The page title tag is an on-page SEO element in a page's HTML that tells web browsers and search engines the title of that web page.
In a web browser, the title of a web page (i.e. the contents of the web page’s title tag, the metadata) is displayed on the browser tab for the web page that is loaded.
On the search engine results pages (SERPs) the title of a web page is displayed as the clickable headline link for the search result linking to that page after a users completes their Google search.
It's show under the respective URL.
For this reason, title tags are important for usability, social media sharing, and search engine optimization!
(A good title tells the searcher what the page is about so they click through from the SERP.)
As you can see in the search display above, the title tag of a given web page should be an accurate and very brief description of what a user should expect to find on the page.
Where Do I Add Title Tags?
You can add the title tag for your web page within the <head> section of your website’s HTML just after the opening <head> tag. It should look something like this:
<title>How to Write Optimized Page Title Tags</title>
Today, most content management systems (CMS) give their users the ability to adjust meta tags — like the page title tag and meta description — directly in the settings.
(HubSpot allows users to directly enter their title tag in settings.)
Why Are Page Title Tags Important?
Your web page’s title tag is one of the most visually conspicuous element in a search result for the page, so how you write it will have an impact on whether a user clicks the result or not. It's a simple component that can go a long way, so it's shouldn't be a back-of-mind task for a digital marketer.
Essentially, a good title can increase your CTR!
Think of it the same way you would the subject line for an email: Are you more likely to open an email with an exciting and descriptive subject line, or one with little to no context?
Google uses the page title as one factor in deciding how to rank your page for a given query.
So, let's go over how to create a good title.
How to Write Page Title Tags for SEO
And here’s the key takeaway from this post so pay attention: Keywords within a title tag are ranked by search engines in order of relevance for a given search query in descending order from left to right.
So, first things first: To follow SEO best practices, put the keyword you want to rank for the most first within the title tag.
Next, the secondary keyword as you build out the title. You can also put your brand name after a hyphen or a pipe (i.e. “|”) to separate it from the rest of the title.
But here’s where SEO is a blend of technical know-how and artisan craft: You must also write your title tag to be readable, understandable, and likely to be clicked by humans that are going to read it within the search results. It has to make sense, read well, be engaging and not be robotic.
This means there should be no keyword stuffing! Even though it's important to include those target keywords, at the end of the day you're writing for users, not for search engine algorithms.
Guess and Test and Rinse and Repeat
When it really comes down to it, SEO is ultimately all about using the scientific method and experimenting to understand how search engines rank pages through conjecture, hypothesis, a rigorous testing procedure, analysis of the results, and conclusions.
Here are six title tag experiments that you can test today.
To really dive deeper to find out what works, run an SEO title tag test.
4) Synonyms and variants
5) Call to action
Try out different versions of your titles and see what increases your click through rates!
Reading SEO guides like this is great, but all the general knowledge in the world is useless without putting the rubber to the road and seeing what works for your specific website and niche.
After you've mastered writing title tags, read this resource on writing the perfect meta description.