SEO

SEO Basics: How to Write Powerful Title Tags for Traffic Growth

November 11, 2016
SEO Basics: How to Write Powerful Title Tags for Traffic Growth

So you’re saying title tags aren’t the same as blog post titles? I have MORE to worry about?!

Well, faithful blogger, yes and no… Let’s look at the benefits a few little tweaks can have on your traffic growth and rankings.

In most cases your page or post title will be automatically used for the title tag, but you could be missing a big SEO opportunity!

Writing a powerful title tag could mean the difference between being skimmed over versus getting those clicks on social media and search results.

Your target audience is already searching. Help them find your content!

By understanding the small updates you can make for on-page SEO, you can grow your blog traffic and reach more of the right people.

What you’ll learn in this post:

  • What’s a title tag?
  • How is it different from the title of a blog post?
  • Where title tags are displayed and where to edit them in WordPress and Squarespace
  • Why title tags are important
  • Tips for writing powerful title tags for click throughs
  • How to manually write title tags in WordPress
  • What to do if your Squarespace template doesn’t allow different title tags

What’s a title tag? How is it different from a blog post title?

A title tag tells search engines what your webpage is about.

It tells people what your page is about when they see the result in a search engine. People will decide whether to click on your link based on your title tag and meta description (which we’ll get into later).

It’s often considered the most important piece of on-page optimization.

Depending on the platform you’re using, your blog post title or landing page title might be automatically used as your title tag, but they don’t have to be the same. You can add extra information to your title tag that might not work well in your blog post title. (see examples below)

Where Your Title Tag is Displayed
  1. Browser Tab
  2. Search Engine Results Page
  3. External Websites (such as in Facebook link preview text)
How Your Blog Title Tag Displays in Browser Tab

Title Tag in Browser Tab

 

title tags in search

Title Tags in Search

 


Pssst… Would you rather get step-by-step video instructions & cheat sheets? Click here.

How to Write Powerful Title Tags
  • Make your tags easy to read for humans first, then consider the search engines. After all, search engines rank the links, but humans click on them!
  • The title tag should be 65 characters max, but ideally more like 45-62, including spaces and any punctuation.
  • Keep your most important target keywords toward the front of the tag.
  • Including your location is a great idea even if you’re an international online-only store. This way you have a better chance of showing up in regular results and local results.
  • It’s a good habit to include your company name at the end of your title tag, but not as important as your topic. A lot of blog themes will automatically add your blog title to the title tag, so be careful not to add it twice.
  • Do NOT duplicate your title tags. First, this is confusing for Google. Second, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to optimize!
  • It’s a best practice to use pipes | to separate topics in your title tag rather than dashes, commas, periods or other punctuation.

Do not keyword stuff!

Example of a Bad, Keyword Stuffed Title Tag: Lose Weight with Health Coaching | Weight Loss, Fat Loss, Health Coach, Cleanse, Detox

First, you don’t need to repeat your keywords. Second, fitting as many related keywords as you can makes the page look spammy and won’t help you rank well.

Good Landing Page Title Tag Examples:

  • Health Coaching for Patients With Chronic Illness
  • Integrative Health Coach | Los Angeles California | Jane Smith
    • This is a great homepage tag. It explains what, where and who.

Hint: Go straight to the source! Google your topic and see what’s showing up first in the results.

How to Enter a Title Tag in WordPress

Make your life easier and download the WordPress SEO by Yoast plugin.

Under the text editor for the blog post you’ll see a box for the plugin. It will automatically pull your blog post title as the title tag, but you can manually create a new one.

Yoast WordPress Plugin Title Tags

For the blog post pictured above, I’ve replaced the automated blog post title “SEO Basics: How to do Keyword Research + 3 Free Tools” with a title tag that includes the focus keyword phrase at the beginning. I’ve also included WHO this post is for.

Since I’m using the Yoast plugin in WordPress, this won’t affect the blog post title.

If you use Blogger, SquareSpace or another website option, there are still options to enter a title tag.

Creating Effective Title Tags in Squarespace

In Squarespace, your page title and blog post title are most likely going to be the same as your title tag. It depends on which template you’re using, of course, but let’s just consider how to make the most of your title in the case you’re not able to make them different.

Your best bet is to make sure you’re using a strong, share-worthy title that includes your focus keyword phrase. Still try to use the phrase toward the beginning of your title if possible, but don’t make it awkward just to do so.

No matter which platform you’re using, you should run your headline ideas through CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer Tool first! It’s a free tool that’ll help you improve SO much. I use it for blog post titles AND email subject lines.

How to Enter a Title Tag Manually Using HTML

<title>What You Want to Display Goes Here </title>

But with website and blogging platforms like WordPress, chances are, you’ll never need to use HTML!

 


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  • Bryan Robert Thompson February 4, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Danielle,

    I’m Bryan. I recently started up a new blog and have been looking to connect with other bloggers. And it appears we write about a lot of similar things. I’ve used a few different SEO plugins – Yoast was one I used for a while, but I’ve recently gone back to All-In-One. Which do you like better? Just curious.

    • Dzeigler February 4, 2015 at 3:21 pm

      Hey Bryan, I’ve used both, but am using Yoast right now. I do a lot of my on-page stuff manually, so either one works for me. As you may have noticed, my plugin is not playing well with my theme right now, though. My title tags are all screwed up. I’m doing a redesign, so I’ve left it alone for now. Anyway, what made you decide to switch? I’ve heard a few people mention switching too, so I’m curious! Thanks for commenting…I’ll definitely check out your site!

  • She Rocks Fitness February 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Good to know…After reading this, I went to my blog to make sure I had this installed and I surprisingly did, but I now I know how it truly works…Thanks for the easy to understand post for us “computer illiterate” folks. 😉

    • Dzeigler February 9, 2015 at 6:32 pm

      I’m so glad to hear it helped!

  • Shela Yount | I Answer to Mom November 9, 2016 at 11:50 am

    This was ridiculously helpful! I’ve been trying to figure out how to best use my Yoast plugin for months. Thank you for this info!! 😀

    • Dzeigler November 9, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      I’m so happy to hear it was helpful! The prompts Yoast gives for all areas of on-page SEO are super helpful. Definitely my favorite plugin!

  • Bron Watson November 15, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for the valuable information, this is an area I definitely need to learn more about. Thanks again!

  • Nisha // diywptips.com November 18, 2016 at 1:14 am

    This is so useful, Danielle. I had in my head that they were different things but wasn’t actively using them!

    Great tips,
    Nisha

    • Dzeigler November 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm

      I’m glad it helped you! Keep me updated if you see progress with tweaking them to be a little different 🙂