Optimization of the title tag for SEO?

The text displayed in the TITLE tag is a text that does not appear in the content of a web page. On the other hand, it can be seen in the top bartool of most web browsers such as Firefox or Internet Explorer.

This text is also often used by search engines in their SERP in order to compose a snippet. The Internet user will therefore be able to take this text into account before clicking on the link in the results page.

However, Google is completely free to display or not the content of this tag. It can, for example, replace your TITLE with the name of your website. Usually, Google tends more to replace the long TITLE rather than the short ones. It also modifies frequently the display depending on the key phrase typed by the internaut.

It is a very important 'on page' element in the context of the optimization of a website's SEO. It is preferable to fill in this tag in a personalized way on all the pages of a website. But cutomizing a TITLE is not enough pour to rank on competitive queries.

Unlike a lot of people think, the TITLE tag is not part of the "meta tags".

It is really necessary to customize and optimize all the TITLE tags of the important pages of a website.

Number of words and characters in the TITLE tag

Traditionally, it is recommended not to exceed 65 characters in a TITLE. In spite of it, some tests have shown that Google was capable of reading more than 100 characters.

In general, a perfect title has about sixty characters which means 6 to 10 words.

Indeed, the limit is counted in pixels (about 600) so that Google can display the entire TITLE in the SERPs without truncating it.

Differences between mobile and desktop must be taken into consideration, too…

Dilution of keywords in the TITLE

Why not systematically use 100 characters or more in the TITLE? Simply because the more words you put, the more the impact for each word will be decreased. Let's take the two following examples:

  • <title>SEO tutorial </title>
  • <title>A great SEO Tutorial, everything about Google and the SEOs secrets </title>

The title tag number 1 would probably be more optimized on the key phrases 'SEO Tutorial' than the number 2.

Order of the words in the TITLE tag

The more a word is located at the beginning of the TITLE tag (on the left then) the more importance it will have. It is therefore recommended placing the important terms at the beginning rather than in the end.

TITLE tag, brand and website's name

Should you place the name of your website or your brand in the TITLE tags? If so, where to place them? Better at the beginning or in the end?

Actually, there is no clear-cut answer to these questions.

The elements that must be taken into account are the following ones:

  • Your brand awareness
  • The volume of searches containing your brand
  • Competition on searches containing your brand

If your brand is not famous at all, it is preferable not to include it in the title tag of your pages, except the homepage.

Otherwise, there are 2 kinds of strategies:

  • Famous brand that is searched on the engines
  • Famous brand but not very popular in search engines

If it is popular in search engines, then the idea to include it becomes more legitime. Otherwise, it is up to you to judge whether your brand's appearance in the snippet of the SERPs would increase the Click To Rate or not.

Including a little-known or unknown brand in order to try to gain notoriety among Internet users is a valid strategy in the long term. However, the impact will probably be very small. In my humble opinion, it will be above all the quality of the website that will allow you to achieve a certain notoriety.

It also raises the question of the place of the brand in the TITLE. If it is placed at the end, the impact on the Internet user will be even lower and may even be non-existent. Indeed, Google only displays the first characters of the TITLE tag.

Locating your brand at the beginning creates another problem. As we have seen, the order of the words is important. As a consequence, for all the pages of your website , you will give the best place to the same term for a query on which your are normally already ranked number one. Unless Google has algorithms to recognize the brand of a title in the TITLE without affecting the weight... Who knows?

Finally, the ultimate problem is the dilution one. In the beginning or in the end, your brand will still represent one more word in the TITLE.

ASCII symbols and TITLE

An ASCII symbol, as its name suggests, is a symbol. It is possible to place the code of this kind of symbol in a TITLE tag. Google and the other search engines interpret some of these symbols. The idea behind the use of an ASCII symbol is to stand out in the results page.By capturing the attention of the users, it is possible to expect the increasing of the CTR on your snippet and, as a result, the increasing of your traffic.

In order to multiply the impact of this technique and stand out even more, it is possible to include several ASCII symbols but be careful, the excess is always the enemy of good in SEO.

Long tail TITLE

Including adjectives or terms that are not very popular in searches in your titles in addition to a very generic and popular key phrase can have positive effects. Indeed, even if it is necessary to take into account the principle of dilution, this type of strategy can allow you to rank on a very important number of different phrases and thus finally to generate an additional qualified traffic not negligible.

Welcome and other parasite words in titles

You have to admit that ranking on the query 'query' is of questionable interest. However, how many pages present (or start with) the word 'Welcome'?

This kind of parasite words has to be banished, definitely. What a pity not to use better the first word of the TITLE of your homepage!

However, do not eliminate all linking words and other stopword (the, a, an...) otherwise you will fall into the trap of 'spammy' or over-optimized titles.


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