Website owners and marketers painstakingly focus on developing just the right content for each page. They spend hours perfecting their layout and message but completely neglect the most important ranking factor on each page, the title tag.
The meta title or title tag has been around since the inception of HTML. The title tag is the text that shows in your browser tab and it is the text that typically shows as your headline when someone is searching in Google. This text is incredibly important to your SEO and to your ability to get people to click on your website from the search engine results pages. The title tag is not something that you want to neglect.
After all, there are virtually endless search results for every query a user punches into a search engine. An average user will spend only a few seconds on a search result to determine whether it is important. And the title tag plays an important role in helping him reach that decision. Think of it as the first impression. The title tag is the first glimpse of your web page. If the first impression is good, a user is more likely to click the link and reach your web page. If the title is not appropriately written or sounds boring, the user is likely to bounce off.
The key question here is: how do you get the title tag right? Here are some time-tested hacks to get you started on your way.
Use a Call-to-Action
Call-to-Actions (CTAs) are a proven concept in marketing. They begin with actionable phrases like: get, see, buy, watch, and compare. Psychologically, a call-to-action is more effective in prompting a user to do something. It is also more likely to attract the user to your web page and increase the CTR.
At the same time, a well-crafted and creative CTA can really make your title tag stand out. After all, a user is more likely to click on a title that says ‘Best Prices on the Latest Nikon Camera’ rather than one that reads ‘Nikon Cameras’ or ‘Cameras for Sale.’ To make the most of it, keep the CTA brief and make it relevant to the topic and action of your web page.
Numbers stand out. It is not for nothing that listicles have taken over the web. Numbers attract a user’s attention and sound interesting. For instance, ’10 Ways to Climb a Mountain’ or ‘5 Top Destinations for This Summer’ and ‘3 Ways to Create a Website.’
When you use numbers in your meta title tag, the tag stands out in the search results. This is because our brain chemistry is at work here. Numbers are specific objects and our brain tends to look for specific things. Specific objects are reassuring because you get a sense of certainty. When you read ’10 Ways to Climb a Mountain’, you immediately know what the web page will deliver. This bias results in a better click-through-rate and attracts greater traffic to your web page.
Use the Relevant Keywords
Try to use the relevant keyword phrases at the start of your meta title tag. This immediately reassures the reader that your tag is relevant. Besides, the keyword will appear in bold in Google results. You can couple the right keyword with a call-to-action at the very beginning of the tag.
For instance, if the user is looking for ‘leather sofa upholstery’, you can curate your title with something like ‘Get leather sofa upholstery services.’ This brings both the CTA and the keyword right at the start of the title. The CTA will draw the attention of the user while the search result will show the keyword in bold so that the user knows it is relevant.
Look for Suitable Variants
Not all potential visitors will come to your website by searching the main keyword. Some of them may search other variants and synonyms as well and still see your page in search results.
For instance, if your main keyword is ‘new laptops’, other variants may include ‘affordable notebooks’ or ‘new computing devices.’ You can optimize the meta title tag to include the variants as well. This will rank your title tag slightly higher and make it relevant for a broader audience.
Using the example above, you can create something like ‘Buy New Laptops and Affordable Notebook Computers.’ This effectively brings the main keyword together with two relevant variants in the title tag.
There are many ways to find the most pertinent variants for your main keyword. Tools such as Google Search Console and Google Keyword Planner are easy ways to find variants quickly. Once you identify the right variants, incorporate them creatively into the title tag.
Use the Right Length
When writing a meta title tag, you need to consider its length. If the title is too brief, it is going to be too broad and vague. For instance, a title that simply says ‘Laptops’ signifies nothing. It doesn’t tell a potential visitor whether a website sells laptops, repairs them, or provides reviews about them. A user who sees a vague title like this will quickly move on to other search results.
At the same time, title tags that are too long are equally harmful to your CTR. In the search results, the cut-off length is 60 characters. Titles exceeding this are displayed incompletely in the results. This casts a negative light on your web page and turns away potential traffic. The optimal length for the title tag is 50-60 characters. Within this length, your title tag displays properly in the search results. It also allows you to easily use the keywords, CTAs and other phrases within the title tag.
Since you don’t have an unlimited length for a title tag, it is wise to use it carefully. If you need to shorten it, make sure you include the main keyword at the very least.
Questions are a great way of engaging the curiosity of people searching for your keyword. For instance, if a person is searching ‘paper origins’, he or she may be interested in ‘When was paper first used?’ Similarly, someone looking for ‘Apple smartphones’ may find ‘Why Apple smartphones are better’ which is an attractive title tag.
Questions utilize a vital aspect of online psychology – positive or negative content attracts more attention than neutral content. So a simple tag like ‘Apple smartphones’ is drab and boring whereas something like ‘Why are Apple smartphones better?’ is intriguing and enticing.
Another benefit of using questions in title tags is that you may be featured in the ‘People also ask’ box. This box displays right below the top search result and displays the questions most relevant to a given keyword. If you get featured in the ‘People also ask’ box, you stand to gain more traffic and a better CTR.
There are few hard and fast rules in SEO. This is particularly true for the meta title tag. The hacks provided above are proven ways of driving more traffic and garnering a better CTR. However, not all websites are created equal. And some of these hacks may prove more effective for you than others.
To make the most out of these hacks, you must experiment with them and see which ones work best for you. You can use A/B testing and then quantify the results to determine the ones that deliver the best results in terms of traffic and CTR. With some persistence and patience, you are sure to find the perfect way of optimizing your meta title tags.