How Title Tags Work for SEO
Title tags inform both search engines and searchers what a page’s content is about. Search engines use them as part of their process in ranking search results. Because the title tag displays as the clickable title on the search results page, it is also influential in determining whether the searcher will decide to click on it. Title tags also display at the top of the browser after click-through.
Knowing how to use your title tags for maximum effect can help you upgrade your SEO. Improving your title tags is one of the ways you can boost your search engine results page rankings. Effective title tags also encourage click-through and, ultimately, conversion.
What is a Title Tag in Page Structure?
The title tag is an HTML element consisting of the web page’s title. This is not the same as the header that appears for the page content. Rather, this element is what shows up as the title in search engine results. Searchers then click this title to get to the page.
Thus, the title tag plays the essential role of representing your page’s content. When it shows up among other search results, an effective title tag conveys to the searcher that your page has what he or she is looking for. To accomplish this, it is important to create tags that have the right format and content. Consider the information your tag conveys, as well as its appearance on the search results page. Both of these factors will affect whether a searcher will click through.
A title tag is also important for what it communicates to search engines. Your SERP rankings are affected by how well your title tag’s content shows that your page has useful answers to a particular query. As search engine algorithms continue to evolve, you may eventually need to adjust your approach to title tags as well. For this reason, it is important to keep current with new developments and stay updated on available tools and resources that help you create and maintain effective tags.
Does Google Use Title Tags?
Title tags are important for Google search rankings. Although its search engine algorithms look at other parts of your page as well, title tags carry substantially more weight in determining how relevant a page’s content is. As such, Google provides some helpful guidelines for creating effective title tags for its search engine.
Google typically shows between 50 and 60 characters of a title tag. This rule is not ironclad, as this can depend on character width and display. Keeping your title under 60 characters is the best way to ensure that at least most of it will display.
As with other Google content, keyword stuffing is likely to detract from the effectiveness of your title and downgrade it on the results page. Do include some keywords, but also take care to make your titles informative and an accurate reflection of what a visitor can expect from your page.
The basic format for title tags looks like this:
Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
The primary and secondary keywords may be similar but should not be virtually identical, as that can cross the line into keyword stuffing. According to a Moz study, the phrase at the beginning of the title affects search ranking more. Therefore, it makes sense to put the primary keyword first and to make it both unique and informative.
On the other hand, putting the brand name first is usually inadvisable even for a brand-focused page. Even if your brand has a high degree of recognition, putting it at the beginning of your title tag may not give searchers enough information about the linked content. You will be at a further disadvantage if Google does not display your entire title. Sometimes, Google may also automatically attach your brand name to the title tags it displays.
You may notice that Google’s search results page displays a title that differs from the title tag you entered. There can be several reasons for this action, including:
The search engine took the title from an old DMOZ listing instead of your more recent title tags. If a DMOZ search brings up your title, you may need to block the substitution. This situation does not happen often.
Google may pick up your social media meta tags instead.
Your content matches the query better than your title tag does. You may want to rewrite your title tag if this is happening for high volumes of the type of query you want to attract.
There are too many keywords in your title tag.
How to Add Title Tags in WordPress SEO
The WordPress editor provides a field for you to put in the title. If using this field to generate your title tag, you may want to avoid following the usual practice of including a title separator followed by the brand name. This is because putting this information into the editor’s title field will cause it to be displayed on the page itself. Some WordPress themes will display the content of your title tag as the page’s header as well.
If you want to create a title tag that will not appear on your actual page, you can use a plugin for this purpose. There are several SEO plugins for WordPress that you can customize to create title tags that meet your needs. These plugins present you with additional settings options where you can write and edit your tags in more detail and with a higher degree of customization. Plugins can also help you troubleshoot issues that can arise from the default settings, such as duplicate tags.
It often makes sense to create a separate, unique title tag for every page of your site. This task may be easier accomplished using a plugin.
How to Write Title Tags for SEO and How it Affects SEO
Title tags are an important part of search engine optimization. Search engine algorithms include titles in the factors they use to determine whether a page contains information relevant to a particular search. While there are many factors affecting your ranking which you cannot easily control, optimizing your title tags is relatively uncomplicated and can make a real difference. There are several steps you can take to write title tags that maximize SEO.
Because you can reliably expect only about 50 characters of your title to display, you need to make this short space count. Put your most informative and important phrase first so that you can be sure of its visibility. This phrase should clearly tell visitors what your page is about.
For example, if you provide dental services, you may have a page with information about implants. You may then want to start your title tag with a phrase like “How Implants Work” or “Reasons To Get Implants.” These phrases are likely to be common keywords people might use when considering implants. They also describe the information one would find on your page.
It is important to start with a primary keyword as that will indicate your page’s relevance to the search engine. However, keyword stuffing is likely to have the opposite effect as search algorithms increasingly filter out results that appear like spam.
It is also vital that your title contain an accurate description of the page’s content. Otherwise, visitors will immediately realize your page doesn’t have what they need and click away. Remember, your goal for your SEO is not just getting people to see your page – it is to increase conversion. In addition, a high rate of click-through with low dwell time results in a high bounce rate. This tells search engines like Google that people do not find your page valuable; thus, your ranking can suffer.
How to Remove Duplicate Title Tags in WordPress
Duplicate page titles affect SEO. You should have a unique title tag for every page. Duplication can affect your SEO negatively. Google Webmaster tools allow you to check your site for duplicates. The issue of duplicate tags can often crop up when using WordPress, as default WordPress settings do not let you make a unique title for every page; you can only make a title tag for your home page.
When the problem is that your title tags are too similar or that you created one title tag for several pages, you may be able to fix this problem by using a plugin and changing the content in the title field. If you have been using a plugin, you may need to adjust its settings.
On the other hand, you may have several unique pages with the same title tag but you really only need one of them to show in search results. You can set the pages you don’t need to rank so search engines do not index them. Plugins such as Yoast also allow you to designate a canonical URL as the page you want engines to index.
Another reason duplicate tags may show up is if you have a paginated URL. A tag may show up for each page of that URL, resulting in several duplicates. Inserting a page variable into your template for search appearances can address this issue.
You may also want to have your brand name in the title tags for one of your pages but not all of them. Removing the brand name may be sufficient customization so that your tags do not show up as duplicates.
How to Change Page Title Tag in WordPress
If you want to modify the title tag for your index page, you can go into your WordPress settings and edit the content in the Site Title field. However, if you want to change or add titles for other pages, you will need to use a plugin. There are several popular SEO plugins that can take your WordPress capabilities to the next level.
Yoast SEO for WordPress is one of the top plugins with a wide array of features that help you improve your SEO. If using Yoast, you can change or add title tags in the Edit Snippet section. Other plugins can also offer you ways to edit your title tags and create custom titles for each page or post. There are several reasons you may want to change your tags. This editing process can occur as part of a general update to your site’s design and content. The old tags may no longer accurately represent the content of your page. Editing your tags can also improve their SEO effectiveness as you work to increase your ranking.
If you want to edit your tags to improve effectiveness, here are some common areas to look at:
Optimization for local search
Include your business’s geographic location in the title.
If your keyword only appears in the tag, it will not do much good. Use both the identical keyword and variations throughout your content.
Prioritize information over promotion. Say something about your product rather than just telling people to buy it.
Avoid all but the most common and recognizable ones. Otherwise, both search engines and users will find the title tag hard to parse.
Avoid trying to quash two primary keywords into your title tag. This will only decrease the rankings for both of them. Decide on a single, most important keyword and use it. Alternatively, create another page with content geared to the other keyword you want to use.
You already know why your title should not be too long. You should also not make it so short people have trouble understanding what your page is about.
Title tags can make a big difference both to your SERP ranking and for conversion rates. Search engines such as Google give title tags a lot of weight in determining how relevant your page is compared to other potential search results. Searchers also see your title tags and use them to gauge whether your site has what they need. Providing accurate information in your title increases the likelihood that visitors will stay on your page and eventually take action. In addition to learning how to write effective title tags, you can use plugins for a higher degree of flexibility and customization.