Title Tags Decoded: Creating Title Tags that work
So you have taken the brave step towards building your blog and managed to publish your first couple of articles.
The problem with newbies when starting out is the misconception of creating content and thinking that traffic is going to pour in.
In reality, there are so much more involved when optimizing your content. From an SEO perspective, there is research that gets done for keyword targeting, content promotion, on page SEO factors and more.
Now let’s say you have done this. What now! This is where data comes into play to show you what works and what doesn’t, and if we assume that you have created great content all that is really required is getting it in front of people.
Before you give up on this topic thinking that you have the just of it. Hear me out!
The power of creating the correct intention based on your headline has the potential of being your magic sauce and the same the same applies to your title tags.
To better understand this. Think of it this way.
The google Serp is you putting your information out to billions of users and you waiting for a click. Like sending an email Newsletter to all your Subscribers, clicks in this arena are dependent on the headline.
If your Title can cut through peoples short attention spans you win. It is that simple.
Remember that in Google your content should always serve an intention and while everything about getting clicks are cool. We do not want to create click-bate in Google because this will not help your rankings at all.
In short. Create content and Titles that are relatable and that solves a problem
So let’s start with this:
What is a title tag?
Title tags are the headlines you find on the SERP (search engine results page)
The title tag for this website is “The 21 Best Bakeries in America – Thrillist”
This is what gets displayed in the SERP (search engine results page). Hence the reason why it is so important to have this optimized.
Ranking in Google is based on many factors.
One important signal is click-through rates. This is your page ranking based on the number of clicks it gets in the SERPs and peoples behavior on the page.
Stay with me!
Think about it this way, if Google sees people are clicking through to your article more often then everyone else’s articles in the SERP and they stay on that page without bouncing.
Naturally, you would have a better chance of ranking because the behavior suggests that your content serves a purpose.
Now title tags come with Meta Descriptions and yes, They do help, but I am a firm believer in focusing on Title tags as I feel that it is more important.
My personal preference is that if the content cannot serve the Meta description on the page naturally, then yes you can go and optimize it.
Remember though that an optimized description is way more useful when shared on social media sites.
But if you writing great content this should hardly ever be the case.
Things that are important to consider when creating Title tags are:
Although I’m in a limbo between the importance of keywords and how long it will stay important. This is largely due to AI taking over search results and making strides on user intention and what queries mean. (This is a topic for another day)
For now, my stance is. Yes, keyword research does hold weight, however, I see this changing as AI takes over. But for the purpose of this topic. Keyword research matters.
Why is keyword research important.
Simply put. To determine how profitable and popular a specific interest group is. This also allows you to determine how important it is to fit the intention and problem you solving.
Placement of Keywords in your Title
As AI grows and learns how to interpret queries. Yes, it is easy to say place the keyword in your Title in order to rank.
While doing this is good practice always remember you are creating content for humans.
Title tag format
There are tons of bad advise about this out their and some people have tested their theories.
There is always one factor that will stay at the center when it comes to search. “Create content for humans”
Examples of title tag formats I have seen
- Clear blue oceans | The watch
- Clear | Blue Oceans | The watch
- The watch | clear blue oceans
- Clear | Blue | Oceans | The watch
The first in my opinion would be preferred title tag as it is more human-friendly.
How do you add a title tag?
If you adding you’re and you have an HTML boilerplate site. The title will go in between the title tags in your HTML. See example below:
If you have a WordPress website. The best plugin I can recommend to this for you is Yoast SEO.
Using this plugin to add title tags are simple:
Install the plugin.
1. Go to Plugins > Add New.
2. Search for Yoast SEO
3. Click on the install now button
4. Select activate
Adding the title.
If you go to your post or page that you would like to add it to you will see the yoast plugin section that allows you to edit the title and meta description.
How can you optimize a title tag?
You want your title tag to be descriptive but you also want it to focus on your referring keyword.
We can further optimize it when thinking about the problem you looking at solving. This is done by making your title question-based.
Adding a call to action in your title tags to allow users to take the step of clicking on it.
If talking about 5 ways to do a specific action then use the numbers in your title. Listicles has had great success online.
You will start to get the picture that it is all based on intention.
There are many tricks to getting your titles correct.
Remember it is always important to look at the data. In essence, you need a practitioner approach to really win and find out what works for you.
Keywords are important as it allows you segment your audience and popularity of your topic.
Base your topics on user intention.
Turn this into a strategy for the perfect title. Test the data remove what doesn’t work, repeat.
This may come as a challenge but with only a few people running these tests you are bound to succeed.
About Rudi Van Der Westhuizen
He is a Digital Marketer with a comprehensive background in SEO, UX and Front-end development. Most of his time is split between his blog and day job “The Grow Theory” where he shares his journey through digital with helpful guides and tips on growing businesses online.