Titles are considered the most important thing in SEO. However, it’s very significant to put your keywords inside the title, it is not always that easy to write an SEO friendly title tags though. Therefore, we got you this article that holds the most important steps to follow to make well-optimized titles on your website pages.
After a noticeable experience in SEO, we realized how people neglect titles, which is one of the major faults when you’re dealing with SEO. Sometimes we hear something like: “I have worked on SEO before, however, I got no results” That means that even SEO agencies make faults regarding title tags
What Are Page Title Tags?
You may think that title tags are the phrases you write on the platform you use -WordPress for example- which represents the topic of your article or page. But,
“THE TITLE TAG IS ACTUALLY AN HTML ELEMENT WHICH SERVES A NUMBER OF KEY ROLES IN BROWSERS, SEARCH ENGINES AND ON THE WEB, IN GENERAL.”
Title tags are like any HTML tag. It’s surrounded by angle brackets “<>” and it has a beginning tag <title> and an end tag </title>, and the title itself is inside those tags.
The title of the article you are reading right now is written as you see below:
<title>How to Write SEO Friendly Title Tags | Guide & Best Practices</title>
If you press CTRL + U on your Windows PC or right-click anywhere on the article and hit View Source, you can see the title tag in its original form.
<title>How to Write SEO Friendly Title Tags | Guide & Best Practices</title>
The title tag’s contents are also displayed inside the browser tabs. You can hover over them to view the full title of a web page.
Yet, titles are not written just to look nice. They give an important purpose, particularly for SEO.
Why Are Title Tags Important for SEO?
The title tags are regarded to be a major SEO ranking factor. There are several reasons for there titles to be important for SEO. The first reason is that it’s the first thing the eye sees while searching for a topic on google.
The Facebook titles might also be different from Google titles, that happens because sometimes Google changes the title of the article, it paraphrases it and it’s something uncontrollable. So, the original title is the one that appears on Facebook.
The ‘brand first’ rewrite is one of the most common title methods of paraphrasing. It commonly happens only with the homepage. So, the pricing page has branding at the end of the title.
Keep reading to know more about title rewriting.
What’s the Difference Between H1 Tags and Title Tags?
You may seem similar and have the same characteristics, however, they are definitely different.
They are totally different HTML tags (<title></title> vs <h1></h1>) and provide different objectives.
“The major difference between the Title Tag and the H1 Tag is that the Title Tag does not show on the web page itself.”
The most important purpose of the Title Tag is to show on the search engine and the external websites that refer to the title of the web page. On the other hand, the H1 displays on the webpage or through the website itself.
This is not the only case though, it depends on the Content Management System you’re dealing with. But, most CMSs usually use the H1 tag as a title on-page.
Usually, the Title Tag and the H1 Tag are the same. For instance, when you create a new blog post and write the title in WordPress, you’re writing the H1 Tag. WordPress then drags that input then adds it to the Title Tag.
But, you can designate a customized SEO Title Tag if you use as SEO plugin -Yoast SEO for example- this will make it different from the H1.
Therefore, you can show different from the search engine that is not the same thing on your website. It’s useful to do that because you can now add several keywords in your H1 tag whenever you see the Title Tag longer than it should be.
Here’s one example of a longer H1 tag:
And the shorter Title Tag comes with it, that suits the SERPs:
The second big difference is that there can be several H1s on a web page, though we suggest using H2 and H3 tags for several subtitles and keeping with a single H1 tag.
WordPress automatically on the blog post page converts all the H1s to H2s. The blog page’s H1 is “The SEO Blog from cognitiveSEO”.
“On the other side, it’s crucial that your website has only one title tag per page. Multiple title tags can negatively impact your rankings, so make sure you don’t do that.”
SEO Title Tags Tips & Best Practices
Before we explain making SEO titles, we have to be sure you’re following the best steps.
This is a list of steps that you should try to always remember whenever you’re writing titles. When you know these, writing an SEO friendly title meta tag should be easier than ever!
Write the title for humans first
Keep this in mind, it’s very important. Absolutely, the titles are read by algorithms and robots, and they are what rank your website.
Anyway, when they eventually lift it to the top, humans can read the titles, who finally command if they will press on it or not! If they don’t click on it, the algorithms will understand your title isn’t a good one.
Try to keep away from stuffing and instead concentrate on being on-topic.
User intention is also a significant factor. What are your clients searching for? Are you writing your title for a branding keyword or for an informative one?
Before writing, keep in mind to think about your customers and target audience’s way of thinking, what would they click on? Is this topic relevant or useful for them? Get inspired by this, don’t just copy. The top positions are obviously doing leastwise something correct.
Keep your titles short and on-point
When you’re writing your title tag for SEO aims, one of the major things you have to consider is that your title should be short.
Because Google tends to shorten long titles by adding […] at the end of the title. This is called “truncation” and it looks like:
This will not affect your SEO immediately. However, it can impact your CTR, which will -at the end- influence positions. Usually, you want to keep writing short titles to fit the results of Google search.
So, the expected question is, how long can I write a title?
It’s better to keep the title between 60 to 70 characters. Yet Google has a 600 pixels limit which shows the title. Different characters are different in width, so the limit number differs according to the width.
Therefore, it’s a better idea to use tools such as the Yoast SEO plugin to be certain that your title exactly fits.
If you’re not a WordPress user or even any other CMS platform, and you can’t install and SEO plugin on your hosting provider, you have another option which is to use tools like MetaTags. It helps you checking your title, URL, and meta description quickly and showing in the search engine result pages.
You are able to add your titles and meta tags manually on your website for SEO, even if on your platform or web host
Always remember that it’s not a good idea to make too short titles. You may miss the most important point, which is grabbing users’ attention.
Tip: Instead of – you can use | to separate between your sections. – has more sections than |. So, using | helps you get the full titles displayed with less of a risk to miss words.
Try to add the main keyword in the beginning or close to it.
Putting the keyword in the beginning is useful because google usually puts weight on the beginning words. It also increases the click-through rate. Users tend to click on the results that have the keywords that they exactly searched for.
Moreover, you will not be able to add the keyword that you want to focus on with the most search volume at the beginning.
For instance, the first keyword with the maximum search volume for this article is “title tags SEO”. But, that’s quite hard to get in a title and also make it sound nice and normal.
Google is intelligent enough to detect what the article talks about, yet you should provide some hints. If you give Google the correct hints, it will realize it easier and will reward you for it with better ranks.
So, writing “SEO Title Tags” instead of “Title Tags SEO” will not be a big deal.
Try to optimize the title for multiple keywords if possible
Try to keep the keywords arranged. For example, this article is optimized for the following keywords:
“How to write SEO friendly title tags”
“SEO friendly title tags”
“SEO title tags guide”
“SEO title tags best practices”
If you take a look at the title of this article, you will see that you are able to spot all of these phrases in order.
The keywords must also align with what you have to say in the article. You shouldn’t include keywords just because they have a high search volume.
Optimizing an article for numerous keywords is not a good idea. As you may try to achieve two things by doing a single action. For example, if you write an article with the title “SEO Guide”, never expect it to rank for “keyword research”, “on-page optimization”, “link building”, and so on.
Try to seek the benefit of using the H1 tag as well. If you tried and couldn’t fit all the keywords then you find related to the title, you can press more two in the H1. Be sure to keep the focus keyword in the H1 too.
Also, keep in mind the meta descriptions. You should add your keywords there as well, as Google usually ignores the meta description if it doesn’t include the keywords the user is searching for.
Try to avoid keyword cannibalization with other articles
Before starting to write an article, you have to keep this in mind. Test if your website doesn’t have a page optimized for identical keywords.
In other words, you need to have unique titles for your articles, each targeting a specific topic and set of keywords.
Writing different articles for every keyword you want to add is not a good idea. Eventually, you will have the keyword cannibalization problem which will show up when many articles are having similar keywords
For instance, if I had two different articles for “how to write SEO title tags” and “SEO title tags best practices” both of them will contest for the same keyword “SEO title tags”.
Definitely, you can still optimize each one of them and they might even rank the way you want. But, if you begin having many articles that focus on the same keywords, it may become so much harder to rank with them.
Therefore, if these two keywords include the same topics, so try to optimize the article for both keywords
Nevertheless, for a totally different subject such as “Do Title Tags Affect SEO?” you definitely have to write a totally different article.
Cannibalization can also occur when you release a lot of articles. When you are writing 3 articles a month for 2 years straight, you sometimes just forget that you wrote about the same topic one day. This is a common mistake
So we’re trying to put the most possible number of topics in the same article. Probabilities are that we will not be writing something particularly for writing title tags again. We will just upgrade this article when the time reaches.
Nevertheless, you still can add something about titles in a different article. For instance, you are able to have an H2 section about titles and how to write them in an SEO Optimization Guide. You will then utilize this article to get your internal linking strategy better.
Make your title catchy to improve CTR
The first thing that is seen by your potential readers when they search about your keyword is the title tag. They will never click on the article if the title tag is not convincing enough for them. Google will deal with this as a negative sign and this decreases the rank.
However, if more readers clicked on the title, Google will see that as a positive sign and reward your website with greater rankings.
Therefore, if the ranking of your article is presently #3 out of 1,000 impressions, 18% of the clicks go to your article, 12% to the #2 spot and 25% to the #1 spot, you have a high possibility of exchanging with the #2 spot, to your interest.
So, you have to create catchy titles. You can also add emotion to your title in order to make it more catchy, and also words that develop CTR such as “free”, “example” or even numbers (7, 21, 77, etc).
Here are a couple of examples:
5 Keyword Research Tips That Will Blow Your Mind
Best Free SEO Tools to Help You Improve Your Rankings in 2019
However, keywords have a higher priority, at least until you get your article to the top. Until you get to page 1, almost nobody except the search engines will see your article anyway.
Never mind testing the CTR by writing another title while you’re on page #1 of Google at least. Furthermore, remember that any change is able to affect your rankings in a negative way too.
If your article is already ranking #1, you should’t make any changes until your competitors rank better than you.
A quick tip: You can put (▷) in front of your title to make it stand out from the crowd. You can also try adding emojis to your titles. where it makes sense. But, don’t turn your title into a clown (no offense intended to any clown SEO readers). Keep it civil.
Fill short titles with calls to action
If your major keyword is highly small and you don’t have any side keywords that are correct or rational to include to your title, combine the title a call to action or make somehow it attractive.
For instance, if your title is just “Ski Rental Prices” and there are no other keywords that have seek volume or make sense targeting. Also, you can include something like “50% Discount for 1st Time Clients” or “Best Prices in the Entire Resort”.
So, you are taking the benefit of the real estate rather than wasting it.
Make your article & title look fresh
Convince your readers that the article is relevant by including the present year inside your article’s title. If you have a subject that continues variable or evolving, it’s a great idea to keep updating your articles.
But, when you update it, be sure you let your readers know about this. Here are some models from our blog:
Are Web Directories Still Relevant for SEO in 2019?
(This article was written a long time ago and updated this year).
21 Effective Low Effort & High Return SEO Techniques for 2019
(This article was written as new this year).
You are able to add these keywords in the meta description if they do not fit inside the title. Even though, it’s better if they are also in the title.
When you update articles, make sure you don’t also modify the URL. The URL should never be changed, if possible.
Find these keywords by using the cognitiveSEO Keyword Tool & Content Assistant.
Additionally, you have to be sure to keep away from keyword stuffing. This happens when a specific keyword or group of keywords are found many times inside one article.
Use several titles for SEO & Social Media
If you are promoting your content on social media -which is preferable- you can use several titles on each platform
Automatically, social media websites take the titles from the meta tag’s title. But, you can use protocols, for example, Open Graph or Twitter Cards to adjust customized titles for your social media posts.
This helps to boost your engagement and traffic, as you can also use keywords on your SEO title at the same time you’re using something attractive and rich on emotion on your social media.
By using WordPress, you can do this by the Yoast SEO plugin quickly. You can also assign another deception anthology and image. This comes in functional in case the image’s sizes on your website is not matching the images on Facebook.
On a normal platform you can add the meta tags manually in the HTML:
OG example for title: <meta property=”og:title” content=” “/>. Titles go among the apostrophes under the content features. This title will be displayed on Facebook rather than the title tag itself.
How to Craft an SEO Friendly Title Tag
Once you keep the top practices in mind, you are able to begin indeed making your title. But, step one doesn’t link in any writing!
Step 1: Choose your keywords wisely
Everything in SEO begins with keyword research. Regardless, you’re gambling in the dark. You’re not informed if the keywords have any search size, you don’t know your contest and you don’t even know if your competition is correct.
Make sure you pick a primary keyword to target for your article. You can then pick a set of secondary & long tail keywords if they fit.
E.g. in an article in Romanian that I worked on for a customer, we wrote about the first keyword “weight loss exercises”.
Nevertheless, secondary keywords are always available, particularly if you target more long sentences, with less competition and traffic.
The last title ended up to start “Best & Most Efficient Weight Loss Exercises You Can Do At Home”.
This title targets numerous keywords: “weight loss exercises”, “best weight loss exercises”, “efficient weight loss exercises”, “weight loss exercises at home”, “best weight loss exercises at home”, “efficient weight loss exercises at home”.
Through this article is firstly optimized for “weight loss exercises”, it will get drag much slower for the keyword as it is harder. At the same time, other long sentences will make traffic as the contest is cutting and they will rank high easier.
Step 2: Draft your title tag
If you’re on WordPress, there is a devoted area for the Title. Automatically, what you write here will be both the Title and the H1 tags.
As we said above, using the Yoast SEO plugin will help you differentiate between them both
If you have a customized website, as the web developer where the <title> meta tag is created and put your title there.
Oftentimes, new web developers ask themselves if they have to write the title before or after writing the article itself.
So… Yes. You have to write the title before the article itself. Also, get it better later on, after writing the article.
Step 3: Optimize the title tag
You may notice that many ideas are coming into your mind suddenly when you’re writing your article. So, you might be adding many subtopics and new ideas that you have to cover in your title. Therefore, writing your article before the title is way better than the opposite.
That’s why you often have to rewrite your title tag to better fit your content. If the title tag is not relevant, it won’t be as effective.
Unless you want to add multiple keywords while still concentrating on the main one, it’s easy to optimize title tasks. Rather than that, it gets somehow tricky
Therefore, it’s a great idea to let the SEO Title for SEO and take advantage of Open Graph, and Twitter Cards to optimize your titles for social media too.
Nevertheless, you have to remember a rule to keep things simple. Too complex titles may do more damage than benefit.
After publishing the article, you have to focus on how the title is doing. As we know, SEO takes time. Firstly, the rank will not be very high.
Using Google Analytics and the Google Search Console, observe your article to see how it performs. Once it gets to page #1 or the search results, look at the CTR.
When the article begins becoming stagnant on the 5th or 4th spot, try to play with the titles & meta descriptions to get your CTR better. This will result in higher rankings if you do things in a good way.
Remember that this can also affect your rankings negatively. E.g. if you try to get more clicks, remove a long-phrase keyword from your title which will result in a drop in rankings for that query.
How to Write Bulk (Auto-generated) Title Tags for eCommerce Websites
So now you know how to write an SEO friendly title tag for each and every page or article on your website.
But Adrian, what if I have thousands and thousands of pages and can’t afford to write titles for each and every one of them?
That’s a good question! Often times, you can’t afford to write a title for each and every post on your website. It simply takes too much time and it isn’t practical.
In this case, you have to dynamically set up your titles. This is usually done using the CMS. If you’re on WordPress, the Yoast SEO plugin can definitely help you. Just go to the Search Appearance Settings and you can set up templates for content types:
Also, you can have a template for your meta description and set up custom variables to make the titles just the way you need. Probably, you want to include size or weight to your titles by default as that’s what your readers look for on your website.
Other websites may have similar plugins. Just search on the internet for them. Magento, for instance, already does this creatively, because it is a platform specially made for eCommerce and hosting millions of products and categories.
If you’re on a custom platform, then the changes should likely be put into the database and named in the title tag dynamically using PHP. If you can’t do that, then you should ask your developer.
Here are some models of nice title frames for eCommerce sites or websites where writing each title isn’t a choice manually:
- Product Name | Your Brand
- Product Name | Category | Your Brand
- Product Name | Call to Action | Your Brand
- Service | Location | Your Brand
This way you can create some forms that will write titles for your products and category pages by default.
However, for those important pages you should spend some extra time doing the proper keyword research, analyzing the competition and crafting unique titles and descriptions.
If you are aiming to see good results, the best way is to come upon those pages with great results and traffic and to completely optimize them. This adds writing special titles for them.
Find these pages in your Search Console or in Google Analytics. You also can decide these pages from keyword research.
Why Is Google Showing A Different/Wrong Title Tag For My Site?
The one right answer here is because it can. But, there are various reasons why Google may pick a different title for your website.
The first one is clearly that your titles are just not good. If the title of your Homepage is Homepage, then you’d possibly be thankful rather than worried anyway.
Google shows the most accurate title possible for the user. Here’s an example of how Google does that.
If I look for “do meta descriptions affect SEO” this is the title we get from the SERPs:
If we additionally include the brand to the inquiry, “do meta descriptions affect SEO cognitive set”, Google changes the title tag.
This is Google attempting to demonstrate to the employee that the outcome it is appearance is the most correct one. They add the brand the reader was searching for.
In these situations, the keyword was already in the title. Nevertheless, Google may get the keywords from the article itself.
This “rewriting” also occurs with the meta descriptions. Actually, the article I’ve mentioned before has a various meta description.
The main meta description is “This description might influence whether you visit our site or not. So, do meta description tags affect SEO? If you haven’t figured it out yet, click here.”
Nevertheless, Google decided to display a clear answer to the question. Unluckily, this is not in our best benefit, as responding to that inquiry directly may result in users not clicking through to reach our website!
It is anyway in Google’s best benefit, as the more time readers spend on Google, the more ads they see and the more money Google earns.
Then, your titles may be taken from anchor texts of both internal and external links pointing to your pages.
This usually occurs when your pages are plugged from being entered and indexed.
If you couldn’t reach your page and its title, Google finds a URL forming to your page on a different website. If that URL is less of an anchor text, that anchor text would be regarded as a title for the page.
This case is radical and if you’re preventing pages from being indexed, you have better worries than title paraphrasings.
Finally, it is likely that the Google Cache is just old. If you have lately changed the title, it may take some time till Google modifies your page. You may try to fasten this action from the Google Search Console by checking for the URL and hitting the Request Indexing button:
Can you stop Google from rewriting your titles?
So, yes. By paraphrasing them the way it needs. Nevertheless, as long as you are following the best practices and add the right keywords in your titles, you don’t have to be concerned about it. It’s not an issue if Google somehow rewrites your titles in some conditions, particularly if you’re ranking high!
One of the most significant SEO ranking factors is the Title tags. If you want to get the best SEO results, you have to make sure you have well-optimized titles. You have to choose the right keywords and to intrigue the user to click your results.
Writing titles is easy if you follow a list of exercises, and the results they bring can be notable!