Title tags are strong indicators of the page content to search engines. They are also the first thing a potential site visitor sees when viewing the search engine results. To best satisfy both, the same set of best practices can be followed. Before getting into specifics, from a general perspective the title tag should be written to accurately describe what that page’s semantic focus is using relevant keyword, and falls within a range of length while establishing brand awareness. It should be unique but structurally consistent across the website.


  FOCUS Possibly the most important aspect of the title tag is semantic focus and inclusion of a reasonably high-trafficked keyword. Keyword research should have already been performed to identify rankings targets. After filtering down the possible phrase to only those most relevant, pick the one with the most estimated queries. Use this to frame the page title.   LENGTH Search engines provide a character-count range the title tag should fall in. Generally, this is between 30 and 65 characters. This is to maximize the semantic relevance while keeping it digestible and un-truncated in the search engine results. Always keep in mind that at no point should readability be sacrificed for the sake of the search engines. Site visitors should be able to assume the general content of the page simply by the page title.   BRANDING To establish and maintain brand identity/awareness, the title should include the company or business name. This should follow the actual title (the keyword-based description of the page’s content) and be separated by a character such as “|” or “-“. So a typical title will first have 3 – 5 words used to best summarize the page’s content followed by the separating character which is followed by the company or business name. This structure should be consistent across all pages of the website. Here are some examples of title tags based on several types of pages.
  • KWTerm1 KWTerm2 KWTerm3 KWTerm4 | Widgets, Inc.
  • Category Page: Ecommerce Hosting Solutions – HostBadger.biz
  • Product Page: Men’s Game of Thrones T-Shirt | TV-Tees.com
  • Blog Page: How to Jump Start Your Car – AutoHelper
  UNIQUENESS The title tag should be unique across the website, meaning each page/URL has a title that is exclusive to that page and not used for any other. In general, the title should be unique from other page elements such as the meta-description and heading tags.   TESTING From time to time you may want to test your titles to see if rankings or CTR can be improved upon. Before doing so it’s important to establish a baseline with which to compare. Regardless of the KPI the test is aimed to improve, post-update metrics can be compared to pre-test metrics. Remember, if you’ve properly documented the changes it’s easy to change them back if the test led to less than desirable results. Additionally, it’s generally recommended that if the title (or anything) is being tested it should be done so in a stable environment. In other words, unless you have the capability and traffic to track and analyze data from a multivariate test, the title test should occur in the absence of any other tests, regardless of how unrelated you perceive them to be. This ensures that the test results are pure and uninfluenced by any other site/experience variation. Finally, ensure you have enough data to be considered statistically significant. A great tool to confirm this is the A/B Significance Test which provides a simple pass/fail for the statistical significance of a test’s results.