2. On Page SEO for Beginners
Article #2.9

How and Why does Title tag play a major role in attracting traffic to your website?

Did you ever feel like reading a book without a title? Ranking on Google now is much more than optimizing or concentrating on a single element. Title tag still remains one of the most important element that could contribute towards optimizing your website for better rankings on the SERPs. Title tags are also known as Meta title.

So, Title tags!

Title Tag is basically an HTML tag, which is used to give a title to a document/webpage, similar to that of a title of a chapter of a book. It helps the users and the Search Engines to gauge what the content of the web page is about.
Title tags are used by the Search Engines to show preview snippets for a page. They share equal importance for both SEO and social media sharing.
The title element of a web page should therefore, display an accurate and concise picture of the webpage’s content.
Here is the screenshot showing title tag for RankWatch

Now, let’s see how does a typical coding for a title tag appears like:
Code Sample:
<title> Title of your document </title>

On right clicking at any place on the website and further clicking, ‘View Source’ or simply pressing ‘Ctrl+U’, you might get the HTML coding for your website, where you can see its title tag. Below is the screenshot of the page source of RankWatch, highlighting its title tag:



Why are title tags important?

As already discussed above, title tags help the Search engines and the users for judging the relevancy of pages. Title tags have been considered as one of the most important On-page SEO  elements for it appears at three key places:

  • Browser:

As you can see in the highlighted section of the screenshot below, the title tag is displayed both on the tab of browser’s chrome and in tabs.


  • Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs)

Your title tag on the SERPs will induce your click-through-rates. Let’s see how. Whenever the user types in his query, the Search Engines will highlight those keywords in your title tag thereby improving user visibility and increasing your prospective of your click-through-rates.


  • External websites:

External websites especially social media websites, use the title tag of your webpage as the link anchor text.



How Google handles it?

Google does not always show the title tags as you intend it to to show. It might not take the title tags from their beginning if a query best matches words from the middle or end of a title tag (long).
Sometimes, Google creates a completely new title to display on the SERPs, if the actual title tag is not deemed correct to it.
Read what Google has to say on this:
“If we’ve detected that a particular result has issues with its title, we may try to generate an improved title from anchors, on-page text, or other sources. However, sometimes even pages with well-formulated, concise, descriptive titles will end up with different titles in our search results to better indicate their relevance to the query.
There’s a simple reason for this: the title tag as specified by a webmaster is limited to being static, fixed regardless of the query. Once we know the user’s query, we can often find alternative text from a page that better explains why that result is relevant. Using this alternative text as a title helps the user, and it also can help your site. Users are scanning for their query terms or other signs of relevance in the results, and a title that is tailored for the query can increase the chances that they will click through”

Optimal size of title tags?

Well, there has been questions related to that what should be the optimum title tag length?
Since Google’s recent changes, the font size for the title tags have been increased from 16 px to 18 px (thus, reducing the number of characters that appear before truncation) and the underline has been eliminated. This made the SERPs cleaner and easy to read.
Since a long time, it was advised to keep the title tags less than 70 characters. Now, everybody would be telling you to forget the character length for a moment and concentrate on keeping the title tag under a width of 512 pixels, i.e 55 to 60 characters.
Now, the question is that, did Google really change its algorithm from characters to pixels?
Well, just to clear your confusion, the answer is a big NO! It has always been pixels. Google has been using the proportional Arial font for its search results. This implies that thin characters like I or 1 use lesser space than fat characters like W or 5. It was just that the character aspect was easy-to-understand than the pixels one. So, the character count limit that is suggested now, would be between 55-60 characters.
The bottom line is simple- Your title tag should form a complete and sensible meaning before the Google cuts if off!
Another point to note is that Google might only display 512 pixels on its SERPs, but it’s algorithm is capable of reading your entire title (that is, including the part that is not displayed). If somehow, you are not able to manage writing your title within 512 pixels, make sure that it’s first 55 characters convey most of it’s meaning. 

Want to see if your Title Tag is of the optimum size? Here you go!

Simply type your URL in the box and submit. 


How to optimize title tags?

Here are a few tips from our end to help manage your title tags:

  • Place your ‘top performing keywords’ in the title tags:

This is the best place to place your keywords. Arrange the keywords in the order of their value. Just in case if you are not aware, Search Engines can deem the first word of your title tag as most valuable, the next word as the second most valuable and so on. At the same time you would not want your title tag to look as a keyword dumping field, so be very careful while framing your title tag.   

  • Be descriptive and concise:

The title tag should display a complete and a sensible meaning. Try and avoid ambiguous descriptors like ‘Home’ for your homepage or ‘Profile’ for someone’s profile. Also, don’t go for wordy or long winded titles, that are likely to cut by Google, when they show up in SERPs.

  • Brand your titles, but be subtle about it:

The title of your homepage is a justified place to include some additional information about your website, but displaying that text in the title for every single page might hamper the readability. Moreover, it would appear repetitive if several pages of your site are displayed for the same query.
In this scenario, include your site name at the beginning or end of the page title and separate it from the rest of the title using hyphen or a colon. For example, <title>ExampleSite: Sign up for free.</title>

  • Keep the titles unique for different pages:

Would you prefer duplicate content? Then, duplicate title is also a big NO. It is very important to have different, descriptive titles for each page of the website. Titling every page similarly will make it it very difficult for the users to differentiate one page from another. 

  • Make sure each page has a title specified in the <title> tag:

Having no <title> tag at all, having multiple <title> tags in the code, putting the <title> tag in the <body> tag- all of them is wrong. To earn the value inherent in the <title> element, make sure that there should be one <title> tag used per page, and is put within the <head> section of the code. If you have a large website and you think you might have forgotten a title somewhere, go to the HTML suggestions page in the Search Console lists which list out all the missing or potentially wrong title tags.

  • Avoid keyword stuffing:

Do not spam it. Actually speaking, don’t’ torture’ the users by putting the same keyword phrases again and again. A few descriptive words in the title are acceptable, but repeating the same words multiple times is not.


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