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Tips on writing good title tags

As I mentioned yesterday, the title tag is really important if you want a page to rank highly in the search engines, and get a good clickthrough rate. It’s also completely under your control. So here are a few tips for a title tag that works.

To begin with, you need to know what you want the page to be found for. If it’s nothing more than the product model number (e.g. “ABC123 blue widget”), that’s easy. However, if the product has a particular feature or benefit (e.g. “fast blue widget”), and that’s what you’re targeting, that benefit needs to be prominent in your thinking. Google Search Console can be a big help, possibly letting you know that the page is being found for searches you didn’t realise were popular.

Headline tips and tricks

Once you’ve begun with what you want the page to be found for, you can begin to see if other tips and tricks can be incorporated. For example, as any headline writer knows, numbers jump out of the page. In web searches, dates are especially good, as people scanning the results want to avoid out-of-date information. So “Fastest blue widget 2019” might have a considerable advantage over “Fastest blue widget”. Or perhaps you could write the title tag like a news headline, such as “3 fast blue widgets lead Blue Widget Co lineup” or “25kHz Blue Widget is fastest on the market in 2019”.

Other techniques include asking a question (e.g. “What is the fastest blue widget in 2019?”), teasers (e.g. “The fastest blue widget revealed”) and calls-to-action (e.g. “Find out the fastest blue widget in 2019 here”). If you can’t put together something more appealing than a label from that lot, I’d be very surprised.

Don’t allow it to get cut short

Finally, how long should the title tag be? Google will actually measure the length of a title in pixels before deciding if it needs to truncate long ones, and tools like Screaming Frog will show you that length if you really want. The consensus among SEO experts though is that 50 to 60 characters is just fine. I tend to list my pages and write my titles in a spreadsheet, so I can use the LEN function. What you don’t want is for the title tag to be too long (and get cut off), as that means crucial information could disappear from the displayed result. Don’t forget that if you’re using a content management system, it could have been set up to force the company name or something like that to be added to your carefully crafted title, so ensure that ‘feature’ is turned off or over-ridden.

If you’re at all stuck, take a look at the existing search results for your targeted terms. This will show you what you’re up against, and will probably give you confidence that you can write something better than the competition.