When you type in a query on Google, it aims to match you with the most relevant page. There are hundreds of signals that search engine algorithms use to determine whether a page appears as the first result. The website title is one of the most important.
It is through the website title you communicate to both users and search engines what a page is about. Writing a good website title ensures you’re providing a search engine with the information it needs to determine the relevance of your page and where it should appear for any given search query.
Let’s say you search “outsource writing“. When you search for this query, you’re intent is to find a place where you can outsource writing. That’s what Google shows.
It’s no a coincidence that a very similar word is found in the website title of this top-ranking page.
A website title (title tag) is an HTML tag that signifies the title of a page. Website titles help users understand what a web page is about before clicking on it. Website titles also help search engines understand the relevance of a specific page in search results so it can appear for the correct search query.
As code, a website title tag appears on an HTML or XHTML document in the head tag.
Here is a snippet of this.
<title> Website Title </title>
A website title is important for users so that they can accurately judge what to expect before clicking on a specific page in SERPs. If a website title is misleading, and the content on the page differs from what’s ‘advertised’ on the title, this will lead to people quickly leaving the page, and in turn, search algorithms will disfavor a page that this even occurs frequently on.
If a website title accurately represents what’s on a page and uses similar keywords to what people are searching for in a compelling manner, then people will click on the page. Given the content on the page is relevant and valuable, people will stay on the page, and engage with it. With more engagement, search engine algorithms will favor the page in search results.
Make no mistake, website titles aren’t all about keywords. A good website title also follows copywriting best practices to ensure it captures a user’s attention and compels them to click on the page. This leads to more clicks and visits to your website.
The ideal website title length is between 50 to 60 characters. This length is good because your title won’t get truncated in search results, and secondly, because concise titles are generally more specific and descriptive. It’s all good to go out of this range (e.g 45-65), if you have to but try to stay within it.
If you take a look at search results, it’s rare to see titles in capital letters ranking high. There isn’t necessarily something ‘wrong’ with capital letters—it’s a matter of readability. People are simply more used to title case for website title tags, so there’s no need to change the status quo as it likely won’t foster better results.
Including your focus keyword in your title, ideally at the beginning, is a good idea. You don’t necessarily need to include your focus keyword verbatim if it sounds unnatural. Google is sophisticated enough to understand that a variation means the same thing. Just aim to keep it as close as possible to your focus keyword.
Including secondary keywords naturally in your title is good practice. For example, the focus keyword of this article is ‘website title’, and a secondary keyword is ‘what is a website title’. This makes ‘what is a website title’ an ideal keyword to use in the title, as it combines both and appeals correctly to the search intent of users.
While the strategic use of keywords in a website title is important, stuffing keywords is counterproductive. If your focus keyword is ‘best keto recipes’, an example of a good title is “10 Tasty Keto Recipes That are Easy to Make”. An example of a bad title would be something like “10 Keto Recipes (Top Keto Recipes)”. Even though “top keto recipes” is a relevant keyword, it’s unnecessary to include it.
Keywords aren’t enough. At the end of the day, your website titles are for people, not search engines, and they have to be compelling enough for people to want to click on them. This is where it becomes an art, just as much as a science. Be sure to write your title in a way that resonates with your audience, while simultaneously making it clear to search engines which queries the page should appear for.
Include your brand name in your website title. This helps for general brand recognition and awareness. Usually, this will automatically happen, but you can ‘force’ it by adding it in the settings of your SEO plugin or website builder you’re using. We recommend using “- BRAND NAME” or “| Brand Name” as these dividing symbols take up less space.
The H1 heading is the title on the page itself, rather than the title tag set for search engines. If you don’t set a title tag, your H1 heading will automatically be used as your website title. If you want, you can write a different H1 heading in order to make it more compelling. This isn’t compulsory. It’s fine for your H1 heading and website title to be the same.
You shouldn’t have duplicate titles across your website. Every page should target a different focus keyword. It’s OK to have “German Translation Services” as one website title, and “Korean Translation Services” as another, even though they both contain “translation services”, because they are for different languages. Just make sure you don’t have multiple page titles targeting the same focus keyword.
Your website title should accurately reflect what’s found on your page. Unlike social media where ‘clickbait’ can work for getting shares, a website title that is inaccurate will ultimately harm your SEO efforts. Write the title in a way that compels users to click, but doesn’t mislead. Your audience should land on your page and get what they came for.
Here are five good examples of website titles that adhered to best practices and are performing well in search engines.
1. How to Lose Weight Fast: 3 Simple Steps, Based on Science
2. The 16 Best Online Business Ideas (Low-Cost to Start)
3. How to Make Your Own Perfume DIY Signature Scents
4. 10 Places to Find Blog Writers for Hire
5. How Can You Find Surcharge-Free ATMs?
Writing great website titles is an essential part of creating content that ranks well in search engines and is often overlooked as being a ‘minor’ factor when it comes to improving search engine positioning. Poorly written website titles won’t get clicked on, and if they do, people won’t stay.
Taking the time to write website titles correctly will engage users and help search engines understand where your content belongs. This will improve your click-through-rates and give your content the best possible chance of ranking high in SERPs.