6 rules for a perfect title tag

SEO: 6 rules for a perfect title tag

The first element of contextualization seen by search engines but also by users is the meta title tag, essential for good positioning and good indexing of their pages.

Optimizing your web content for natural referencing means acting specifically on the title tag of your pages. An essential SEO action for two reasons:

  • First, it’s the title you give to the engines. For them, it’s the first clue that gives the first signals and elements of contextualization to understand what the page is about. It contributes to the indexing and positioning of a page in web requests.
  • Second, it is also the title used by the search engines when displaying search results. It is therefore one of the first elements seen by users looking for an answer to a query. A well thought-out title has a significant impact on the click-through rate (CTR) of your pages.

As I’m sure you understood, the title tag is essential if you want to promote understanding of your page to both search engines and users. Proper implementation is part of a variety of other on-page and off-page actions you can take to improve your web visibility. Every SEO wants to write the perfect title. There are a number of best practices for doing this. Here are a few that, if you follow them, should give you a quick boost to your page’s visibility.

1. One page, 1 title, 1 keyword

In SEO, we optimize a page for just one keyword or key phrase. It’s not about putting as many keywords as possible in the title. On the contrary, your page’s keyword or main phrase must be in a good place. Preferably at the beginning of your title to ensure it is considered and has weight to read. The title tag is a hot area of ​​your page where you absolutely must put your keyword! If you still have space, you can also insert a secondary keyword or two to start introducing the semantic universe in which your page will move. Your tag should be unique and show that the page content is original.

2. Between 50 and 65 characters including spaces

They must be precise and concise as there is not enough space on the results page (SERP) within the display areas. The challenge is to say enough to be descriptive, but just enough so that your title doesn’t get cut off in the ad. A title that is too long and this is important information that is not visible to users. A title that is too short means that the available space is not being used to make your title tag more meaningful and attractive. Studies show that your title should ideally be between 50 and 60 characters long, although 65 is considered the maximum. When choosing words, many SEO observers speak of 10-12 words. There are no written rules. Only recommendations, since everything depends on the space your characters and words occupy in the display area.

3. Respect the 512 pixels of space available for display

The notion of available space is important because Google thinks in pixels as well as character count. In fact, 512 pixels are reserved for the titles in the serp. Your title must be within this limit, regardless of the number of characters. In addition, it will be truncated even if you have used the recommended number of characters. Do not hesitate to use an online tool to simulate the playback of your title in the serp to check that it is displayed correctly.

4. Customize your title tag and H1

The consistency of your content is crucial. Once your title tag has been read, search engines will access other elements of your page to analyze the content. The H1 title present in the editorial part of your page is one of those signals that help analyze the content. It’s even one of those that carry the most weight with the title tag. Numerous studies show that having a title tag and an H1 title close—but not identical—helps establish consistency in your content. All of this reinforces your choice of title tag, and therefore your desire to be consistent with the description.

5. Descriptive text and incentive to click

As we have seen, the title has a double purpose. Talk to engines, but also to users. To do this, it must offer clear content in order to position the page well, but also encourage clicks. It’s a good balance to find depending on the role of the site. The Justice of the Peace: The click-through rate, which search engines monitor to find out if they have correctly positioned and served your content to users. A number of best practices in this area can help you make your titles more attractive:

  • Integrate attractive and relevant data and commercial arguments.
  • Don’t hesitate to highlight a long-tail keyword and product variants
  • If your page’s topic includes a notion of temporality, mention it to indicate to search engines that your content is up to date
  • A title in the form of a question is a good way to indicate what the page is about and to answer specific user queries.
  • Whenever possible, use numbers to make your title more accessible. Users digest this type of information better.
  • Using capital letters at the beginning of each important word makes it more visible and catches the eye.
  • If possible, place your company name in your title. Best at the end.
  • Finally, put yourself in the users’ shoes and write your title for them and the type of search they are likely to do.

6. Pay attention to punctuation and separation with precise typographical elements

Punctuation is highly recommended if you want a catchy title. An exclamation point or question mark makes your title more dynamic and attractive. So you can concentrate on the essentials.

There seem to be implicit rules regarding the typographical characters used (elements that should not be neglected), although there is no significant recommendation. A hyphen, parentheses, parentheses, or even the colon… The typography used to indicate a split is more or less a matter of personal preference.

However, a recent study showed that your choice may not be entirely trivial. Zippy, a company that markets an SEO audit tool, recently examined over 81,000 title tags. The study showed that Google rewrites over 61% of them!

The typography used seems to play its part, as the study also showed that the algorithm tended to replace or eliminate the use of the vertical bar or tube ” | ” more than 40% of the time. On the other hand, using the hyphen seems to be an accepted practice by Google, as less than 20% of titles containing hyphens have been changed.

And if you’ve gotten into the habit of using parentheses versus parentheses to emphasize a word: change your habit! Zippy’s study shows that 77% of the time, Google replaced the parentheses and 32% of the time even removed the words in parentheses entirely! Difficult once we’ve inserted our main keyword…

7. What not to do when writing a title tag

The 6 rules or best practices highlighted above indicate a certain number of things that should not be done if you want optimized title tags. Here are a few :

  • Leave the title tag blank.
  • Use generic words or phrases like “home”, “profile”
  • Don’t use your brand name
  • The same title tag on different pages of your site.
  • Using too many keywords (keyword stuffing)
  • A title tag that is too short or too long
  • Use a tag that doesn’t match the content of the page
  • lack of precision
  • Not knowing the search query or targeted keyword for a page
  • Avoid too many “stop words” like the articles “the”, “the”, “your” which unnecessarily waste your space

Does the perfect title tag exist? Regardless of what best practices you follow when writing your title tag, be aware that it can certainly be changed and replaced by Google’s algorithm. In fact, as seen above, many studies show that Google changes your tags more than half the time. Why ? Because the algorithm simply finds that its own are more relevant and better represent what’s on the page. Also, your choice of title tag is just a hint you give to the algorithm. The latter does not have to agree with you!

LThe page dedicated to the title tag in Google Search Console does not evade the subject, quite the opposite: “We use various sources to automatically determine the title link, but you can indicate your preferences..

In autumn 2021, the first effects of a Google update from August 2021 called “Title Gate” were analyzed. This is where the SEO community realized how much Google was doing, ignoring the hints of automatically generating titles themselves. A study at the time even showed that more than 77% of the titles were changed by Google and replaced with other elements of the page that were deemed more relevant.

Should we stop worrying about the title tags of our pages? Absolutely not ! Because if on the user side the opinion of SEOs seems to count less and less in the eyes of Google, which knows better what internet users are looking for, on the search engine side on the other hand it is still just as important to indicate what our pages are about goes, and ensure the relevance and consistency of the information provided throughout the site for proper positioning and indexing.

The title tag is just one of the many elements available for you to send signals to the algorithm. Other “hot spots” on the page should be optimized such as the H1 title and Hn structure, the bold words, the anchor texts of links, the alt tags of images, etc.

The more the “hot spots” of your text match your title tag – itself well implemented and attractive – the more Google will find your title relevant to the content of the page and will be inclined to present it accordingly in the serps. user requests.

Of course, if these have been identified beforehand… but that’s another topic of SEO optimization.

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