<title>What Is The Best Title Tag For Google?</title>
Title Tag Best Practices
The page title tag (or HTML Title Element) is arguably the most important on page seo factor. Keywords in page titles can HELP your pages rank higher in Google results pages (SERPS). The page title is also often used by Google as the title of a search snippet link in search engine results pages.
For me, a perfect title tag in Google is dependant on a number of factors;
- The page title is highly relevant to the page it refers to, it will probably be displayed in a web browsers window title bar, and the clickable search snippet link in Google, Bing & other search engines. The title is the “crown” of a keyword targeted article with important keyword featuring AT LEAST ONCE, as all search enignes place a lot of weight in what words are contained within this html element.
- Google displays as many characters as it can fit into ”a block element that’s 512px wide and doesn’t exceed 1 line of text”. So – THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF CHARACTERS any seo can lay down as exact best practice to GUARANTEE your title will display, in full in Google, at least. Ultimately – only the characters and words you use will determine if your entire page title will be seen in a Google search snippet. Google used to count 70 characters in a title – but not in 2012. If you want to ENSURE your full title tag shows in Google SERPS, stick to about 65 characters. I have seen ‘up-to’ 69 characters in 2012 – but as I said – it depends on the characters you use.
- Google will INDEX perhaps 1000s of characters in a title… but no-one knows exactly how many characters or words Google will actually count AS a TITLE when determining relevance for ranking purposes. It is a very hard thing to try to isolate accurately. I have had ranking success with longer titles – much longer titles – Google certainly reads ALL the words in your page title (unless you are spamming it silly, of course).
- You can probably include up to 12 words that will be counted as part of a page title, and consider using your important keywords in the first 8 words.
- Some page titles do better with a call to action – one which reflects exactly a searcher’s intent (e.g. to learn something, or buy something, or hire something. Remember this is your hook in search engines, if Google chooses to use your page title in its search snippet, and there is now a lot of competing pages out there!
- When optimising a title, you are looking to rank for as many terms as possible, without keyword stuffing your title. Often, the best bet is to optimise for a particular phrase (or phrases) – and take a more long-tail approach. Yes – that does mean more pages on your site – that’s the reality in 2012. Content. Content. Content.
- The perfect title tag on a page is unique to other pages on the site. In light of Google Panda, an algorithm that looks for a ‘quality’ in sites, you REALLY need to make your page titles UNIQUE, and minimise any duplication, especially on larger sites.
- I like to make sure my keywords feature as early as possible in a title tag but the important thing is to have important keywords and key phrases in your page title tag SOMEWHERE.
- For me, when SEO is more important than branding, the company name goes at the end of the tag, and I use a variety of dividers to separate as no one way performs best. If you have a recognisable brand – then there is an argument for putting this at the front of titles.
- I like to think I write titles for search engines AND humans.
- Know that Google tweaks everything regularly – why not what the perfect title keys off? So MIX it up…
- Don’t obsess! Natural is probably better, and will only get better as engines evolve. As I said – these days – I optimise for key-phrases, rather than just keywords.
- Generally speaking, the more domain trust/authority your SITE has in Google, the easier it is for a new page to rank for something. So bear that in mind. THere is only so much you can do with your page titles – your websites rankings in Google are a LOT more to do with OFFSITE factors than ONSITE ones.
- Also bear in mind, in 2012, the html title element you choose for your page, may not be what Google chooses to include in your SERP snippet. The search snippet title and description is very much QUERY dependant these days. Google often chooses what it thinks is the most relevant title for your search snippet, and it can use information from your page, or in links to that page, to create a very different SERP snippet title.
- Click through rate is something that is likely measured by Google when ranking pages (Bing say they use it too, and they now power Yahoo), so it is really worth considering whether you are best optimising your page titles for click-through rate or optimising for more search engine rankings.
- Google has been recorded recently discussing an ‘over-optimisation’ penalty. I would imagine keyword stuffing your page titles could be one area they look at.
- Remember….think ‘keyword phrase‘ rather than ‘keyword‘, ‘keyword‘ ,’keyword‘…
A Note About Title Tags;
When you write a page title, you have a chance right at the beginning of the page to tell Google (and other search engines) if this is a spam site or a quality site – such as – have you repeated the keyword 4 times or only once? I think title tags, like everything else, should probably be as simple as possible, with the keyword once and perhaps a related term if possible.
I always aim to keep my html page title elements things as simple, and looking as human-generated and unique, as possible.
I’m certainly cleaning up the way I write my titles all the time. How do you do it?
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