Want to increase your overall search traffic? Learn the art of writing SEO friendly titles.
If you want to build a money making blog, your top priority should be increasing your overall organic traffic as search traffic is the lifeblood for any successful website.
In this guide, we’ll talk about the best practices for creating search engine friendly title tags for your pages.
What are SEO friendly title tags?
A title tag is an HTML element that describes the title of a blog post or page. An SEO friendly title tag is usually optimized for search engines and it usually specifies the context of a page.
So your goal while writing title tags should be making them as relevant and accurate as possible and they should provide a proper description of a page’s content.
Are title tags still important?
Yes, they are extremely important. Titles are the first thing people see. Not only on search engines but they appear everywhere, including social media sites, forums, email lists and so on.
Did you know that 8 out of 10 people read your headlines first before they even decide to read your blog posts? That’s the reason why you should craft high quality and compelling titles for your blog posts.
Enough said about the title tags. Let’s now talk about how you can create a search engine friendly title tags for your pages to improve your organic rankings in 2020 and beyond.
Table of Contents
- 8 Best Practices of Writing SEO Friendly Titles
- FAQs About SEO Friendly Title Tags
- Final thoughts
8 Best Practices of Writing SEO Friendly Titles
1. Write “unique” titles
There’s a reason why we’re mentioning this tip #1 in the list.
Uniqueness is extremely important when it comes to optimizing your posts, titles and content to get more traffic from search engines like Google.
Yes, there will be a ton of duplicate titles for similar contents on Google search results but you need to make sure to create unique and highly engaging titles if you want to boost rankings.
You should aim at creating titles that are good for both search engine bots and visitors. Make sure to create relevant titles as Google crawlers might get confused if you write irrelevant page titles for your web pages.
Another important thing is using unique titles while interlinking.
You should make sure each page on your website has a different title. It should not be the case that the same title is used for multiple pages within your website.
We noticed lots of website owners copying their home page titles in their website internal pages. You should ignore such practices.
2. Length of your titles matters
One of the most important things for SEO friendly titles is using an optimal title length.
Google often shows the first 50 to 60 characters of a title tag. There’s no thumb rule though but it’s a smart idea to keep your titles short and compelling.
Try to keep your titles under 60 characters. According to Moz, you can expect about 90% of your titles to show up properly in Google search results if your titles are under 60 characters.
There’s no exact character limit though because characters can vary in width. Did you know that Google’s display titles max out at 600 pixels currently?
Another smart thing to do is to avoid characters that usually take up more space. For instance, character like uppercase “W” is wider than a lowercase character like “e”, “l”, “i”, “t” and so on.
Have a look at the screenshot below to understand it better:
As you can see from the above example, width matters a lot. That’s why smartly use characters that don’t take up more space while displaying in search results.
Quick note: Avoid using ALL CAPS letters in your titles at any cost as they are NOT only harder for search visitors to read but they also display less characters as they take up more width (and space) in search results. So they get truncated!
3. Stop using “stop words”
Search engines like Google avoid processing stop words. Stop words are the most common words such as a, an, the, or and so on that most search engines avoid. This is done usually to save space and speed up processing large data while crawling or indexing.
If you’re wondering about different types of stop words to be avoided in title tags, here’s a list of some of them.
Try to avoid using stop words as much as you can, especially in title tags to save more space.
Also make sure to avoid using these stop words in your URLs as well and make them short and sweet by keeping your primary keywords in mind. Here’s how it looks like;
As you can see above, without stop words, your URLs will look SEO friendly and also great for user experience.
Instead what else can you do?
Use describing words. Yes, you can use some descriptive words towards the beginning of page titles to make your website titles look more natural.
Instead of using short keywords, focus on LSI keywords on your page titles. LSI keywords often make your headlines more click worthy and give extra weight to your SEO efforts.
4. Create headlines that get more clicks
You need to create attention-grabbing titles that actually generate clicks organically from search engines like Google.
There are the 3 most important elements involved in creating click worthy titles which are;
Let’s briefly talk about each one of them with examples.
Curiosity: You need to create curiosity while creating titles to increase your organic clicks.
Have a look at the following example.
As you can see above, you’ll instantly click on it for more details especially if you’re desperately looking to get rich. That’s the power of curiosity. So use it wisely while crafting your titles.
Benefit: Want to dramatically improve your organic clicks? Start showing benefits within your title tags and you’ll get amazing results.
Here’s an example of it.
As you can see from the above example, it’s a benefit oriented title where it says how green tea can help you lose weight which is really interesting especially for the ones who are searching to reduce their tummy fat.
Emotion: Do you know why most people buy online? They connect with other brand’s emotions (or a particular product). People buy Apple products for that “ultra-premium” emotion.
Here’s an example of how an emotion driven title looks like;
The above example is how an emotional title looks like. If anyone who’s going through a breakup and finds an emotional driven title like the above one, most probably will click it to get more information.
So there you go. Use the above 3 elements smartly according to the topics you cover (or keywords you target) to create click-worthy titles.
5. Use this 3-step framework for SEO titles
If you’re looking to create irresistible title tags for SEO, here’s a 3-step framework exclusively for you.
Step 1: Find a primary keyword for each title
A primary keyword is extremely important and if you want to rank your pages in search engines like Google, you need to target at least one primary keyword for each page. Coming up with primary keywords is simple when you have access to the tools like SEMrush.
We have written a detailed guide around using SEMrush for finding profitable keywords where you can find a ton of details. Just make sure to include your primary keyword within your title for better rankings.
Step 2: Find relevant LSI keywords to target
Yes, you should definitely include a primary keyword within your title tags but if you want to optimize your titles naturally, you should target LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords.
LSI keywords are semantically relevant keywords to a particular keyword. For instance, “Apple” is an LSI keyword for iPad, MacBook, iPhone etc
If you want to find LSI keywords for SEO, use proper tools like SEMrush, Ubersuggest etc as they provide you extensive keyword phrases.
Step 3: Analyse the top 10 search results for your topic
Last but not least, keep an eye on all the top 10 ranking titles for the topic you’re writing about. Find out if they are using how-to’s, list posts or something else. Did you notice anything in common? Craft your titles accordingly.
Important tip: Put important keywords first
Do you want to know the BEST SEO tip in writing SEO friendly page titles? Use your primary keyword first.
For example, if you are targeting a keyword like “belly fat reduction tips”, there are several ways to craft SEO titles including;
- Belly fat reduction tips: How to lose tummy fat fast
- How to lose tummy fat: Belly fat reduction tips
Among the above two cases, you will be more benefited from search engines by using #1.
Why? Because keywords still play a prominent role and search crawlers easily find the context of users if you are using your target keywords in prominent places such as using them at the beginning of your title tags.
But you should make sure that you don’t use too many keywords in your page title tag section.
6. Usage of brand in titles
Should you add your brand name at the end of every single title tag you create?
That’s an interesting question which we’ll try to answer in the best possible way.
If you have a recognized brand name, you should definitely include it for better conversions and click through rates. But if you’re just getting started and no one knows your brand name, you should try to avoid as it takes more space (so you’ll have less space and width to target your primary keywords within titles).
Also, focus on making your titles localized. If you are aiming at getting higher rankings for certain keywords in certain demographics, you should use them in your page title section.
Suppose if an SEO company is offering SEO services in a particular city like Delhi, should include Delhi in their title tag with keywords relevant to that page. Their website’s meta title could be something like ‘Premium SEO Services in Delhi’ or something similar.
7. Create sensible meta descriptions
When it comes to organic search listings, there are only 3 things that appear in SERPs (Search Engine Results Page).
- Meta description
Here’s how most of the SERP results on Google looks like;
As you can see above, a search result includes a title along with URL and meta description. We also implement a rich snippet for product review (that’s why star ratings are also appearing in the SERP results).
So far, we’ve discussed about creating search engine friendly titles, so let’s now talk about how to create better meta descriptions to improve your overall organic rankings.
Writing search engine friendly meta description like a pro
According to Google’s blog, there’s no limit on how long a meta description can be, but the search results are often truncated as needed (usually to fit the device width such as desktop, laptop, smartphones etc).
The meta description length is between 120 to 158 characters, up to 920 pixels.
Keep in mind that Google users also read meta description of your pages that appear on Google SERPs along with the titles.
Meta description is what comes under your page titles on Google search results. By using your focused keywords even on meta description can give you ultimate SEO traffic, so don’t forget optimizing your rich snippets (aka meta description).
Always supplement your SEO friendly titles with a great meta description every time you publish post. This way you can improve your click through rates as well as the user engagement on your sites and web pages.
Keep your meta description under 120 to 150 characters, otherwise Google SERPs ignore the remaining extra characters (so it gets truncated). Write your meta description for the users first, Google obviously gives you top priority then. Never keyword stuff your meta description and optimize them naturally.
8. Use proper optimization tools
If you’re a WordPress user, we’ve a simple tip for you: install an optimization plugin.
Using plugins like Yoast SEO can help you implement most of the things that are covered in this article (including titles, meta descriptions, other tags etc). These plugins are free and even SEO beginners can use the suggestions given by SEO by Yoast plugin to get more organic traffic to their websites.
So what are the recommended optimization plugins?
We’ve 2 recommendations which are listed below.
When it comes to on page optimization and creating amazing titles for Google, Yoast SEO plugin is the best. We’ve been using this amazing plugin (we’re using premium version though) for a long time now and we’re extremely happy with its features and results.
It is the most downloaded SEO plugin with over 20 million downloads and it’s free version also offers a wide range of features to optimize your content.
Here’s how its interface looks like from backend;
As you can see above, you can easily add a focus keyword, change your title, add meta description, improve your social media settings and so on from one place.
2. Rank Math
Rank Math is the new entry but quickly gained popularity among blogging community as it offers a ton of useful features ranging from optimizing upto 5 keywords to creating sitemaps, LSI tool integration, 404 monitor, redirection system and the list goes on.
Here’s how it looks like;
As you can see above, it’s extremely easy to setup and you can tweak any SEO related changes you want ranging from adding nofollow links to setting up sitemaps, importing settings from other plugins and so on.
If you’re looking for an alternative to Yoast SEO plugin, Rank Math is definitely worth giving a try as it offers excellent features. So there you go! Start using optimization plugins to get more traffic and better results from search engines without sweating much.
FAQs About SEO Friendly Title Tags
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions around title tags.
Why Google is not ranking my titles?
There are a lot of reasons for a title tag to not showing up in the first page results which include the following.
- Your titles are stuffed with too many keywords (avoid over optimizing your titles as using one primary keyword in your titles is enough most of the times)
- Your titles are not matching up with the query or user’s intent (so create titles that define the context and intent of the topic you cover)
What is the difference between title and heading tags?
Both are contextually same as they both specify what a web page is all about. But title tags show up in search results whereas heading tags are shown as the heading of a web page (within your website).
You can either use the same content for both title and heading tags or you can use alternative titles. Usually, it’s always a better idea to keep your title tags short and relevant to the context and use descriptive heading tags for better user experience.
What is the title tag length for 2020?
Google currently shows up to 600 pixels on a desktop. So it’s better to keep your title characters under 50 to 60 characters. You can use SERP preview tools such as Sportibo, Portent etc to easily finetune your title’s length.
How to track keyword rankings based on titles?
You can use Google Search Console (GSC) to easily track keyword rankings based on your title tags. Here’s how you can do it..
- Firstly, login to Google Search Console
- Navigate to Performance
- Click on the tab called “Pages”
Here’s how it looks like;
Now, simply find a list of all the pages that you would like to measure, click on them. Then, click on the “Queries” tab.
It will give you a list of all the queries at the page level which are impacting rankings and click through rates over time. Based on that data, you can make necessary changes to your title tags (by adding new keywords or tweaking existing primary keywords) to improve your rankings even further.
Can we include multiple keywords in title tags?
You should NEVER over optimize your titles with too many keywords. That being said, you can use ONE primary keyword for each title and you can also use LSI keywords relevant to that primary keyword for better organic rankings. Just don’t overdo it.
Browse more SEO Tutorials:
- YouTube SEO Tips: How to Get Your Videos Noticed In 2020
- Everything You Need to Know About Meta Tags SEO in 2020
- Keyword Density: Does it Matter at All in 2020?
- Top SEO Tips and Tricks That Works in 2020
- Top FAQ’s around SEO Answered
- SEO Myths to Avoid at All Cost in 2020
- Most Effective Google Search Tips & Tricks for 2020
Before publishing your blog posts, make sure their page titles are under 60 characters.
Find and use your focused keywords on your page titles to rank high and use them in the beginning of your titles to gain more weight. Don’t over optimize. Use compelling meta description along with great titles to increase your organic click through rates from SERPs.
Do you have any more questions on writing search engine friendly titles? Share your thoughts in the comments.