In order for search engines like Google to know which sites are worth indexing, they use algorithms to weed out content that is not credible or unique.
Google does this by crawling a site’s metadata. This data tells search engines what information is on each page so it knows how to index them.
In this article, I’m going to tell you how to make the most of one of the important components: the meta title.
Let’s jump in.
What You’ll Learn:
- What is a Meta Title?
- Why Are Meta Titles Important?
- How to Create A Clickable Title to Increase Traffic
- Meta Title Best Practices & Examples
- Common Mistakes to Avoid
Meta Title Definition
The metadata that Google crawls includes three main components: a title tag, a meta description, and a meta keywords tag.
A meta title is the most important part of the three components of a website’s metadata. This piece of code is also sometimes referred to as the meta title tag or the title tag.
The meta title is what defines the title of each page of a website. It’s the first thing potential site visitors see. It is also what search engines use when they are deciding how to index, or categorize, a site.
In a sense, it’s a balancing act as it serves as both a “hook” and a summary of what the article is about. It also helps readers determine whether they’ll find the information they’re looking for if they click on that link.
In order for a site to show up in the correct search results, it needs to be indexed by the search engine’s algorithm. A meta title is the first step in that process.
There is a specific formula to follow when you’re writing your meta title code.
It should look like this:
<title>Your title </title>
Coming up with a good meta title may be harder than it seems.
Since it has many purposes, you’ll need to find the sweet spot between capturing your audience’s attention and letting the search engine’s algorithms know what your page is about.
Why Are Meta Titles Important?
Meta titles carry so much weight because of their multiple purposes. You’ve heard the expression You only get one chance to make a good first impression, right?
Good meta titles will help increase your odds of a high search engine result ranking. A high ranking is critical to increasing your site’s organic traffic.
For one, your meta title is often the first thing a visitor will notice when performing a search. So, this is your opportunity to make a great first impression. Also, meta titles, when implemented correctly, can serve as brand leverage. If people click on entries that they recognize, it leads to more clicks and therefore, more traffic to your site.
Essentially, the meta title can be the deciding factor between someone clicking on a link or going elsewhere.
In fact, without meta tags, it’s nearly impossible to reach readers organically.
Organic traffic is important for a variety of reasons, including:
- 93 percent of all online traffic starts with a search engine
- The majority of internet users — between 70-80% — ignore paid ads and instead focus on organic search results.
- 75 percent of users only click on results located on the first page of their search results.
Whether a page shows up in these search results pages depends almost entirely on the meta title.
How to Create a Clickable Meta Title
To create a clickable meta title, you’ll need to follow a few simple steps.
First, take a look at the search volume of your keyword. Is it a popular search term? Will you be able to generate a lot of traffic by using it? The popularity of your keyword will affect how much traffic you’ll have access to.
Once you have your keywords picked out, take a look at what’s out there already. Perform a search with your chosen keywords and analyze the top results. What do the top results have in common? What else do they include besides your keyword?
Look at the intent. Are the top results guides, checklists, or full articles? What type of content seems to be grabbing the attention of the search engines when their algorithms are indexing pages?
Next, notice the standout features. Do they all have something else in common besides the chosen keyword? Do they include numbers or other similar phrases?
Finally, look at the benefit of the content. Users are searching keywords for a reason. They need some piece of information.. What problem is the content solving? What are readers getting out of clicking on these links?
You can use all this information to know what to include in your title. This information will also show you what is missing from these existing pages.
These tips will not only help you create a title that is more likely to get indexed but that also fills a void and makes your page stand out.
Limitations of a Meta Title
There is a lot of information to include in your title. You also need to work within the algorithm’s limitations if you want your title to be a benefit to you.
While meta titles can be any length, you should stay under 70 characters. After 70 characters, Google will move on to the next page and your page may not be indexed.
You should also avoid adding emojis to your title. While they can be fun for your reader, Google wants to see copy and text, not emojis, when they are indexing pages.
Meta Title Best Practices & Examples
Meta titles are a powerful SEO tool so you’ll want to make sure you create them correctly.
There is a simple formula behind a top-notch meta title. To create one that will benefit you the most, keep these following practices in mind:
Pay attention to the length.
To be sure that your site ends up being indexed correctly, pay attention to the number of characters. Google and most other search engines will show 50-60 characters of meta in their search results before cutting it off.
Use unique meta titles for each of your pages.
If you name all your pages the same thing, Google won’t know the difference between them.
If Google is confused by your pages, the algorithm won’t index them correctly.
If they aren’t indexed correctly, your pages won’t show up for the keywords you want them to.
Your content is unique. Your meta titles should be, too.
Stay away from keyword stuffing.
While keywords are obviously important, don’t keyword stuff your title. Choose one or two keywords to focus on and build your title around that.
You may think that you are helping your goal by adding extra keywords, but Google’s algorithms have gotten smarter over time. It can now recognize keyword-stuffed and spammy websites and it won’t produce them in search results.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
To achieve a high page rank, you’ll want a good meta title, meaning one that is informative but also indexable.
Avoid the following mistakes:
- Ignoring the title completely
- Using generic titles
- Using your business or website name in every page title
- Naming your page without having it actually correlate to your content
- Using indistinguishable titles for each of your pages
- Crafting titles that are too long or too short
- Using incorrect abbreviations
- Over-optimizing or keyword stuffing your title
- Using the same keyword many times in one title.
In this article, we answered a few important questions, including:
What is a meta title?
A meta title is the most important component of your metadata. This title is what tells the search engines how to index your page. It also tells your potential visitors what your page is about.
What is a meta title tag?
A meta title tag is another word for a meta title. This piece of code is also sometimes called a title tag.
What does meta title mean?
It applies to the piece of code within your metadata that helps search engines index your site.
Are characters and word count important for your title?
Yes. To keep Google happy, you should aim for 70 characters or less.
Can you have too many keywords in your title?
Yes. Select one or two keywords to build your title around. Any more than that and your website could be marked as spam.
Why are meta titles important?
A large part of website traffic comes from organic search results. A properly crafted title will increase your chances of a high rank on the search results page. The higher your page is on the search results page, the more likely it is to get clicked on.