Why you need page titles which work, and how to write them

We all know that every web page should have a ‘title tag’. This is what gets shown in the Google results, and is critical to getting people to the page. But what should a title tag have in it?

The critical feature is to make it something which prospects will want to click on. It is, in effect, an advert headline. Write a really bland ‘label’, and nobody will want to click on it. Any success you have in getting your result high up in the Google rankings is largely wasted if nobody wants to click on the result.

Take a look at these results. If you’d just searched for ‘blue widgets’, which would you be likely to click on?


I’d say the top three are great, and the next five are rubbish. If one of the top three swapped places with one currently down at the bottom of the page, I still think it would get more clicks. There’s also some evidence that results which get clicked on abnormally frequently for their position on the page will start to be moved up by Google, so that’s a double win.

What about keywords? Naturally, your title tag should include the main search term for which you want the page to be found. But what if the page is trying to span many different search terms? Should you try to stuff them all in? The answer is no. A list of terms is not a title people will want to click on. If you were writing a magazine advert, would you use the headline “Our range of widgets are great” or “Blue widgets red widgets green widgets”? I think we all know the answer.

Of course, if you can get all the search terms in, and make it attractive, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Finally, make the title fit. You’ve got about 60 characters. If you go longer, the title just gets cut off, as in the fourth and fifth results above. That looks messy, and there’s every chance that it’ll hit clickthrough rate negatively.

Now go and take a look at your titles. If you’re a client, ask us for a list. Another way is just to search Google for “site:yourwebsitename.com”. Do the titles look attractive? Are they cut off at the ends? Do they include the search terms which that page is describing? If not, get rewriting.

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