What's in a name? How about "money"? That's right, if you want more traffic to (and more leads and money from) your website, then you should care about your title tags. Period. Done. End-o-sentence. Quick refresher - title tags are basically the "name" of a given page, and they're the title you see in Google Search Results. For example, if I search for "power rangers toys", here's what the the title tag for Toys R Us' power rangers page looks like: According to the folks at Moz, title tags are "one of the most important on-page SEO elements". Given that Google gives us only 512 pixels of title tag real estate, it's important that we get it exactly right. Here's how you can make the most of it.
Should My Keywords be in My Title Tag?
In a word, yes. You should make sure that whatever keywords you're targeting with a page are in the title tag of said page. And preferably, they should be placed towards the beginning of the title. But it's important to remember the golden rule of on-page SEO. You should write for people first, and search engines second. So that means that writing a good title tag takes some creativity, because you want to make sure it isn't unintelligible word salad.
Your Title Tag is Your Neon Sign
Your title tag is the most direct way to convey what your page is about and/or what you want your customers to do- whether that flows naturally or not. What does this mean? It means your title tag isn't the place to have flowery prose that shows off your writing chops - it's the place to be precise and accurate so that your audience (and a search engine) understands what your page is about. Think of it this way: "Buy Art Here" isn't something you'd ever say in real life- it's weird, blunt, and unnatural, and it kind of sounds like how a robot would talk if he was trying to sell you art. But if you saw "Buy Art Here" on a sign, it'd make complete sense in that context. You'd immediately know what the store's purpose was, and you'd be able to tell right away if you should go in or not. The same thing applies to title tags.
So with that information in mind, here's my preferred method for writing a killer title tag.
- Identify your keywords: Let's say we want to target "Chicago Art dealer" and "buy art in Chicago" with a given page.
- Use Moz's preview tool: This shows you if your title tag fits in Google's SERPs. Be careful not to stuff too much keyword in there.
- Adjust as needed: Tweak your title tag so it's clear and concise, and optimized without turning into gibberish.
So, to sum things up nicely in a bulleted list:
- Use your exact target keywords in your title tags, always.
- Use your target keywords or close variations in your content, at least once (but not too much).
- Use your target keywords in meta descriptions, but focus more on writing compelling descriptions.
If you have any website updates coming up, it'll be well worth your time to optimize your title tags during the refresh. If you want to learn more about how to update your website without pressing "restart" on your SEO results, check out our e-book.