Page Titles and Title Tags

Every search result contains a title, and the first question that you should be interested in is, “Where do search engines (including Google) take a title from?”

“If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title tag will usually appear in the first line of the results” 1

The same way as a page title tells users what the topic of the current page is, the title tag defines the title of the document and tells search engines what the topic of a particular webpage is. The title tag should be placed within the head tag of the HTML document.


An example of the title tag


How does the title tag work? Google or another search engine scans you website; your title tags tell what the topics of each your particular page is. A search engine makes decision about what topic the best matches the user’s request and shows information from your title tag in its search results. The user sees the text from your title tag in the first line of the search result and makes decision whether to visit your webpage.

An example of the title in the search result


So, the title tag is an important aspect of search engine optimization, and if you want to improve your website you should optimize your page titles and title tags.

Some recommendations for optimizing page titles and title tags:

Create accurate and unique page titles.

A page title is the one that users are most likely to notice and that helps visitors to make decision whether to read your content, so each page on your website should have a distinct and descriptive title.

Avoid repeated and boilerplate titles. Identical titles make it is more difficult for visitors to distinguish pages. Boilerplate titles that vary by a single piece of information are not helpful for users too.

Create brief, but informative titles.

Page titles need to be both short and descriptive. A page title gives a user a quick insight whether content of the page is relevant to his/her query. Avoid using extremely lengthy titles.

Accurately describe in your title the page content.

A page title should communicate the topic of the corresponding page content. Users don’t like read content that has no relation to their requests.

Avoid using a title that is not relevant to the page content and vague titles such as “New Page” and “Untitled”.

Concisely brand your titles.

You can include your website or business name or other information you want at the beginning or end of each your page title, separated from the rest of the title by a delimiter (hyphen, colon, or pipe).

Indicate your page titles by title tags.

“Make sure that every page on your site has a title specified in the title tag." 2

Create a unique title tag for each your page.

Each your page should have a unique title tag as title tags help search engines to know what the difference between the particular page and other pages on your website is. As a result, Google and other search engines have possibility to choose and show in the search results pages that the best match user’s request.

Avoid using a single title tag as in this case search engines will not know how each your particular page is distinct from others.

Use brief, but descriptive title tags.

Your title tag should be a few words or a phrase. If the title tag is too long, Google will truncate and show only a part of it in the search result. “If the title is too long, engines will show an ellipsis, "..." to indicate that a title tag has been cut off.” 3

Avoid using lengthy title tags. 

Place keywords to your title tags.

“The closer to the start of the title tag your keywords are, the more helpful they'll be for ranking, and the more likely a user will be to click them in the search results.” 3

Avoid placing unneeded keywords in title tags as it is no reason for having in the title tag the same words or phrases multiple times.


References:

1. “Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide” 2010. 31 May 2015 <http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en/us/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf>

2. “Review your page titles and snippets” Google: Search Console Help. 2015. 31 May 2015 <https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35624?hl=en>

3. Rand Fishkin and Moz Staff. “Chapter Four. The Basics of Search Engine Friendly Design & Development” MOZ: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO. 2015. 31 May 2015 <https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo/basics-of-search-engine-friendly-design-and-development>

4. “HTML <title> Tag” w3schools.com. 1999-2015. 31 May 2015 <http://www.w3schools.com/tags/tag_title.asp>

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