We talk a lot about the content on your website and how important search engine optimization (SEO) is for helping Google present your information to online searchers. One other SEO element that helps direct searchers to your website is your title tag.
A title tag or title element is the summary of your pages content, much like a headline of a news article it should accurately and concisely convey the page’s content. You probably see them all the time without knowing what they are, when you do a search in Google and it brings back the results, the top line of text linking to that page is the title tag. Think of it as a billboard sign on a highway, you need to convey information in small doses so drivers whizzing by still understand what they just read.
This element is critical to both user experience and SEO, the user wants to know what information they’ll find on that page and the search engines use that tag to make sure they’re presenting the searcher with what they want.
Are title tags new? No, but Google has recently redesigned how it’s displaying website’s title tags in its search results page. Previously, Google would only display up to 65 characters of each title tag but now Google is rendering title tags based on pixel width, a 512 pixel width. In addition, Google increased the Arial font size resulting in fewer characters displaying in the search results. Thankfully, the SEO pros over at Moz tested that if you keep your title tags under 55 characters, you can expect at least 95% of your titles to display properly.
So what can you do?
Our best practices now include keeping title tags under 55 characters, including the targeted phrase, and the brand.
Again, title tags are a quick summary of what’s on that page. You wouldn’t have a title tag with “golf” in it, unless that page is about golf. Remember, Google wants to provide relevant results to its users, trying to trick the system to get more clicks to your website will only hurt your search engine optimization strategy performance.
There is no magical formula that will make sure your title tags are 100% perfect for Google, but by following those best practices you can ensure that Google is searching your website correctly and that users will be happy with what they find. We’re testing our own variations of the title tag format to see what’s working best with this new change.
What are your best practices for optimizing title tags?