What’s in a title?

When it comes to grabbing a potential customer’s attention, the title you choose for your new content is crucial. But beneath the surface, there’s a sneaky bit of html code which is even more important – the title tag. Simply put, the title tag is probably the most essential bit of information within the content that you create – it turns up everywhere!

The first place you’ll have noticed the title tag appearing is in the tabs at the top of your internet browser. This helps visitors to identify which page they’re viewing are and re-find your site if they’re using multiple browser tabs.

Image showing a website title tag as it appears in a browser

The title tag is also used all around the internet when someone links to your content. In a tweet, for instance, Twitter will pick up the title tag from a linked website and display it as the link title:

Image showing a website title tag as it appears in social media

Finally and most importantly, the title tag is what Google displays as the main headline link when your website appears in Google search results.

Image showing a website title tag as it appears in Google search results

The title tag, therefore, can make the difference between a potential visitor clicking through to your site or going elsewhere. So…

What makes a good title tag?

There are a few important elements to a good title tag:

  • Keywords – what keyword summarises the page content and is likely to appeal to your target audience? Ensure that the keyword accurately reflects the content of the page (trying to trick Google doesn’t work…) If you really need more than one keyword to encompass the page content, go for it but in general, the fewer the better.
  • Identification – keywords are all very well, but the visitor also needs to know which specific site they’re visiting (hopefully yours!)
  • Order matters – have your keyword(s) first
  • Size matters too – a good title tag should be no longer than 60 characters. Longer tags may not be fully displayed in Google search results.
  • Avoid repetition – don’t be tempted to repeat a keyword several times – it won’t make any difference to your search rankings and it’s very annoying to read. And it’s very annoying to read. See!

How can I change my title tags?

At Mass Media Design, many of our clients use WordPress to drive their website and we usually install the Yoast plugin which makes it very easy to edit your title tags in order to optimise your website. If you don’t use WordPress or Yoast, you may need to edit the html code for your pages – your webs developer should be able to help you do this.

For instance?

How about an example to put all of this into practice? Meet our imaginary professional photographer, Nick…

Title Tag Evaluation
Nick Lyons This isn’t great – there are no keywords and the user will have no idea from Google about what Nick does or where he’s based – there’s not really any reason to follow the link.
Photographer, photographers, wedding photographs, great photographer, best wedding photographer Although we’ve got a couple of keywords in this version, the repetition makes it very difficult to read, it’s too long (over 90 characters) and doesn’t tell you anything about Nick. In addition, the ‘wedding’ keyword is best left to an inner page unless Nick only photographs weddings
Photographer – Alton, Hampshire | Nick Lyons This is much better – we build up a clear picture of what the company does, where they’re based and what they’re called as we read through the tag.

Is that it?

Whilst choosing the right title tags for your website is very important, you must remember that they’re only part of a huge search engine optimisation toolbox. You won’t magically be getting to the first place on Google just by getting this right. In addition, it’s important to apply some thought to your specific circumstances – with ‘web design’ being a crowded market in search terms, for instance, we’ve opted to put our company name first on our home page title tag in order to stand out from the crowd as much as possible.

If you want to improve your SEO rankings, you should probably consider investing in an SEO expert. If you’d like to learn more and explore how SEO could help get your website higher search rankings and more visits, please call us on 0118 380 0131 or get in touch – we’d love to chat!

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