SEO Basics – Good v bad Title tags
Updated: Oct 19
If you’re looking to buy a pair of slippers, would you click on the first result that simply said “New Page 1”, or would you click on the second result that had a more descriptive e.g. “Slipper World: Comfy slippers for toasty feet. Free UK delivery.”
By the way, yes, millions of people really do name their pages with things like “New Page 1” e.g. http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=new+page+1.
Ok, so the above is an extreme example, as it’d be unlikely to find those two slipper examples ranking next to each other on the same Google search. But you see what we mean?
Why wouldn’t the examples above be likely to rank together though? Take a look at any competitive keywords on Google. For example, let’s choose “pine furniture”. How many of the page titles in the top 10 results don’t contain the keywords “pine” and “furniture”? Not many. Any pages for pine furniture that don’t contain those keywords in the title are lost in the rankings somewhere.
Things to consider when writing a good Title tag
Think about your page content. Think about which keywords your page will likely rank well for. Then think about which keywords you actually want to rank for. Do you need to make any changes?
Which keywords appear on your page? Are you using “Fantastic sail boats at low prices” in your title, but not actually mentioning “sail boats” anywhere in your content?
Do you need to use synonyms of your keywords or any variations that people might be searching for, like “television” / “tv”.
Is your page title too long? Anything over around 65 characters will get truncated with ellipses (“…”) with Google for example.
Put yourself in the position of a potential customer/visitor to your site. Would your page title on Google make you want to click through to your site or page?
• Spend some time crafting your Title tag.
• Keep it relevant to the actual content of the page.
• Think about what your visitors will be searching for.
• Consider including synonyms/variations of your keywords (“television”/”tv” etc).
• Keep your most important keywords towards the start of the Title tag.
• Use the same Title for every page on your site.
• Keep endlessly repeating your keywords.
• Use more than approximately 65 characters.
• Go overboard with stuffing keywords in.
• Try to trick people into clicking (as they’ll just hit their back button).
This is by no means an exhaustive list of do’s and don’ts, so please feel free to add your own tips on writing a good Title tag in the comments!
Remember, a good Title tag alone isn’t a magic bullet to achieving good rankings or performance on a search engine these days, but it is an important element!
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