The page title tag is the element of HTML that tells web browsers and search engines the title of a certain web page. In a web browser, the title of a web page (that is to say, the contents of the web page’s title tag) is displayed on the browser tab for the web page that is loaded.
On the search engine results page (SERP) the title of a web page is displayed as the clickable headline link for the search result linking to that page. For this reason, title tags are important for usability, social sharing, and search engine optimization.
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 web site’s HTML just after the opening <head> tag. It should look something like this:
<title>How to Write Page Titles for Search Engines in 2017</title>
Though bear in mind that when using most content management systems (CMS), such as Wordpress or Google Blogger, you can usually very easily add a title tag without getting into the HTML by entering the title you want in the appropriate field in your web page’s general settings.
Why are page title tags important and can they help improve ranking in 2017?
Your web page’s title tag is the primary and 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. Think of it as the subject line for an email.
Major search engines also use the page title as one factor in deciding how to rank your page for a given query. Moz says that title tags have “long been considered one of the most important on-page SEO elements.”
How to write page title tags for search engines in 2017
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, put the keyword target you want to rank for most first within the title tag. Next the secondary keyword. Finally, the brand name after a hyphen or one of these: “|” to separate.
So, when taking SEO into consideration while writing a title tag, the title should include the keywords you wish to rank for with the most important keyword first, then a secondary keyword target, then your brand name (like the overall name for your website or business).
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.
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 6 title tags experiments that you can test today.
4) Synonyms and variants
5) Call to action
Try out different versions of your titles and see what increases click throughs! 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 guide on writing the perfect meta description.