6 Ways to Create Better Title Tags for SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | February 06, 2013

Many browsers no longer display the title of your webpage as specified in your title tag. It might be truncated in a “tab” view or not displayed at all. So how much does the title tag still matter in terms of SEO? Plenty! It’s still the most important meta tag on the page, because it tells the search engines what your page is about in a nutshell – and they use it in the search results they display for that page.

So make sure you’re making the most of your title tags with these SEO tips:

  • Make your title tag a decent length without making it too long, rambling or repetitive. About 70 characters, including spaces, is considered a proper title tag length. More than that, and the search engines will cut the title tag off with an ellipsis (“…”) when it displays your page in search results.
  • Put your best keywords first. Place them at the very beginning of the title tag.
  • To separate important keywords or keyword phrases, use a pipe (|) – that character on your keyboard, usually right under the Backspace key. Don’t use any other punctuation if you can help it, unless it’s part of the keyword. This is an important step since search engines will “bold” the keywords a user searches for when it displays the search results – and having a streamlined title tag with the right keywords (ones that people are most likely to search for) makes your page stand out.
  • Don’t use a sentence for your title tag. The best kind of title tag looks something like this: “Best keyword 1 | Second best keyword | Your company name or website address.” Leave out extra words and punctuation, and let the keywords do the talking.
  • Use a new and distinct title tag for each and every page. Never duplicate your title tags across your whole website or even a section of your website.
  • Do not stuff title tags with keywords. This won’t impress Google and the other search engines – instead, it will make your site look “spammy.”

But with all that in mind, you should never just write for the search engines’ purposes. Although they do use the title tag to create search results and determine your page’s ranking, remember that the title tag is also what users will see when they do their search on Google, Yahoo or Bing – so it has to convince human readers to click on over to your site, too.

Is the title tag the most important part of your on-page SEO? No, but it’s the first thing the search engine sees – and it is often the first thing the user sees, too, when that page appears in search results. That makes the title of your webpage even more important than it used to be on those days before browsers had tabs and the title of a page appeared in a blue bar at the top of your browser window. So be sure to make the best first impression possible on both search engines and human readers, too.