How To Write The Perfect SEO Title Tag In 2019
What is a meta title tag?
A title tag is an HTML tag placed in the header of a page, between the <head></head> tags. It is used by web browsers and search engines to show the title of a page, for example:
<title>Ten Best Ways To Stop Smoking - Health4U</title>
Why is a title tag important
There are 3 main reasons a title tag is highly important when optimizing a site for SEO purposes:
- A title tag is the 'headline' that appears on Google's search result pages. Just as on a newspaper, its purpose is to catch the interest of a reader and encourage them to read the page. This means a great, relevant title that excites and intrigues will out perform a stale, dull one.
- Google gives page titles great importance when understanding the topic of a page. There is no clearer signal of a page's relevance to a topic than the words the author uses to describe that document.
- Social sharing: Just as your site's headlines become important when viewed on a search result page, they are also vital when your site is shared on a social network. The more compulsive your title is, the more likely a reader will click your link to read
How long should a title tag be?
While there is no fixed limit to the length of a title tag, for SEO purposes it recommended to stay concise. If you write a title tag that is too short, you may limit your ability to rank for a broad range of keywords. Make your title tag too long, and Google will likely truncate your title tag.
While 'best practices' claim that the longest a title tag can be is 60 characters, in reality there is no set figure.
Instead, Google decides where to truncate a title tag based on its width in pixels. This is currently in the region of 600 pixels wide. This means it is not the number of characters that matters, but their physical size! Since CAPITAL LETTERS ARE WIDER than lowercase you may be able to squeeze more in by avoiding Title Case.
How to craft the perfect page title for SEO in 2019
As Google and your average searcher have matured, page titles have moved far beyond keyword stuffing! Here's our top tips for writing a meta title tag that demonstrates your relevance to both Google and humans:
- Start with your core keyword
- Research and prioritize the top modifiers and synonyms your audience use
- Balancing readability with breadth, add your top variants to the title
- Enhance the title with power words, emotional hooks and a call to action
- Ruthlessly edit and cut words to keep your title snappy and on point
Start with your core keyword
This should be the key topic of your page. Depending on your page's depth this might be a head term such as 'credit repair'. Or it could be a long tail, highly specific term such as 'credit repair after a default'.
Research synonyms and modifiers around your topic
As a planet of individuals, we all search differently. By covering a range of synonyms in your titles, headings and article copy you can greatly increase your potential audience.A searcher for 'credit repair' might also consider using 'credit history', 'report' or 'score'. Likewise you might swap 'default' for 'late payment' or even 'bankruptcy'.For some pages these variants may be irrelevant, but it can pay to spend some time with a keyword tool. Consider which variations are the most relevant. You should also compare which are the easiest search results to compete in.Next, take a look at modifiers people might add to their search. For instance, in this example a user might add modifiers such as:
- How to
- Can I
- Steps to
It's clear you'll struggle to fit all the modifiers you find. Take some time to consider which make for the most natural phrasing. Can you group multiple searches under one synonym? In this list we can see that 'how to', 'steps to' and 'ways to' are all broadly the same intent. There's no need to include all three, as their meanings clearly overlap.
Add your top keyword modifiers to the title
Once you've found a good list of modifiers decide which are the most important to include. You can then add them to your core keywords to form a title. With our research above we might settle on any of these:
- Credit Repair After A Default. Easy Ways To Improve Your Score
- How To Repair Credit Score Fast After Missed Payments
By including a selection of modifiers as well as our primary keyword(s) we cover many more phrases.We now have the ability to rank for a much wider basket of keyword searches. But our titles themselves are pretty drab. Without adding some human interest we will struggle to stand out. It is unlikely people will rush to click our link over the other 9 options on page one. Instead, we need to look at ways to make our listing more enticing and strive for a higher organic click through rate.
Add excitement with power words, emotion and action
By using strong, emotive language in your titles you can trigger a response from your readers, drawing them into your page content. Pages with emotional titles are proven to get more shares on social media and attract more clicks - and the same is clearly true for search engine results pages.
Read our article on improving your organic click through rate for more ideas!
Edit your title for brevity and clarity
Now you should have a keyword rich, emotional, exciting title tag. Chances are it may be a little long winded, so the last step is to cut ruthlessly. Can you rephrase the title to get the same emotional hook in fewer words? Could you collapse your keyword modifiers into one all-encompassing synoym?
Having decided on the hook and the modifiers you need, you will no doubt need to prioritise some elements of your title over the others. Synonyms and modifiers you cut from the title should be saved and tactically added to subheadings and content of the article body to ensure you continue to hit a range of long tail keywords. Consider using some of the stronger modifiers in internal links to the page to broaden the range of keywords you rank for even further.
Finally - why not try writing out a few variations on your final title tag, and testing them using our SEO testing tool? Whether you aim to optimize for higher click through rates or greater overall traffic it pays to be confident that each tweak is lifting traffic and conversions for every iteration.