will drive better more relevant traffic to your site.