The Page Title Tag it is the most important on-page SEO element and it's the first line of text that a reader will see in search results. It also appears in the browser when the page is open.
Even though it is very easy to optimize it some people still get it wrong. So let's see 10 tips to write the best optimized title tags for your website pages:
1. Use keyword/s at the beginning of the title tag
The best place for your Primary Keyword is at the beginning of your title tag. It's the first word that the search engine will read and it's the keyword you wanted for your page. If, for example the reader searches for a "painter", your first word in the title should be painter, or painting services. Keep it descriptive and concise. To learn more how to choose your keywords read our post about "keyword research strategy".
2. Use keyphrases instead of keywords.
Think about when you search for something; what words do you use? Readers usually type in the search field phrases, not just one word. Or, when you start typing the word you're looking for, Google instantly gives you phrase options for that keyword, which are phrases with your keyword that are searched the most. That way Google makes sure you get the best and most relevant results for a better user experience. Now, if your keyword/phrase is included in your domain name, then your page title and domain name will complement each other getting better results from search engines. Read my post on how to choose the best domain name for your website SEO.
3.Use modifiers adjectives
The most common adjectives that people use in day to day communications, are also very common in search, so a good practice is to use them with your Primary Keywords. These words are called modifiers: best, affordable, fast, clean, modern, etc... When you are looking for "paining service" you are actually looking for the "best services" or for "clean services", "affordable services", etc...
4. Use numbers
Not a SEO tip but rather from mine and others usability experience, it looks like readers are more likely to click on a search result when they see a number in the title like "5 steps to clean your hard drive" or "SEO in 20 steps". Not necessary but it could help.
5. Your Business Name comes at the end or not at all
For branding and identity reasons, your business name should appear in the title of your website page. As we've seen earlier, first words are the keywords, so the company name comes last. This is a valid method for most of businesses. The case is different with big, known brands that the readers are likely to look for, like for example someone would search for Nike shoes. In all other cases when the brand is not nationally known the company name comes last. Having the name in the title it helps Google to build that brand name relevance when it gets pulled up in search again and again.
The company name doesn't have to be put in every page title. It can appear on the home, about, services, contact pages but doesn't really make sense to appear in the blog page titles. As we will see later on, every page should have a different page title.
6. Use location in page title tag
Very important for local businesses and not only, your business location should come up in the page title. As you could see in my examples in the beginning of the post, location should come up after the keyword/phrase. Think about when you search for a service; isn't it more likely to search that service in your area? A good practice for page title and meta description is this:
Main Keyword + Location |Business Name| More keywords
Information about more services/keywords. Phone Number, Location,
7. Use different page title tags for each page
As I said earlier, every page should have its own distinctive, concise page title. That's why you might not have your company name in every one of your page titles. If your business offer different services, with one page for each service (another good practice) then each page title tag would have those different services keywords in it.
8. Keep the page title length in about 70 characters
The major search engines only show the first 69-70 character, so longer than that it will not show in search results anyway. To keep the titles in that length, use the next good practices:
- eliminate the use of comas
- use hyphens (-) or pipes (|)
- eliminate stop words as the search engines will do it anyway: the, is, at, which, on, etc...
- don't over crowed with keywords - no stuffing
- don't use special characters
9. Avoid repeated or boilerplate titles
This is an advice that comes directly from Google and it really makes sense. As the title tag is the first line readers will see in search, there is no reason you should make them all the same. If the business offer more "automotive" services, the title tags should not all say "best automotive services in town". they should be rather separate title tags with each service offered: "oil change...", "brakes...", "alignment...".
The boilerplate titles are standardized long titles that differ by a small piece of information like Google's example of bad title: "<band name> - See videos, lyrics, posters, albums, reviews and concerts". Besides the fact this title should not repeat itself on pages with just <band name> different, the content itself should be dynamically update to offer concise information about the page.
10. Reflect the keyword from title tag in the body page text
The last but not least in importance is to reuse the keyword from the title tag in the <h1> title of the page, and the page's body text. That's what Google is looking for when it's crawling a website. If it finds that keyword in these three places, it knows for sure that the keyword/phrase is what that page is about. The rest is "just" relevance.
If you get stuck in finding the best title tag for your website page, just leave a comment with the details and I will gladly help you!