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Make your title tags compelling and descriptive if you want to get targeted clicks

If you could make just one small change that would have the greatest impact on your website’s performance on the search results pages, what would you choose? There are many different SEO techniques that you could use to bring more targeted traffic to your site, but it’s arguable that probably the most effective change you could make is to build a good and dynamic title tag. Title tags are without a doubt one of the most important determinants in search engine ranking.

What is a title tag?

A title tag is a basic HTML code snippet that appears in the blue bar at the top of your web page browser.

Why are title tags so important?

They’re important because the words you use in the title tag are the ones that will appear in the clickable link on the search engine results pages (SERPs). The title tag can be as long as you want it to be in theory, but it’s worth noting that the search engines only take note of the first 63 characters, so there’s no point unnecessarily gilding the lily. Keep them short, sweet and to the point.

When browsers search for products or services, they type in specific words that they hope will produce the right sort of results. That’s why you need to choose your title tag wording carefully. That’s not to say you must always have your chosen keyword/keywords in the title tag, but sometimes it can be helpful. Users search by keywords and keyphrases, so if you include such words your website is more likely to be highlighted.  It won’t, however, guarantee that users will click on your link. For that to happen you’ll need to draw the user in and generate interest.

How do you make your title tag stand out?

If every business is using the same sort of keywords, how can you differentiate yours and make them stand out? For starters, put yourself in the shoes of your browser. What would you be looking for?  What would attract your attention? If users type in a query like ‘how to get fit’ a search query might throw up results like: ‘how to look good and feel fitter’ and ‘how to get fit without really trying.’ Which one do you think would be clicked on more? That’s nothing to do with keywords – it’s just that the second result is more compelling and rather intriguing.

What can you do to ensure your title tags are implemented effectively?

Each page on your website is unique, so each title tag for these pages should also be unique and readily distinguishable. The title tag should describe the content of each page adequately, so pay great attention to your wording, and customise copy where necessary. Don’t use the same tag for every page because it looks sloppy, and that will probably result in fewer clicks for your website.

Should you always include your business name in the tag?

You can include your business name in your title tag, but it’s not compulsory. Sometimes business names are best omitted. If your company is a household name, then it’ makes sense to include it at the start of the title tag. If you’re trying to build a brand, then the benefits are less obvious. I would suggest you think carefully before including the name. If you put your business name at the end of the tag, the chances are it will be outside the 63 character limit and will be lost to the search engines anyway. If you’re trying to sell a product, then you’ll need to make the 63 usable characters work for their money if you want to get your message across: so ditch the name.

How important are keywords in title tags?

Keywords are undoubtedly important, but they’re not crucial. Trying to lever in multiple keywords into your title tag is counter-productive and wastes some of the valuable characters that you should be using to provide a full description of whatever product or service it is you’re offering. Title tags full of keywords might rank highly, if the search engines allow such practices, but tags like that won’t really tempt users to click on them? Title tags need to offer an adequate and compelling description of the content to ensure they will get targeted clicks.

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