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Title Tags

Title elements, like their name suggests, define the title of what is being viewed. Title tags are often used on search results pages, or in social sharing, to show preview snippet of a page.

What is the title tag for?

The title element of a page should be a correct and succinct description of the content of the page. This is important not only for SEO, but also user experience. It adds value to your page in relevancy, browsing, and search engine results pages. For these reasons, they are one of the most important elements of your page (the most important being content).

Code Sample:

{% highlight html %}

Page Title {% endhighlight %}

Optional Formats
Commonly, Keywords are placed at the beginning of the title, separated by a dash (-) and/or a pipe (|), with the sites brand name at the end.

Code Sample:

{% highlight html %}

Primary Keyword - Secondary Keyword | Brand Name {% endhighlight %}

The length of the title is important. Google typically shows the first 50-60 characters of the title tag. Search engines may also choose to display a different title than what is in your HTML. They may be rewritten to reflect your brand, the search terms, or other considerations.

Optimizing Titles

Applying best practices to title tags is a great low-effort, high-impact SEO task. Here are some tips for optimizing your title tags for both search engines and usability:

  • Consider Length

    As I mentioned, search engines display a limited number of characters, and will truncate titles in search results that exceed this length. On Google, this is usually between 50 and 60 characters. Search engines typically show an ellipsis (...) to show the title has been cut off. Longer title, however, can often work well for social sharing, and it's been suggested by many SEOs, that even though a search engine may not display the full title, it may still use the keywords it contains for ranking purposes. In the end, a great title is one that converts and gets clicks, so don't torment yourself over length.

  • Place Important Keyword Near the Beginning of the Title Tag

    Generally speaking, the closer to the beginning of the title tag a keyword is, the more impact it has on ranking, and the more likely it is to have a user click them in search results.

  • Leverage Branding

    In most cases, it's recommended that the brans name be placed at the end of the title tag. There are cases, however, where the awareness of a brand in its target market means that placing it first is actually best. If a brand is well-known enough to have an impact on click rates, then being first ensures that it will appear in the search results, even if the title is truncated.

  • Consider Readability

    Your title tag is potentially the first impression your brand makes on a potential new user coming from a search engine. You'll want to make sure that it leaves a positive message with the user if you want them to continue to your site.

External Resources