• Andy Jones

SEO Title Tag Optimisation: Examples and Best Practices

Updated: Sep 7, 2019

Title tags: Are you getting the most out of them?

Chances are, you probably aren't unlocking their true potential.

A well optimised title tag can result in HUGE increases in traffic.

That's not something you want to miss out on.

In this post I'm going to outline why title tags are so important and how to you can optimise them.



What is a Title Tag?

A title tag (also known as a meta title or page title) is a HTML element which specifies the title of a web page.


To find the meta title tag of any webpage; right click with your mouse, select 'view source' and search for "<title>".



Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut of 'control+u' and perform the same search.


You can also view the title tag of a web page by hovering your mouse over the browser tab.


Your seo title tag is one of the first interactions someone will have with your web page.



That means it's important your title tag is optimised to make a great first impression.


How do you make that great first impression?


You're about to find out...



How to Optimise Title Tags

So, we've covered what a title is, now it's time for the fun stuff...


Title tag optimisation.


Below, you'll find loads of examples and best practices for writing title tags that Google (and other search engines) will LOVE.


First things first...



1. Find Your Primary Keyword


Your primary keyword should be the main focus of your optimised title tag.


To find your main keyword, head over to keyword planner (or your chosen keyword research tool).


Type in a couple of variants you think might be appropriate contenders.


Example:


Say that you're an outdoor clothing store that sells men's waterproof jackets.


Your first couple of searches might look like the below;



So "mens waterproof jacket/s" would be your primary keyword here.


Top Tip: For maximum ranking potential, I would recommend including your primary keyword as close to the start of your page title tag as possible. The more weighting you give your keyword, the more value Google will give it.


2. Find Long Tail or 'Modified' Versions of Your Primary Keyword


With the introduction of Rankbrain in 2016 and 'neural matching' in 2018, Google is adept at ranking concepts, not just keywords.


This means having a well themed page that includes more than just your primary keyword is very important.


Your title tag needs to reflect this.


Using your primary keyword to start your search, you now need to look for 'long tail' and 'modified variations' to target.


Let's use our "mens waterproof jackets" example again.


Example of Long Tail keywords:


"mens waterproof running jackets"
"mens fashionable waterproof jackets"
"mens lightweight packable waterproof jackets"

Long tail keywords help establish yourself as an authority on the subject of your primary keyword.


You'll find they have lower search volume too. That means there's less competition and a higher likelihood that you can rank for them.


Now let's look at 'modifiers'...


Example of keyword 'Modifiers':


buy men's waterproof jackets
cheap men's waterproof jackets
best men's waterproof jackets

Adding modifiers like "best", "cheap" and "buy" will help you show for more long tail searches.


These types of modifiers also create more eye-catching seo titles. Which is exactly what you want to stand out in the search results!


Keyword modifiers like the above work really well for ecommerce seo.


Important to remember:


The highest volume keywords aren't necessarily always the most relevant keywords.


If you're an ecommerce website that specialises in luxury goods, modifiers like "cheap" might not be the best suited.


Try testing modifiers like "quality". Or instead of "cheap", try substituting it for phrases like "unbeatable value".



3. Make Your Title Tag the Right Length


When you're working so hard on constructing the perfect title tag, you want to make sure your tags get seen.


The last thing you want is important information being truncated in the SERPs.



Truncation occurs when your title tag is too many characters, or goes over the pixel limit.


Recommended character limit: 70 characters
Recommended pixel limit: 600px

If you stick to the recommended lengths above, your full title tag is much more likely to be shown.


Unsure how your prospective title tag might look?


There's some awesome meta preview tools around that let you view what your organic result might look like.


Because title tag length is actually based on pixel width, it's important you utilise the space available.


See the "|" pipe characters in the titles above?


They're often used to separate keywords and branding.


That's because a vertical pipe uses less space than a horizontal hyphen. Leaving you more space to add in keywords and eye catching info.



4. Use Numbers

When scanning through lots of search results, numbers jump out at you.


It's no coincidence that many article based pages use numbers in their title tags...


Our brains are trained to find things that stand out and are specific. So using numbers in your title tags work like a charm!


Numbers in title tags don't work just for blog posts, though.


Examples:


Electric Blenders | Buy From Just £29.99
Buy Gaming Headsets | Your #1 Destination for Electronics

Numbers in title tags are a sure fire way to increase your click-through rates!



5. Make Title Tags Unique

Google really isn't a fan of duplicated content.


That means, for every web page you have, you need a unique title tag.


One of the first things SEO professionals look out for on audits is duplicated meta data, so you might as well get it right first time around.



If your website is small to medium sized, I'd recommend taking the time write bespoke seo titles for each page.


This might seem like a long process, but it's worth it.


Creating unique title tags per page will ensure every page is 100% optimised.


Many larger ecommerce website's have automated functions to create their title tags. While this means most titles are optimised (for the most part). Automation is heavily reliant on your core data.



6. Don't Keyword Stuff


If you follow tips #1 and #2 above, then you shouldn't run into this issue.


But it's still worth highlighting.


Keyword stuffing for ranking benefit used to be rife.


However, search engines are now a lot wiser than they used to be.


In today's world of seo, keyword stuffing can result in terrible rankings or cause your content to be removed completely.


Examples of keyword stuffing:


Buy paper shredders directly from us today. Get in contact for the cheapest paper shredders and explore the largest selection of paper shredders online.

This looks awful. It reads awfully. And it will rank awfully too. So don't do this in your title tags either.


Again, by following tips #1 and #2 further up the page, you should find a plethora of secondary and tertiary keywords to target!



7. Research Your Competitors


Knowing what your competitors are doing is vital to getting traffic from google.


There's no use writing title tags that don't stand out against your competition.


Take ideas from competitors for sure, but make sure your titles are unique.


To make sure your title tags stand out from the crowd, check out the results for your chosen query and ask yourself some of the below questions;


  • What looks good?

  • What doesn't look good?

  • Are there any USPs I have that my competitors don't?


Competitor research can highlight some real gems of opportunity!


If your search result can jump out at a user more than your competitor's, the likelihood is you'll get that much wanted 'click' instead of them!



8. Target Geographic Keywords (Local SEO)

Geo-targeted keywords can provide a great source of traffic for small and local businesses.


Local seo can also help footfall if you have a bricks and mortar store.


Yes Google is pretty adept at tailoring the search results for local queries, but local keywords can really help boost visibility for your business.


Example:


Let's say you run an artisanal bakery in Hitchin. Your homepage title tag might look something like the below...


The Bread Factory | Delicious Artisan Bread in Hitchin
Family Run Artisanal Bakery in Hitchin | The Bread Factory

You get the idea!


Top Tip: You don't always have to put your brand or business name at the end of the title tag. Starting with your primary keyword can help with ranking. But bare in mind Google sometimes adjusts your title to lead with your brand name.



Conclusion


Title tag optimisation can play a key part in driving organic traffic to your website.


Armed with the title tag tips above, you should be reaping the benefits in no time!


Your seo page titles aren't complicated, but it can take a bit of time to get them right.


Final Top Tip: Remember though, a title tag that works one day, might not be working quite as well a year down the line. Keep an eye on updated best practice and what your competitor's are doing!


Happy title tag writing :-)



About Andy Jones


I'm an SEO and Digital Marketing specialist with over 10 years experience in e-commerce and online.


I have a wealth of knowledge in all Digital Marketing disciplines, including; PPC, SEO, email, affiliates and UX.


Over the past few years I have held the position of in-house SEO Specialist at household names such as Office Depot and Mothercare. I have vast experience in devising and implementing successful content and technical organic strategies, as well as being involved in 'hands on' on-page optimisation, content writing, keyword research, PR outreach campaigns and more.


You can contact me via email or find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.


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