Today, we’re going back to basics and talking about something that’s probably the most important thing in all of search engine optimization.
You’ve probably heard of it: the title tag.
What you might not have heard is that you can do some pretty advanced things with them to drastically increase your click-through rates.
Today, I’m going over a few tips to help you make the most of your title tags.
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Master the Basics
Let’s begin with the basics.
First of all, your title tag should be 50-60 characters long, so make sure you’re adhering to that rule.
You’ll also want to include one to four keywords in your title tag that you want to rank for. Keep in mind, you can use different variations of your keywords; it doesn’t always have to be exact match.
For example, if you’re trying to rank for the term “best pizza,” the “best” and the “pizza” don’t always have to be exactly next to each other. Instead, you could use “best types of pizza.” Do keep in mind that generally speaking, you will a get a little bit more of a boost if it is exact match.
That’s something you’ll want to think about as you put your title tag together. Are you doing exact match, or at least combining words that will likely result in the highest rank. But be careful here: always combine words in the most natural way possible, and avoid keyword stuffing at all costs.
How to Get More Clicks From Your Title Tags
A few years ago, title tags were all about keywords.
Today, it’s different. It’s about quality.
Again, that means steering clear of any keyword stuffing, and focusing on things like:
- Dates – Does it include the current year in the title? This shows that user that the page is upto date and will have the most current information available.
- Numbers – Titles with numbers consistently get more clicks. In fact, we’ve seen them increase click-through rates up to 50%. If it’s a list, ecommerce, or a local page with a number of different vendors, for example, you’ll want to include the total number in your title.
- Caps – a lot of people don’t take advantage of this one, but we’ve seen great click-through rates when you put capitalization inside of a title tag.
- Emotion – Emotion goes a long away in marketing, and that includes title tags. Think about it: words like stellar, amazing, shocking, or urgent play on emotions. It causes people to take notice, and subsequently click. You know what that means: higher click-through rates.
To write the most clickable title tag, try combining all of the above. Take a look at the following examples:
- How to Make a Pizza
- 100 STELLAR Tips for Making Drool-Worthy Pizza in 2019
Which is more compelling? The second, right?
Why? Because it does a great job of telling you exactly how many pizza shops you can expect to see, and that it’s ranked for the current year.
Next time you sit down to write a title tag, try to incorporate the above points to get as many clicks as possible.
The key here is to think of something different. Something that cuts through the clutter and differentiates itself from all the other titles out there.
Keep in mind, this is the title that will be shared across all marketing channels, from Google search and Facebook to Twitter and even Instagram. This is the title that will be pulled across the web, so do your due diligence creating one that represents your site and your content well.
Try Dynamic Titles
Dynamic titles are something we do a lot of for enterprise SEO.
Essentially, it allows you to dynamically insert words into a title.
Say, for example, you’re a directory site and you want to put in pages for “best pizza 2019,” “best web companies 2019,” and “best gardeners 2019.” Instead of having to input each title tag manually (which, when you’re dealing with an enterprise site with hundreds or thousands of pages, can get complicated) you can dynamically insert different words. This allows you to optimize multiple pages at once.
You could choose to dynamically insert the year, so that each year it updates to stay current. In the case above, you may want the nouns in each title (pizza, web companies, gardeners) to be dynamically inserted.
This is how sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are able to optimize
Test Your Title Tags
One of the coolest parts of dynamic titles is the ability it gives you for testing.
If I have a page listing the best gardeners in San Diego, I may want to test out how many gardeners people want to see on the list.
So I might create a title for the “100 Best Gardeners in San Diego,” and “The 120 Best Gardeners in San Diego.” I could take it higher to 150, or narrow it down to 50.
I could also test out if putting “best” in all caps makes any difference, or if moving the year to the beginning of the title increases click-throughs.
Because dynamic titles work with templates, you can easily create a new version of the template to test on maybe a thousand of your pages.
Then, you can set up a filter inside of Google Search Console to see if that new template gets a higher click-through rate. If it does, you can take that new dynamic title and roll it out across your entire website.
That means that by tweaking just one of your dynamic titles, you’ve ultimately increased the rank of all your pages inside Google. Remember, sometimes just one small tweak can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
A few ways to think about testing and title tags:
- Segment your test group – you always to test a controlled group. Don’t do it for the entire site, as you need a baseline to measure your test against.
- Test by page – If you’re a smaller site with only 100 or so pages, you can change the title of one page and track it to see if your click-through rate goes up
As a final note, you want to make sure that any changes you make to your title tags are actually picked up and indexed by Google before you start trying to test results.
Keep in mind that any changes you make inside your content management system (CMS) may not be picked up by Google for a very long time. To make sure it’s indexed as quickly as possible, resubmit the sitemap with all the pages on that you’ve updated.
If you’re only changing or testing one page, you can simply do a Fetch as Googlebot, which will get the page pulled into the index and ensures searcher are seeing the new version of your page with its updated title tag.
Wrapping Up Title Tags SEO
We’ve talked a lot about title tags and how important they are to SEO.
The cool thing is that the same principles can be applied to blogging content, product pages, etc. The core concept remains the same: how to speak to the user in the most relevant way possible.
For title tags specifically, that often involves capitalization, numbers, and emotion.
And remember this: writing title tags isn’t a one-and-done game. Instead, try writing at least five titles and pick the one that really speaks to you.
Put in the time, and you’ll see the rewards.