Title Tag Uniqueness
Your page titles should also be unique for every page.
A lot of people mess this up if they’re doing back-end engineering for a web application and they’re writing titles that are static across all their pages.
This isn’t good.
A lot of eCommerce content management systems also do this poorly. For example, they’ll scale out a bunch of category pages that use the exact same title. That’s not good, either.
Rule of thumb here is that every URL should have a unique title tag and it should be about the topic of that page.
That’s really all there is to it.
Title Tag Copywriting
Finally, you write for humans.
I can’t tell you how bad I messed this up when I first got into Search Engine Optimization.
People get really excited about SEO and they just overdo it. They really try to reverse engineer everything that Google’s looking for, and they try and jam as many important keywords into their title tag as possible.
You don’t need to do this.
More importantly, what you want to keep in mind is that your end users are humans. Yes, it’s really good to keep in mind what Google’s looking for, but at the end of the day, it’s a person that’s going to decide whether or not they want to click that result – and keyword stuffing is highly unlikely to help with that.
Writing compelling titles is more important than trying to think what Google might prefer.
Come at it from an editorial perspective. Come at it from a content marketing perspective. Ask yourself what would compel a person to click on your title.
Yes, of course, get the primary keyword in there. Yes, do all the things we’re about to talk about in this post—but, ultimately, make sure you do read it out loud.
Maybe even show it to a couple people. Take a look at it in the results yourself.
Don’t just jam all your keywords in there.
Write for humans. Make it compelling, and keep the click-through rate in mind because, ultimately, even if you write a great title tag for search engines (be it Google, Bing, or any other search engine), if users are disgusted by it and they’re not going to click, that’s a massive component of the ranking equation.
If users don’t click your result when shown in Google, you’ll start to drop down in rankings.
How to Write Click-Worthy Title Tags
Since we were discussing writing for humans, I would also like to share with you a couple of tips to help you write click-worthy title tags:
Use Power Words
I think this was popularized by BuzzFeed.
The basic idea here is there’s a handful of words that you can use to really get people intrigued. Use curiosity, stir up emotion, and compel people to click.
Try and differentiate yourself from some of the other results.
Sumo has a massive list of power words you should check out if you need inspiration.
Use numbers and brackets
This is super popular now as well. Using a number and ending your title tag in parentheses or brackets seems to be very helpful with click-through rates (or at least on our site).
I can’t really explain it, but numbers and brackets seem to work.
Indicate the month or the year when the content was updated
Month is tough to do because you really need to be updating your content a lot (or you need to write some backend engineering to do this for you).
All in all, if users get a signal that this content is fresh, they’re generally compelled to click—and this can increase your click-through rates.
For example, Trip Advisor does a great job with this. I competed with them and they’re really good at using the current month in their title tags.
The easiest way to pull this off one is by using the year you’re currently in. You’ll have to go back and update once a year, but if you’re using the current year in your title tag, it’s a great 80/20 for “this is fresh content”.
Optimizing the Title Tag
Just as a reminder, title tags are used in a couple of places:
The search engine results pages. As you scan Google, all the blue links you see are generally populated by title tags webmasters have put in (and underneath, you will see a meta description for each of these web pages).