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Title Tag Guidelines & Best Practices for SEO

A man reading a Title Tag through a magnifying glass.Learn the optimized title tag guidelines and best practices for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for 2014.

The title tag is an HTML title element that’s important to both search engine optimization and online user experience. Title Tag’s are the headlines used in search engine results preview snippets that briefly but accurately describe the content found in an online document. Examples of online documents would be website pages, posts, online PDF’s, images, videos, etc. Title tag definition by databasedads.

The title tag has historically been one of the most important elements used when matching a search query to relevant online content. However, as search engine algorithms have increased their intelligence, title tags have been grouped with additional factors such as a website link profile, link anchor text, 3rd party citations, social media interaction, site speed/performance and many other online ranking factors. But even as search engines try to create algorithms that encompass multiple factors, it’s still believed that the Title Tag has remained one of the most important.

 

WHERE DO TITLE TAGS APPEAR ONLINE?

There are three major places where Title Tags have the most impact; in the title bar of your web browser, as the headline found in search engine results pages (SERP’S), and on external websites such as Facebook and other social media sites. These are the three places where search engines and users will find your Title Tags.

Titles found in the title bar of your web browser

Image of a title tag in a web browser

Titles found in the search engine results pages (SERPS)

Image of a title tag in the search engine results pages.

Titles found on external websites

Image of a title tag found on Facebook

 

WHY ARE TITLE TAGS IMPORTANT FOR SEARCH ENGINES & USERS?

Why are Title Tags important for Search Engines?
Search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo use Title Tags and other elements to help match a search query to relevant online content. Your Title Tag and it’s keywords are one of the most important factors Search Engines use in matching a query to the appropriate content found in there results pages

Why are Title Tags important for user experience?
When a user makes a search query they expect to find results related to what they’re looking for. Your Title Tag or headline is the most prominent piece of information used in their determination whether to click, or not to click. Online searchers scan through Title Tag’s from different results and make a determination to as whether your page has the answer to their query.

 

BEST PRACTICES FOR OPTIMIZING SEO TITLE TAGS

Format:

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

Length:

Google is currently using a display width of 512-pixels. With the new display width, title tags are best displayed when staying within 50 – 60 characters. Based on title tag studies by MOZ, you can expect your entire title to display with a 95% success rate when keeping your characters under 55.

You’ll want to keep in mind that width can vary depending on certain factors. For example, using all caps would create a much wider title resulting in less characters being visible. Also, certain letters are wider than others as with W vs. L.

Keyword Placement:

It’s widely agreed that it’s best practice to place your primary keyword or keywords at the front of your title tag. This will help with online user experience as well as search engine results.

Include Branding:

It’s helpful to include your brand name at the end of you title tags. This will help with overall brand awareness, user experience, credibility and add trust factors to your search results.

Don’t Over Optimize:

Search Engines have been fine-tuning their algorithms to penalize sites that “over optimize” their web-pages. When it comes to title tags, this would include keyword stuffing, creating spammy titles or creating misleading titles.

Title Tag Maintenance:

As with anything when it comes to the upkeep of your website, you’ll need to maintain your title tags. Remember to adjust your title tags for continued compatibility with future search engine display changes.

 

OUR FINAL THOUGHTS

Title Tags are one of the most important pieces of information used to determine the best search engine results and user experience. It’s important to create clear and precise title tags that accurately describe your content. Make sure that you’re tasteful when inserting keywords into your Title Tags to ensure that you’re not appearing spammy. Online users are becoming more and more weary of clicking on links that appear dangerous or irrelevant to their search. If you’re still in need of help creating awesome title tags that are SEO friendly take a look at our search engine optimization services.

Thank you for reading our post on how to best optimize your title tags. We look forward to reading your comments below and please remember to share!

 

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