8 Tips to Tantalizing Title Tags

Last week I mentioned some important page elements that small business owners should focus on to improve the SEO and findability of their content. Today I want to focus on one of the most important page elements of them all – the Title tag– and a few things small business owners can do to maximize this tag and get the biggest benefit from both users and the search engines. It turns out a little tweaking can make all the difference.

Below are eight tips to help you write absolutely tantalizing Title tags. Feel free to share your own tips below.

  • Use branding: When users are on your site, you want them to know they’re on your site. Constantly reinforcing this can go a long way in helping you to build your brand. One way to do this is to include your site/company name in the Title tag of each of your pages so that users are constantly seeing it. This keeps your company name top of mind as users navigate and become familiar with your Web site and burns it into their brain. Remember, people buy based on brand. You want to make sure you’re building and reinforcing yours whenever you can.
  • Utilize important keyword phrases: You’ve done your keyword research. Each page on your Web site has a purpose and exists to address the queries that your customers are most often searching for. And one place you want to incorporate those keywords is in your page-specific Title tags. Not only will this help your pages rank in the search engines, but it will also help to increase the number of users clicking through to your Web site. You may have noticed that when you search, the search engines will highlight the phrases that you used that also appear in a site’s listing. When a user sees their search terms bolded, it acts a signal that your page is relevant to them and increases the chance that they’ll click through.
  • Pay attention to length: Your Title tag is the headline of your page. As such, it has to be short. The maximum character length for a Title tag is 70 characters. Beyond that, the search engines will cut off your Title and use an ellipsis to cover the rest. As a result, you want to make sure you’re keeping your Title’s under 70 characters.
  • Use keywords early in your Title tag: Whenever possible, try and place keywords toward the beginning of your Title tag. Obviously you want to avoid having them cut off, but it’s also believed that the earlier a keyword appears in a Title, the more likely it is that a searcher’s eye will notice it when they’re scanning the search results. Give them prime placement.
  • Use separators to enhance readability: By using hyphens (“-“), arrows (“>”) and pipes (“|”) in your Title tags, it allows you to break up the text to increase readability for users. For example, [Keyword | Company Name > City, State] can help you target a number of important Title tag components without sacrificing readability. By using separators it ensures that searchers can still easily parse the information.
  • Think like Cosmo: As mentioned earlier, you should think of your Title tag as the headline for your page. It’s what a user will first see when they come across your listing in the search results. With that in mind, you want to make it as informative and engaging as possible, without allowing it to run on for miles. Take some care to work Titles so that they’re sexy enough that someone would want to click on it to find out more.
  • Think about intent: If you want someone to click on your listing, then you have to match their intent and work that into your Title tag. Are they looking for information? Are they looking to buy? Are they looking to perform a certain action or download something? Whatever their intent is, your Title tag has to match it in a way that would entice them to make the click. You can’t sell to someone who never reaches your page.
  • Be consistent: Once you create a system for how you want your Title tags to look – stick with it. Making it uniform will teach people how to find information on your Web site and work to build your brand.

Those are eight tips from me to help people create better Title tags. What tips do you swear by?


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

3 Reactions
  1. As a PPC guy, I’m used to writing titles for ads that are only 25 characters long and are tasked with getting the click. If you’re doing PPC I would recommend testing potential copy as PPC ads or using your best-performing PPC titles as page titles. Since the title tag will be the headline of your organic listing, go for something that has been proven to get the click.

  2. I’m with Robert – test with PPC. The 4 Hour Workweek author came up with his book title by running PPC ads to test. Great way to crowdsource your titles at a low cost.

    As you know, Lisa, most companies put their name or company brand first in their description, but search engines appear to weight the first part of the sentence/phrase or at the very least — that’s what shows up first in the search results. I used to lead with my co name, but now my title reads like this:

    Improving Website Sales and Increasing Traffic | Sales Rescue Team

    When I pop up in a search result, they’ll see that first. I’m not saying it hits Robert’s good suggestion, but its better than a co name that few have heard of and that doesn’t tell the story.