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What is the title tag?

How long should the title be?

What should the title tag do?

How to compose a title for a single article?

How do I create hundreds of title titles for a template?

What are the chances of creating a good title title?

7 takeaways from title tag split tests

How long does it take to see the results of changing title tags?

What is the title tag?

The title tag is an HTML element that summarizes the content of a page. It is used by search engines as the page title in search results:

title in search results

And displayed in the browser:

displayed in the browser

The title tag is not the same as the on-page page title. The title on the page can be a variant of the title tag or something completely different.

How long should a title be?

The title should be about 50-60 characters long. Technically, the maximum allowed title length for Google is 600px. In most cases, this is just 50-60 characters.

What should the title tag do?

So, what should the title do:

  • Summarize page content. Google will use this information to understand what our page is about.
  • Encourage users to visit the page. The title tag is what users will see as the title of the snippet in search results. We must convince them to choose us.

We need to maximize the click-through rate of our titles without using various deceptive tactics.

The title tag is mainly for people who come to your site from search engines like Google. We don’t need people from social networks (although title titles can appear there, but they can be rewritten if desired). We need people from search.

The audience for your title is the people who search with a specific intent.

In this case, the process of creating titles will be different depending on what they will be used for: for a single article or for a group of pages (for a template).

How to compose a title for a single article

Step 1. Write an article
Title is a lot easier to create if you know what you are writing about. On the other hand, writing a headline can be a good way to generate article ideas.

Step 2. Highlight the main point of the article – what is it about?
No click-through rate yet, just facts.

Step 3. Find the actual, commonly used keywords you need to describe the topic
Try to determine what the user might be looking for to find your article. Strive for the simplest and most basic version of the query. Search for this query, select the top 5-10 articles that rank for it, upload them to a tool like Ahrefs, SEMRush, Searchmetrics, Brightedge, etc., and then download all the keywords that these articles rank for.

If the first 5-10 articles have nothing to do with yours, then:

  • You are the first in this thread (which is unlikely, but possible);
  • The request is formulated incorrectly, please try again.

Once you are happy with a key phrase, take your large list of keywords, find other common phrases that you are missing, and write them down.

How to create hundreds of title titles for a template

The above process works well if all you have to do is create one single title.

But if you have a template with hundreds of thousands of pages, then you cannot do this. Basically you could, but that would be very tedious.

Instead, we need to come up with a header format that can be applied to all of our pages.

Step 1. Highlight the main point / theme of the page

At this point, we need to try to summarize the page attributes in as much detail as possible. This will give us an idea of ​​what details we can use in our titles across all pages.

Step 2. Determine which search queries the template will be shown for

Our template page has a specific intent. We need to figure out how to present this in the title tag.

This task is complicated by two things:

  • We can have several templates with similar intentions.
  • The pages in our template may look similar.

We need to try and make a header that:

  • Differs our template from other templates.
  • Distinguishes between pages in our template.

If this is very difficult to do, then perhaps these pages should not exist at all.

Step 3. Accept that this is a rather troublesome business.

Every time you work on your title titles, the process gets pretty complicated.

Step 4. Are there any frequency phrases that we missed?

Here you need to do the same as in step 3 for individual articles.

Highlight phrases that represent the content of the page. Search for them. Download all the keywords for which the top 5-10 results are ranking. Find the most common words.

Step 5. What can be added to the title to make it more attractive?

We know that we need to add an “intent” to our page

  • Real estate / houses
  • For sale / for rent
  • A place

As much heading as possible.

We need:

1. Make them as clickable as possible:

  • Use additional attributes
  • Get creative

2. Avoid using words that can change search intent.

The general difference between bulk creation of title titles and one-off is that if you end up with an entirely actual title, it will be more acceptable in the former case than in the latter.

What can be added to the title – general ideas:

  • The price
  • amount
  • Year
  • Something obvious, like “online” for an online store
  • Popular synonyms

Words that can change the intent of a page:

  • Comparisons are best, compare, etc.
  • Words indicating search for special offers: cheapest, cheapest, promotion, available.

What are the chances of creating a good title title?

Title titles are not an easy process. We talked about this above. But let’s look at specific numbers. We ran a large number of title tag tests across a variety of industries and got the following results:

  • Positive – 22%
  • Virtually unchanged – 38%
  • Negative – 40%

From this it follows that in 78% of cases, changing title tags did not affect the performance or harm the site. This makes testing extremely important. Otherwise, you risk losing a lot of traffic.

In the case of individual articles, this is not so critical, but if we are talking about a large number of pages, then the consequences of choosing the wrong title can be dire.

If you change titles in those templates that are used by a large number of pages, test them!

7 takeaways from title tag split tests

Most of the title tag changes are site-specific. It is about changing words and phrases that are difficult to generalize. However, despite this, we were able to track several common patterns.

  • Price indication

50% of our tests that involved adding a price to the title were positive.

Why were there zero or negative results in other cases?

This has to do with whether Google can find the price indicated in the title on the page itself – i.e., whether you were honest about the price.

In addition, we believe that price competitiveness also matters.

  • Adding the year

We have not had the opportunity to test this change on a large scale, but in those niches where we conducted such a test, the changes were positive.

In particular, the growth averaged about 8%

  • Abbreviated title

When you use auto-generated title tags, they often get too long.

We ran a number of tests related to the reduction of these headings, but about 80% of them showed no change.

We assume that those templates that produce long title tags tend to drive traffic for long-tail queries. When truncated, they remain only relevant results that continue to rank. For long-tail queries, keyword stuffing is probably not a problem.

Despite this, we still recommend shortening titles. If you remove 4-5 characters and it doesn’t affect performance, you can use that space to add a price or something else that might have an impact.

  • Emoji

We ran some tests related to adding emoji to titles and saw that it didn’t work.

  • Call to action for category / product pages

We tested title titles for category and product pages that were very different from the standard ones and were actively reaching users in the SERP:

  • Standard Edition: Ford for Sale | CarShop
  • Test case: You there! Fords for Sale at the CarShop

It didn’t work.

  • Language localization

We also tested localized versions of key phrases. At the same time, we did not change individual letters, but whole words – for example, “pants” (American version) instead of “trousers” (British version).

These tests usually ended positively (up 20-25%)

  • Removing implied words from a title

We have seen mixed results here. We split-tested and found that removing the word “online” from the title tags for one of the clients did not result in any traffic change. In another case – outside the scope of our test platform – when we removed the word “online” for an online store, its positions for queries with this word dropped, and we quickly brought it back.

How long does it take to see the results of changing title tags?

Usually this effect becomes clear after 3-5 days. In some cases, it takes more time, but this is more the exception than the rule.