3 Things To Consider When Writing Title Tags


When doing SEO work for my clients, there are a lot of things that I have to consider that may never cross their minds. One of the big ones is the META data that goes into the code at the “back end” of a website.  The days when most people coded their own HTML into their own websites are mostly long gone now, and some of my clients often don’t even know what the META data elements are, or what they do. And, like anything else that isn’t well understood, META data elements are not often done in ways that maximize their performance capabilities in search engine results pages.

Let’s talk title tags

One of the most important META data elements is the Title Tag. A Title Tag appears at the top of the HTML, inside the <head> area, as well as at the top of most browsers, in search engine result pages, and in many external websites, especially social media sites. It’s usually the first interaction a potential client or customer has with your brand, and a good Title Tag is incredibly important, not only for interfacing with the customer, but also in determining how you’ll be ranked by Google and other search engines (Bing and Yahoo!). Title tags are intended to be a brief summation of what the page is all about, and they’re intended to give both potential customers and Google’s search engine bots a quick guide to your page’s content.

When creating Title Tags for my clients, there are a lot of “best practices” that I try to keep in mind, but here are three of the big ones:

Length – A Title Tag needs to be short and to the point. If it’s too long, Google will cut it off, and you may lose important information to an ellipsis. The suggested length varies, with some people saying 65 characters (including spaces) and others saying 70. Personally, I try to keep it close to 65.

Keywords – Keywords may be the most important part of a Title Tag, and they’re also the part that’s easiest to mess up. Search engines look for keywords in Title Tags as one of the more significant elements they use when ranking pages, so it’s important to make sure that the keywords that you’re optimizing for are in the Title Tags, clearly and upfront. That second part is important, as Google ranks the words in the Title Tag by importance from first to last, so whatever words or phrases you’re trying to optimize for should be at the front of your Title Tag.

A problem that a lot of people run into, however, is “keyword stuffing.” While Google looks for keywords in Title Tags, it also reacts badly to Title Tags that try to stuff in too many keywords, or which repeat the same words over and over. So don’t keyword stuff, just keep it short and sweet, and make sure your most important keywords are near the front.

Branding – Finally, branding. Since my clients are looking to get their names out there and associated with their product or service, many of them want to put their company name right in the Title Tags. Some SEO experts will tell you to avoid this entirely, while others suggest putting the company name at the end of the Title Tag, unless the company name is already well known or widely associated with the keywords, in which case it can be put in the front. I’m in the latter camp, and think that putting the company name at the end of a Title Tag can help produce better visibility and a good branding opportunity, without ruining the functionality of the tag or losing content-specific keywords.