Home/SEO Guide/On-page/Title tag: the ultimate guide to optimizing it for your SEO

The Title tag, or meta title, is a key element when establishing an efficient SEO strategy. Indeed, this tag is a primordial optimization field which will allow you to maximize your chances of being well positioned on search engines such as Google.

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The Title tag in a nutshell!

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Title tag definition

The Title tag is the "title" tag of the HTML encoding which allows a web page to be given a title. You can see its content on the top of a web page, at the tab name.

definition title tag

Why is the Title tag important in SEO?

The Title tag describes a web page’s content. This description will send a signal to search engines on the topic this page is about. Thus, the search engine robot will be able to correctly index, evaluate and position the web page. The title is listed on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP), and therefore gives users valuable information on whether to click on your website.

title-tag-women-shoes

Tag title: How to optimize it for SEO?

The 3 main criteria of the Title tag to keep in mind are:

    • The Keywords: The tag must contain the main keyword of your request. On the request “women's shoes” below, we can see that all the results of the first page put this keyword within the “title” tag and at the beginning of the title.
    • The Size: The tag should be 10 to 12 words long, and no longer than 65 characters, otherwise Google may cut it. For example, look at the 2nd link in the image below, corresponding to LLOYS’s brand link, where we can see that Google has replaced some content with "...".
    • The Attractiveness: Does Google sense the attractiveness of your Title tag? No, it only takes into account the number of clicks. Indeed, it is the well-known "Click Through Rate" (CTR), more commonly called "the click rate", which Google will be interested in. The aim will be to make Internet users want to click on the page displayed in the search results. In the image below, we can see that KLEMAN shows us that they’re selling “Women’s Workwear Shoes” & “French Leather Shoes”. LLOYD is telling us that they have "Women’s Shoes & Accessories for the Discerning”. And VIONIC UK tells us that they offer “Stylish & Comfortable Shoes for Women”. In other words, many reasons to make you want to click!
title-tag-serp-example

Useful recommendations for optimizing your Title tag

Here are some tips that will help you captivate audiences and increase clicks on search result pages:

  • Put yourself in the shoes of an Internet user who makes a request.
  • Distinguish the needs and issues of the request.
  • Promote your key arguments related to the request.
  • Include punctuation to energize your title.
  • Integrate your business data.

Example: “Cheap shoes: benefit from -50% on all products!”

Above, we said that the tag had to be attractive. One trick that works well for this is to use this kind of vocabulary:

  • “The best...” Vietnamese bo buns in Paris
  • "Top 10 of…” the best Vietnamese bo buns
  • "All about..."

This allows you to position yourself on the "long tail" versions of your main keyword, and to be attractive, to make the user want to click on your link!

Tag Title: How to set it up?

In order to create or modify the tag, all you need to do is go to the HTML code of your page and go to the "head" tag which corresponds to the header of the HTML document.

title tag seo smartkeyword

But most of the time, if you are using a CMS (Content Management System), you just need to modify it in the graphical interface.

  • Here is an example on WordPress:

tag title seo title

Title tag : Mistakes to avoid

In this section, we will discuss the techniques for detecting and correcting title tag errors.

The first step is to locate the title tags present on your website. During an audit, a crawler is used to locate all URLs and their tags.
It is also possible to use other means:

  • Using a seo extension: allows you to see the tag when you're on the page
  • By consulting the source code of the page (right click -> display the source code, then search for "title").

However, these 2 solutions have a significant drawback: they allow on-the-fly consultation on a page, and not a complete listing of the whole site.

Case 1: Missing tags

Let's analyze the pages that do not contain a title tag.

- If there is none: so much the better, there is nothing to do
- If there are any: locate the number and type of page(s) concerned:

  • If these are pages to be de-indexed (shopping cart, etc.), verify that they are de-indexed or proceed to de-index them.
  • If these are low interest pages, like the T&Cs or the recruiting page, add a title for clarity, although it won't have a direct impact on your SEO.
  • If these are pages supposed to bring SEO traffic: you must quickly add a title tag optimized according to SEO rules.

Case 2: Duplicate tags

Let's move on to the duplicate title tags. As a reminder, you should never have 2 duplicate Title tags on your site, because this is either a sign of duplicate pages, or of several pages targeting a single keyword, which goes against the page and the site’s SEO strategy.

- If there is none: so much the better, there is nothing to do
- If there are any: locate the number and type of page(s) concerned:

    • If these are product pages with variants (color, size, etc.): we advise you to specify in the Title the unique variant for this product. If there is no SEO interest in this variant (if nobody is looking for such a precise request), we even advise you to delete the page and redirect it to a single product page which concentrates all the "useless" variants in SEO. But it all depends on your technical / CMS architecture.
    • If these are paginated pages: we recommend that you change the title to put "page 2" / "page 3". More detail in this article.
    • If these are pages that are supposed to be different: then just edit the title tags to be more specific. If you have "real estate agency + city" pages, specify the city in the title and not just "real estate agency".
    • If these are duplicate pages, in other words, multiple existing URLs that display exactly the same content, then this is probably a technical issue that needs to be fixed. To do so, choose the one that is meshed in the site (= receives links within the site) and do a 301 redirect from the wrong URL to the right one + remove all internal links made at the duplicate URL. Example:

tag-title-choose-page-mesh

3 pages for car park rental in Angers: there is probably only one page which is linked in the menu and the navigation => choose it.

Another example:

balise-title-choice-url

Here, we see that the French blog page exists on 2 URLs: with and without the “/”. If this is the case on 2 or 3 URLs that you have spotted, then it is probably for the whole site => then check with your technical team, choose a version, and redirect in 301 the bad one to the good one for all URLs on the website.

Case 3: Tags that are too long

As a reminder, the Title tag must not exceed 65 characters, otherwise it is truncated by the search engines, which can affect the click rate of the page on the given keyword.

In that case, we recommend that you use the tags to shorten them, except for pages of no SEO interest (T&C, recruitment, etc.).

Case 4: Tags too short

It would be unfortunate to have short title tags, since this is THE on-page tag the engine sees first. Sometimes changing this tag is enough to gain a lot of positions.

We recommend that you go through and change all the title tags that are under 30 characters, in order to flesh them out with rich semantics for the keyword concerned.

Now you know how to analyze and correct your Title tags! Let's move on to the next point. 🙂

Every page on your website should have a unique "title" tag, so each title should match a specific query that a user could search for on Google. This is the reason why we often say "a web page" = "a keyword".

What's next ?

Now that your Title tag is optimized with Smartkeyword, let's move on to optimizing the meta description tag.

   Article written by Louis Chevant

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