Having high-ranking, quality content on your website is crucial to building your authority and ranking in search engines. When a user is deciding whether or not to click your content, they are relying on the title, your website’s name, and possibly a picture to influence this decision.
When your content shows up in search engines (and even if it shows up at all), title is key. But in the language of SEO, you may have heard various similar terms such as “title tags” and “meta tags.”
In this blog, SeoTuners will define these terms, differentiate them, and provide best practices for perfecting them in your content.
The title of your blog is something you can probably identify quite easily, but you may not have considered how important it can be when it comes to driving traffic. Your title must be engaging, descriptive, and relevant and must be strategically crafted to achieve all of these objectives seamlessly in one short tag line.
Title tags and meta titles are HTML code that are embedded in the header of a web page and used by Google to influence your listing in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
A title tag will show up on external pages like Facebook and SERPS, so it’s important that it makes sense and reads logically. Google can alter your title tag if it’s not relevant, so you want to be sure that you put thought into it to influence your SEO as much as you can.
It should be about the same length as your blog title and many times, they might be the same or quite similar—usually between 50-70 characters to stay under Google’s 70-character display cap. When your blog shows up in a Google search, you want your entire title tag to appear without being cut off. Title tags and titles are often used interchangeably, because often times they are the same.
However, if you have crafted an incredibly clever title that’s on the longer side, you might consider trimming it down in the title tag to the major elements such as key words, actionable items, and main descriptive elements.
Alternatively, a meta tag (also known as a meta description or meta data), is going to be a bit longer, usually between 50-154 characters. This will appear below the title tag on a SERP and a social media posting of your content. Your meta tag should give a detailed description of your content including any relevant information that you may not have been able to fit in your title tag. This may also be a good place to add in more keywords or variants, which will be discussed later on.
The title of the blog itself may not be something you’ve ever put much thought into. Not only is a good title key to getting users to open and read your content and visit your web page, it can also influence its distribution and authority.
Oddly enough, many people will share content without even reading it, and a catchy title is a lot more likely to be shared than a run-of-the-mill one. Which brings us to our first major element of an effective blog title: it needs to be engaging.
Your title needs to stand out in search results, draw users in, and make the content something they will want to share. Including the following elements has been shown to increase engagement and clicks:
- “How to” prompts
Asking a question in your title makes your content interactive and interesting, and for SEO purposes it may often mimic what users are searching. For example, a title like “How Can I Improve My SEO Rankings?” may personally appeal to your clientele.
Similarly, a “How to____” title format is to the point and actionable. Including action phrases or a call to action in your title such as “find out”, “discover”, or “learn” will encourage users to engage with your content.
Emotive words, slang, or catchy phrases can also make your title more engaging. Depending on your audience, you might experiment with exclamation marks, all caps words, italics, and slang or industry specific terms and acronyms.
Including specifics such as numbers in your title has also been shown to increase clicks. Numbered lists let the reader know exactly what to expect from your blog in a short amount of characters. For example, you might use a title with the format “X Ways to…” or “X Reasons Why…”.
Dates, including months and years are also good to include in blog titles because they are commonly used in search engines. While this won’t work for all content, anything timely or newsworthy can benefit from having a date in the title. For example, “August 2019 Best SEO Strategies”
Ultimately, your title needs to reflect the piece of content. Be sure to include at least one keyword but beware of excessive “keyword stuffing” which can cause penalties with Google.
You can find keywords by using Google Analytics, Search Console, or a good old-fashioned Google search. A Google search can also help you discover synonyms and variants of search terms which are also important to include.
For example, if someone is searching for a treatment center they might instead search for “drug rehab”, or “mental health”. It’s important to do some preliminary research and scan Google results for other ways people may be searching for the information your blog is presenting.
To avoid keyword stuffing, you can include some words and variants in your meta description and the content of your blog to reap some SEO benefits.
You will also want to ensure that your title, title tags, and descriptions are always unique—duplicate content can be penalized by Google.
Creating engaging, specific, and accurate titles, title tags, and meta tags will ultimately increase your SEO optimization, drive traffic, and increase the exposure of your content!
SeoTuners is well-versed in SEO and can help craft a custom, affordable solution for your business to increase exposure and SERP rankings. With affordable SEO solutions that include web design, social media, custom link building, SEO penalty recovery, and more, we’re confident we have a solution for all your marketing needs. Contact us today to learn about how we can boost your Google rankings.