Title tags are the second most important on-page SEO factor, after the web page content.
Besides the web page content, title tags are one of the most important SEO and ranking factors. But even though a certain web page may rank well thanks to the optimized title tag, it may still not get a lot of clicks. And that is most likely the title tag’s fault.
Coming up with concise and creative title tags that capture the readers’ attention and make them click to your page is an art in itself - and we are going to explore the finer points of it in this article.
We will also look at:
Plus, we will take a look at 5 examples of great titles tags and discuss what makes them good.
A title tag, also known as SEO titles and meta title tag, is an element in the <head> section of the HTML code of your web page that specifies its title on search engine results pages.
It appears in search engine results pages as a clickable title like so:
Title tags are short, summed-up alternative page headlines whose purpose is to inform the searchers of the content they can find on the linked page.
In other words, title tags have two main purposes:
It is very important to discern between title tags and H1 header tags and to understand that they are not the same thing!
They sometimes confuse people because they can have the same copy. In fact, most websites do this and create the same title tags as the H1 headers.
Title tags appear as titles of a web page in the SERPs, web browser and social media posts.
Title tags exist to allow page managers to reformat their headers so they fit the allotted space in the search results.
The main header -or H1- appears as a title on your website’s page.
SEO titles help search engines understand what your website’s pages are about.
As we pointed out above, they mainly appear frontend in three places:
SEO titles are important for your page because they:
Before we get to the part explaining the secrets and techniques of writing an irresistible title tag, we need to cover some basic grounds.
These are the standard guidelines and best practices will ensure that your title tags are always relevant to both the readers and the search engines.
Google has so far indexed hundreds of billions of website pages. Their data is currently over 100,000,000 GB large!
That is a mind-boggling amount of web pages and title tags to be up against.
So, how DO you get an upper hand in grabbing readers’ attention in such a crowd?
Following these seven steps for making your SEO tags particularly irresistible may do the trick.
You won’t be able to truly optimize your title tag and make it attractive for users until you understand what and how your audience is searching.
User intent tells you what the user is looking for when they are conducting a search query. It’s an identification of what the user intends to find online.
By knowing what phrases and keywords your audience uses you won’t need to guess what title tags to create.
You can look for keywords that are relevant to your pages and that people use the most. By aligning your title tags with them, searchers can get an immediate sense that they’ve found what they are looking for on your pages.
You need to make the qualities and advantages of your content clear to potential visitors of your website with a title tag.
For example, if we have two pages selling the exact same item, but with different title tags:
You will see that the latter example emphasizes the most unique values of the page by stressing out facts like “sale” and “worldwide delivery”.
Here are some of the qualities users value the most in content - and the ways to point them out in a title tag:
A great method for enticing users to click on your page in search results is by using the so-called action words in your titles tags.
Action words are terms that express action and provide a promise of value to your readers.
Action words include:
Users are more motivated to click on search results that contain these words in title tags because they give a specific, actionable solution to their pain points.
For instance, if you use the word “get”, your title tag lets the user know that a service or instructions on achieving a goal awaits on the page. The term “learn” hints an educational opportunity.
A pro tip in this instance - which also works for any of these five steps for writing great title tags - would be to create a title tag that complements the information in the meta description so that potential readers get an even clearer idea of what to expect on your page.
It should go without saying, but your page’s content must always deliver on the promise a title tag makes and vice versa - your title tags must be honest about what’s on the page they’re for.
Creating titles and title tags that suggest “X actionable tips” for solving an issue and then failing to deliver those tips - or, worse, providing a sales pitch for product or service - can permanently damage a brand reputation and users’ trust.
You want your audience to believe you so that they would keep coming back for more of your content.
Avoid damaging your brand and inflating your bounce page rates by pointing out, in your title tag, exactly what your page is about - no more, no less.
When writing content and SEO tags, a third-person perspective can come across as unapproachable and cold. Fostering personal relationships with your audience and the feel of relatability in title tags can do great things for your click-through rates.
Personalized homepage promotions can impact up to 85% of consumers to buy, according to one research.
Another suggests that marketers who are personalizing their web experiences and who are able to quantify the improvement see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales.
Try to use pronouns such as “you”, “your” and “yours” in your meta tags, when the occasion allows. If your readers feel like you’re talking directly to them, they will be more enticed to click on your page in search results.
Plus, if you deliver on the promise in your title tag in which you addressed your audience directly, this will be hugely beneficial for boosting their trust in your brand.
The goal of every meta tag is to create an irresistible urge in your potential website visitors to click on your page’s link.
Bold statements in title tags stir up curiosity and excitement. For instance, you could mention something that is contrary to a popular belief to generate a sense of wonder with the readers.
Using power words like “irresistible”, “revolutionary” or “impressive” or the so-called “curiosity gap” are some of the effective techniques of enticing curiosity and evoking emotion with your readers.
Of course, bold statements that create an emotional response should never be click-bait: there should be enough evidence in content to back the claim from the title tag.
Making an unexpected, emotional claim in your title tag - or, something that is expected, but with a twist - will give you a competitive edge over other content out there.
Some theories, which our experience confirms, suggest that placing keywords at the beginning of the title tag and headers helps search engines detect them more easily.
It also has to do with user experience and readers’ habits, because they usually just scan the first few words of a headline.
This is why, so they can know what your page is all about, it’s advisable to place the most unique aspect of the page first.
To illustrate this with an example, avoid templates for your title tags like:
Instead, go with the reverse and try:
In addition, if search engines cut off a title like this, the most unique portion is the most likely to disappear.
You can track the effectiveness of your title tag over time with Google Analytics and similar tools that provide metrics of your visitor’s website engagement.
A/B testing is very effective in this regard: set up two or more title tags for a single page and monitor their performance indicators such as CTRs, page dwell time and bounce rate and see which one performs the best.
This is an efficient method if you already have a title tag set up, although it is time-consuming because it requires gathering stats over prolonged periods.
But, how can you analyze your title tag before it’s even set?
For that, you can use one of these tools:
Simply looking at Google search results for a given keyword or topic with a critical eye can provide a great deal of insight into DOs and DON’Ts of title tag writing.
While there certainly are a lot of poor examples of this, here we present you with five very effective title tags and our reasoning for why they work.
Neil Patel’s title tag for a page on content marketing best practices tell you exactly what you will find on the page. It also retains the air of mystery by playing on readers’ curiosity which enhances the emotional impact of the title tag.
“Best exercises” is a very competitive keyword and is quite difficult to rank for. Active.com’s 7 Best Exercises for a Full-Body Workout page manages to do so despite big competition.
A concise title with only 53 characters tells the reader exactly what to expect. Note that the brand name is located at the very end of the SEO title.
When a user wishes to buy new trainers and shoes that are specifically by Nike, they are most likely to type in “Nike trainers and shoes” - and that primary keyphrase is precisely what this page delivers right at the beginning of the title tag.
It also uses separators to discern between items, a category and the website’s brand name.
Similar to the example above, Rank & Style’s page on men’s blazers uses keywords that users are most likely to resort to. It’s a list-based page, listing 10 items that are the best in their category, which is always a strong motivational factor for users to click.
DigitalSilk’s title tag for the crisis communication title tells you exactly what the reader will get on the page and promises a great education value. The title tag, complemented with the meta description, establishes the brand as an authority on the subject.
Even though it’s just a short line of text on search results pages, title tags are both extremely important for your website traffic and are difficult to write in a way that will entice the audience to click on it.
Firstly, think about the general best practices for writing SEO titles, such as:
Then, it’s on to refining your title tag with a little bit of finesse, by:
Finally, it’s just as important to keep track of your title tags through A/B testing and trying out different variations with the help of metric tools and plugins.