Title tag

A Quick Guide to Title Tags

What is a Meta Title?

A meta title is an HTML element that specifies a title for a web page. Title tags are displayed on search engine result pages when searching for a particular result, appearing as a clickable link on the search results page. The title tag is important for usability, SEO, and social media sharing, providing a concise and accurate description of the page's content.

The code is written as follows:

 	<title>Your Title Here</title>

This should not be confused with <h1>, <h2>, <h3>, etc., which describe the content of your text. Learn more about headers here.

Title tag

Optimal Title Length

Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. Keeping titles under 60 characters allows about 90% of your titles to display correctly. However, there isn't a fixed character limit because the width of characters varies. The letter B takes up more space than the letter i, for example.

Why Are Title Tags Important?

Meta title tags are the first thing people see when searching for a page, forming the basis for the searcher's first impression of your site. Meta titles are a crucial factor in helping search engines understand what your page is about. Title tags are used in search engine result pages, browsers, and social networks. Here's how:

Search Engine Results

Your title tag is the first thing visitors see when they search for a page. Even if your page ranks high in search results, there's no guarantee that the visitor will want to stay on your page (if they click at all). So, a good title is vital for whether the searcher clicks through to your page.


Your title is also displayed at the top of the browser, acting as a placeholder or bookmark. This is particularly important for people who have many tabs open at once; having unique and easily recognizable titles with keywords upfront helps users keep track of their content.

Social Networks

Some external websites, especially social networks, often use the title tag to determine what displays when you share that page. It's essential to remember that some social networks have their own meta tags, allowing you to specify titles in addition to your main title. Facebook and Twitter, for example, do this. It gives you the flexibility to optimize for each network and provide longer titles when needed.

How to Write a Good Title

Title tags are a vital part of both search engine optimization and the user's experience. It's essential to create an effective and SEO-friendly title tag. As a general rule, it's a good idea to keep titles under 60 characters. If your title is too long, search engines may cut it off, and the searcher must click the link to see the rest, which can be inconvenient since most people want to find information quickly on the web. Therefore, ensure you include all relevant keywords in the title, so the reader can easily find what they're looking for.

Remember that titles might be cut off with fewer words if you use wider characters. For example, a "w" takes up more space than an "i." So, you may risk having the title cut off sooner when using letters like "w" than when using narrower letters. Avoid using CAPSLOCK excessively as well because uppercase letters take up more space and can be harder to read.

In some cases, longer titles may work better for social sharing, and some titles are naturally long. It's worth thinking before creating titles, and a good practice is to consider what the searcher would look for and what they expect to find.

Avoid Overusing SEO Keywords

Overusing SEO keywords is not beneficial. It's important to consider how it appears to the reader. A title like "We sell bikes. Cheap bikes. Good bikes. Bikes for sale. Bikes at good prices" can be challenging to read. Also, avoid using titles that are just a list of keywords and repeating the same keyword multiple times in the text. Search engines can understand keywords, and there's no point in repeating yourself in the title.

Give Every Page a Unique Title

Unique titles help search engines understand that your content is unique. They also result in higher click-through rates. Creating a unique title for each page or tab may seem daunting, but modern content management systems and code-based templates offer the ability to create data-driven, unique titles for almost all important pages on your website. Avoid using titles like "home" or "new page" because these titles could lead Google to suspect that you're duplicating content. Think from the searcher's perspective: Would I click on a page called "untitled"?

Place Important Keywords at the Beginning

According to both testing and experience, keywords closer to the beginning of the title tag can have a more significant impact on search rankings. So, add essential keywords at the start of the title or as close to the start as possible. This ensures search engines don't cut off the title before the keywords are visible to the searcher.

Leverage Your Brand

If you have a strong and well-known brand, you can use it in your title to increase click-through rates. However, it's usually recommended to place your brand name at the end of the title. Google may also automatically add your brand to the display titles, so be aware of how the search results appear.

Write for Your Customers

While title tags are crucial for SEO, it's equally important to remember that you want clicks from well-targeted visitors who find your content valuable. When creating title tags, consider the entire user experience in addition to optimization and keywords. The title is the visitor's first encounter with your brand when they search for it online, and it should convey the most positive and accurate message possible.

Why Doesn't Google Use Your Title Tag?

Sometimes Google may display a title that doesn't match your title tag. This can be frustrating, but there's no straightforward way to force Google to use the title you've defined. When this happens, it may be due to one or more of the following:

The Title is Overloaded with Keywords

As previously mentioned, Google might try to rewrite your title if it's overly filled with keywords. This is known as "over-optimization." In such cases, it's a good idea to rewrite the title.

Your Title Doesn't Match the Query/Search

If your page matches a search that doesn't correspond to the title, Google might choose to rewrite the display title. This isn't necessarily a bad thing because no title can match every possible search. However, in such cases, consider whether you can rewrite it to match the keywords better.

You Have an Alternative Title

If you include alternative title data, such as Twitter, Facebook, or similar meta tags, Google may opt to use these titles instead of your title. This doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing. However, if it creates an undesirable display title, consider rewriting the alternative titles.

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