8 SEO rules to optimize the Page Title
Reminder: What is a Page Title?
The page title is in the HTML coding of the web page in the meta title at the top the page. It’s displayed in the search bar, in search engines and even in the URL when the link is shared on social networks. Would you go and watch a film with the title “New action film about the end of the world“? Keywords are important, and there are a few secrets in achieving a good title…
1. Create an evocative title to attract visitors
The first impression is always right.
Your title is everywhere! In search engines, in the search bar, in Facebook shares and also in directories. It’s a little bit like the front window of a shop. We pass in front of it, we see what it offers and we go in if we think we’ll find what we’re looking for. Do you often go into shops called “Welcome to Bob’s place“? We prefer better descriptions, descriptions that are more attractive: “The best cappuccinos in Paris I Bob’s place“. Don’t forget that you’re creating your title first for your visitors, and then for the search engines.
- Avoid listing keywords in your title.
- Your title should draw attention.
2. Use your brand name
Reassure your users and increase your visibility.
You can put your brand name in your title as this builds-up trust around your brand. Users who already know your brand will recognize it more easily on a SERP (search engine result page) on their screen. Brand names are analyzed by search engines in their own right which in fact can affect the positioning. It is recommended to separate your keywords of your brand name with a hyphen (« - «) or a vertical bar (« I «).
- A brand name isn’t a keyword.
- Build trust around your brand.
3. Keep in the mind the length of the title
Title Google rules!
It’s fairly simple (well almost…) to get your title correctly displayed on Google: the title needs to fit into a space of 600px for it all to be displayed otherwise Google will change it itself by removing words. As it’s difficult to write by counting the pixels we recommend a title with approximately 55 characters. Your chances of having a title of the right length are a lot higher if you don’t exceed 55 characters. This can however vary from title to title depending on the length of each character (for example an “i“ takes up less place than a “w“).
- The ideal length is approximately 55 characters = ~ 600px.
- Think about the size of the characters.
4. Take care when choosing your keywords
Stop ( ) words.
Using stop words such as “it, the, this, etc“ are not recommended. They’re not very informative for the user and take-up space in the already restricted title display. However search results with or without these stop words are different so you need to ask yourself how important each word is to reach your target audience. An expert audience will definitely use less stop words in their research than a novice audience. It’s therefore up to you how you understand your users and how you choose to adapt your title to their needs.
- Avoid stop words such as “the, it, this“.
- Only use keywords that will provide extra value to your title.
5. Avoid duplicated titles
Each page should have a unique title.
The idea of a title is to help the reader understand what the website is about before even having to browse through it, so it’s important that each page has its own title.
This title must be attractive so avoid universal titles where you only change one word to another. This step can take a bit of time but it will be an investment for the future, whether that’s for your visitors or for Google. It will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competition.
- 1 page = 1 subject/unique content = 1 original title.
- Avoid universal titles.
6. Differentiate yourself with originality
Use modifier words.
To supplement their research a user will tend to use modifier words such as « offer, best, recommendation « as well as the main keyword. Therefore they will expect to find these words when scanning the search engine results. If your title includes these type of words you’ll be able to increase your traffic from this type of research. These words will also help improve the understanding of your title and attract more visitors. For example: “40 of the best CTA Flat design buttons 2017 - RandomWebsite“ vs. “CTA Flat design buttons - RandomWebsite“.
Which site do you think would get the most clicks?
- Users brighten-up their searches with modifier words and expect to see them in the SERP.
- Modifier words allow you to differentiate yourself in search engine results.
7. Organize the keywords in your titles
The order of words is important.
Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers be at the rghit pclae!
But for Google the order of words is important in a title!
Search engines put a lot of importance in the first keyword of the meta tags, a bit less for the second and so on for the next. Position your important keywords first and remember that the title is first and foremost for the users.
- Be careful with the order of words.
- Place the most important words at the beginning of your title.
8. Avoid titles that are airy-fairy
A special mention for special characters.
Using special characters isn’t recommended for your page title. Not only do search engines tend to ignore them but they could also give a superficial and amateur image to your site. However, there isn’t a SEO penalty with this so if your target audience is used to these characters, and using them brings in more traffic then there’s no reason why you can’t just carry on doing this.
┗(--)┓┏(--)┛┗(-- )┓┗(--)┛┏( --)┛ ┏(--)┓
- Avoid using special characters as much as possible.
- Try creating content for your page before drawing attention.
The optimization of the page’s title must meet some technical requirements in terms of the available space and the organization of the tag content, but the optimization of a page title is above all a CTR (click-through-rate) story!
As the saying goes ‘if at first you don’t succeed try try and try again’. Build your title around your site. Choose words that are used by internet users and make them concise and attractive. Don’t rush in creating them as they’ll make the difference in the SERP!