Title Tag: Complete Guide on Meta Title SEO

Written by: Akanshha Agrawal on

A title tag is an HTML element. This specifies the title of a particular web page. This is also referred to as the meta title. Optimizing title tags is part of on-page SEO.

Table of Contents

As with any title, the title tag provides an insight into the content of the article. In most cases, users only see the title before deciding to click on a web page. This appears on the search engine results page. The title is also used by search engines while ranking the web pages. 

After reading this article, you will know the following: 

  • What are title tags?
  • Why are title tags important? 
  • How to add a title tag?
  • Why is Google not displaying your title? 
  • Common mistakes to avoid. 

Why are title tags important?

Chance to engage with the reader

The meta title tag is displayed in the search results. This is the first thing that a user reads before clicking on the page. This is an excellent way to engage with the user and tell them what the page is about. 

For example, consider this meta title for the search “dog sitting tips.” The title should clarify the scope of the page, i.e., tips for dog sitting. This will immediately attract dog owners who wouldn’t want to click on generalized pet sitting articles. Apart from this, the title should ideally specify the exact number of tips.

Helps in improving click-through rate

A good meta title can completely change the performance of your web page. While adding a meta title, always consider the needs and wants of the user. 

For example, if a user wishes to read an article, then she is unlikely to click on a product page. Carefully writing the title tag can be a huge advantage over competitors. 

Displayed in web browsers

The title tag is displayed at the top of the web browser. Apart from the logo, this serves as an important placeholder for the tab. This is particularly useful when the user has multiple tabs open at once. 

The meta title should catch the eyes of the user such that she wishes to revisit the tab. As only part of the title is displayed, the chances of user revisiting is higher if she sees the focus keyword at the beginning of the title. 

Improves page rank

The title tag is used by search engines while ranking the web pages. The title tag is intended to convey the content of the web page. 

A highly relevant title tag will improve the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) score of your web page. This will help in pushing the page to the top of the search results. As most users only look at the first few pages, improving the ranking can completely change the game for your page. 

Best practices for writing title tags

Keep it short

The meta title should not be longer than 56-60 words or 600 pixels. If your title tag is longer than this, then Google will not display it in the search results. 

The title should be as concise and relevant as possible. For example, in the picture below, the title tag exceeded the permissible limit. Due to this, the entire title was not displayed by Google. 

By doing this, you lose the chance of connecting with the reader and making sure you convey what you want. 

Make it descriptive

Even though the meta title should be short, it should be highly descriptive. The central idea remains the same – tell readers about the value of the web page in a few words. 

The title tag should narrow down the scope of the article and provide as many details as possible.

Add a keyword

Adding a keyword has two advantages: it improves the page ranking and conveys the content of the article. 

As stated above, the meta title is used by search engines while ranking the web pages for a particular keyword. A web page with the search keyword is likely to have a higher ranking than a title without the keyword. 

Along with this, using the keyword tells the reader that the query is resolved on the web page. As the meta title is so limited in extent, adding the focus keyword directly conveys its relevance in the content. 

Avoid keyword stuffing

As adding the keyword improves the search ranking, you might think that the more keywords you add, the better it will. Don’t ever think this way!

At the end of the day, the meta title is written for the end-user. This means that the title should be readable and user-friendly. This is a very important criterion that Google uses while ranking web pages.

Keyword stuffing is viewed negatively by Google and other search engines. This will reduce the search ranking. 

Add a unique meta title to each page

The title tag is used by search engines to understand the content of a web page. By adding a title tag, you convey that the page discusses a certain kind of content. Due to this, it is extremely important to ensure that there is a unique title tag for each page. 

Adding the same title to multiple pages conveys that you have duplicated the content on various pages. This negatively impacts the authority of the website as well as the search engine ranking. 

Keep the search intent in mind

The title tag is the first thing that is read by users. Oftentimes, this is the only factor considered by the users while determining whether the page should be opened or not. 

Let’s say the search query is “how to cook pasta.” This carries an information intent. The person searching for this is likely looking for a recipe to make pasta. In such a situation, a good meta title would be “How to Cook Pasta Like a Pro.” On the other hand, a bad meta title would be “10 Best Pasta Brands to Buy”. 

Use your brand value

Oftentimes, users search for a particular brand online. This is very common for popular brands. 

If you have a well-established brand, then you should add the same to the meta title. This will help in users identifying your brand. 

This also helps in search results as users might want to find results relating to a specific brand.

Prioritize the focus keyword

Generally speaking, you will have multiple keywords for a particular web page. Since the meta title is so limited, you should prioritize the focus keyword while writing the title. 

The focus keyword is the one you are primarily ranking for. This will increase the chances of your content ranking higher than other results. 

Why isn’t Google displaying your title tag?

Sometimes, Google does not display the title tag that you have added to the web page. This can be for various reasons. While displaying the title on the search results page, Google looks at a wide range of factors. If your title tag doesn’t meet the relevant requirements, then Google will not display it. 

Here are some of the common reasons behind this: 

  • You stuffed the title with keywords. The title needs to be organic and readable. If Google finds any keyword stuffing, then the title might not be displayed.
  • Your title is not relevant for the search intent. Google wants users to open the web page after looking at the title. If the title is not relevant, then Google will attempt to replace it with a more relevant title. 
  • You have added alternate titles. As the title tag is an HTML element, you can add multiple elements. In such a case, the title might not be displayed, or a title you don’t prefer is displayed. 
  • You changed the title recently. The search results page is not updated in real-time. Google’s bots crawl sites from time to time and update the search results. Once you update the title, you need to wait for the bots to crawl the web pages again. This might take a while. 
  • Your title is too long. Google only displays about 56-60 characters on the search engine results page. Anything exceeding this will not be displayed. Instead of this, you will see three dots at the end of the title. 
  • You have disallowed Google from crawling. You need to register with Google Search Console for the website to be adequately crawled. If the website is not being crawled, then Google will not be able to display it in the search results. 

Common title tag mistakes to avoid

SEO meta title is an easy task. All you need to do is keep the points discussed above in mind. 

Even though it is quite simple, many people make some common mistakes. Here are some of the most common mistakes that you should avoid: 

  • Adding only half of the title text. In such a case, Google might look for alternate headings inside the web page. 
  • Adding multiple meta titles to one web page. This will only confuse Google and will result in different titles shown at different times. 
  • Not adding a meta title at all. This will result in any random text from the web page being displayed as the title in search results. 
  • Google wants to make sure that each web page provides unique value to the users. If you add the same meta title to many pages, then the chances are that the authority of your website as well as the ranking will fall. 
  • Update the title regularly to reflect new content. For example, if the title contains a year, then the same needs to be updated as the year changes. 

How to add a title tag?

The title tag is an HTML element. This is displayed in the code of the website. 

You can add a title tag using this code: <title>This is the Title</title>.

If you are using WordPress, you can add a title at the top of the page. By default, the heading is the same as the title tag. 

If you are using a plugin, then you can following the steps listed below for adding a title tag. 

Yoast SEO

Adding a title tag on Yoast SEO is very easy. Just follow the simple steps listed below: 

  1. Go to pages and open the page where you want to add a title tag. 
  2. The H1 tag is at the top of the screen. You can simply edit the heading for changing the H1 tag. 
  3. Now, scroll to the bottom of the page till you see Yoast SEO settings.
  4. Click on Edit Snippet.  
  5. Enter the meta title in the box labeled “SEO Title.” 
  6. Once you are done, click on Close Snippet. 
  7. After this, click on Update, and the meta title should be updated.  

RankMath

Using RankMath is also very easy. Here are the simple steps that you can follow to add a title tag: 

  1. Click on the “General” option at the top right corner of the screen. 
  2. Click on the blue button labeled as “Edit Snippet.” 
  3. Enter the meta title in the box labeled “Title.” 
  4. Once you are done, close the pop-up, and the title will be updated automatically. 

Shopify

You can follow these steps to add a title tag on Shopify: 

  1. Open the Shopify Dashboard and click on Preferences. 
  2. Go to the Title section
  3. Add the title of your choice. 
  4. Click on Save. 

Conclusion

Meta titles provide an effective way to improve the page ranking in search engine retools page while connecting with the users. The best thing is that adding a good meta title is an extremely easy process. 

Here are some key points to keep in mind while adding a meta title: 

  • Add a title tag to every page. 
  • Keep the title concise and to the point. 
  • Write a descriptive title that will encourage the readers to click on the web page. 
  • Add the focus keyword at the beginning of the meta title. 
  • Make sure the title is readable and avoid keyword stuffing. 
  • Add a unique title to each page. 
  • Exploit the value of your brand through the title tag. 

Hopefully, you learned everything you needed to know about meta titles. Please reach out to us if you have any queries!