The Title-element of a website is one of about 200 factors that Google uses to calculate the rankings in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). This makes the title element, also called the title tag, one of the most important factors when it comes to a website’s OnPage optimisation.
When designing the title of a page, it is important to keep the following things in mind:
- every URL should have a title
- every URL should have a different/unique title
- the keyword you want the URL to primarily rank for should be in the title
- this keyword should be the first word in the title (this is a heavily weighted ranking factor)
- the title should not go beyond a certain length (number of characters)
- the title should be optimised for the user (give them an added value, animate them to click on your result)
Title-Optimization: the creation of an optimal title element
The “optimal title” for a website is made up of no more than 55 characters (not counting spaces), otherwise it could be cut off by a (…). The title uses the keyword as the first word(s), for which the URL (page) is supposed to receive good rankings and consists of one or two sentences. Technically speaking, Google does not base the maximum length of the title element on the number of characters, but calculates the limit in pixels. The content of the title element (Title-tag) will be displayed to a maximum width of 600 pixels, in the search results.
You should also pay attention that the title seems natural and adds informative value to the user. (Simple listing numerous keywords in the title is unnatural and does not offer any added value).
If you consider that the title is the first point of contact with your user on the search result pages (SERPs), you should make sure the title is an informative connected sentence which animates a user to click on your result. Together with an optimised Meta-description, you can dramatically increase the click through rate (CTR) for the result.
Tool for optimising the meta-description
Optimise the title and the meta-description of your page to generate as many clicks for your search result as possible. The SERP Snippet-Generator gives you a preview of how other users see your page in the search results.
Title-tag optimisation: best practice examples
- Informative and meaningful – takes the question from the video into account. 70 characters were used (spaces included).
- Informative and meaningful – the searched product is being advertised and the target audience is clear. 61 characters were used (spaces included).
Worst practice example of a title crammed with keywords
- not natural, meaningful or even informative. The title is too long and cut off by (…). The appropriate keyword [brown shoes] is not the first part of the title.
(original title was: “Brown Boots, Brown Shoes, Brown Wedges, Brown Heels & Flats | ModCloth”)
Better (for example) : “Brown Shoes and more – [name of the online shop]”
- Another good strategy when optimising the title tag is to display the domain- or brandname in the title.
We recommend you use the SISTRIX Optimizer to check and optimise all the title elements of your webpage. The Optimizer automatically checks your website for existing SEO-mistakes and gives you useful tips on how to improve your pages.
Explanation video by Matt Cutts / Google for this topic
How does Google choose titles for search results?
What criteria does Google use to change the title it shows in the SERPs depending on the query? Does schema influence that? Maybe headings (h1, h2..) have more weight?
Additional information on this topic:
- An older video by Matt Cutts, Head of Google Webspam Team, about “Snippets and Titles” is also worth a watch.