You’re here because you’d like to know how to rank at the top of Google (it’s the dream, right?), and in order to get yourself there, you’ll need to learn the basic on-page techniques to better Googlebot’s understanding of your content. The title tag is one of the most recognized elements and carries quite a considerably large amount of weight. You’ll need to take advantage of your title tag if you’re looking to rank a specific page for a certain search query.
Let’s start from the bottom, a title tag is an HTML element that’s very important for not only SEO but for user experience too, as the title tag is used to briefly describe the purpose of the page and what the user can expect to find on the site. As of 2017, the title tag can carry up to 55 characters that will fit in a 512-pixel display, I won’t be surprised if Google decide to up this or decrease it in the nearby future, so keep your eye on the news to see if it changes (just keep your eye on the Semtuts blog).
The title tag can appear in multiple places, the most common one is the Google’s search results (of course, duh) or a tab on a range of different web browsers, such as Google Chrome. I have included an image below to give you a rough idea of a title tag appearing in the SERP’s (Search Engine Result’s Pages):
Also the title tag in a tab (title tag for this page is ‘BASICHTML’:
So yes, it’s a pretty big deal to write a pretty compelling title tag that’s not only going to increase you ranking on the search engine side of things but is also going to be click worthy, users aren’t going to click a title that’s something like ‘Home – Website Page 1’ – if anything they’ll think it’s some spam site. I’m guessing you get the idea.
Everyone has their own way of writing their titles, but according to the ‘SEO community’ is that your primary keyword must be at the start of your title tag to have a better chance of ranking for your target search phrase. Should you do this? My answer is: it depends. It really depends on the page at hand, if it’s your homepage then it’s worthwhile including your brand name at the front and then your target keyword(s) afterward, why? Because if someone searches for your brand name, they’re expecting to find it “at least” on the first 3 results of Google.
Having a title tag like ‘SEO Services – Get The Cheapest SEO Packages Now’ isn’t going to help when someone is looking for your company name in the SERP’s, you’re better off having something like ‘SEMtuts. – SEO News, Tutorials, and Gossip.’. Get the idea? They’ll be more encouraged to click because the brand name is at the front.
On the other hand (I could type for days, meh), if you’re looking to optimise your blog posts title tag then it makes sense to include your target keywords at the front of the tag and your brand name at the end – but this is just my opinion of course.
Here are some ideas, what looks like a better page title for this page title topic?
- Semtuts SEM Blog – Title Tags
- Title Tags SEO: How To Create a Descriptive, SEO-Friendly Title Tag
- How To Create a Descriptive, SEO-Friendly Title Tag
It’s either number two or three, but I’m personally going to choose number 2 as a final result – why? Because the phrase ‘Title Tags SEO’ is at the front of the title, with a brief description of what they can expect to find. This will help with the SEO side of things to appear for title tag related search terms and it looks nicely structured, so it will help with UX.
There isn’t a “checklist” to SEO or a rule book, it’s just principle and theory, you have to experiment to see what works well for you and your business. On a regular basis, try changing your title tag and track the CTR via webmasters tools to see if people click more often when different words are showing. It’s honestly all about testing things and replicating those tests until you have something that works well, the same goes for other on-page elements like heading tags.