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SEO Basics: Title Tags

Title tags are important for any webpage, whether you care about SEO or not. In this post, I answer some of the most common questions about them to teach you the basics.

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What is a title tag?

A title tag is a one-line description of a web page that is used to label it and enhance it for search engine optimization (SEO).

Title tags show up in 3 important places:

  • Address bars (the description in your browser tabs)
  • Organic search results (the clickable title that takes you to a website)
  • Link previews (on social media, in emails, messages, etc.)

How do you set title tags?

Title tags are set using the HTML tag <title>.

Are title tags important for SEO?

Yes. Title tags are the first thing that your users see when your content is displayed in organic results. Title tags are a great opportunity to encourage a user to select your content over a competitor’s.

How long should title tags be?

Title tags should be up to 60 characters (or 600 pixels) for the best results.

Should I put keywords in title tags?

Yes, title tags should include keywords.

However, keyword stuffing and keyword cannibalization are just as bad in title tags as they are in body content so choose your keywords wisely and use them strategically.

Do all my site pages need different title tags?

Yes. Each page of your website should have its own, unique title tag. Some may be more straightforward than others (like your about page vs a blog post), but no page should be left without one.

If you don’t set title tags yourself, Google may set them for you.

How can I check what my title tags are?

You can check your title tags using a variety of free tools, such as Moz.

Where do I monitor and review title tags?

You can monitor and review your title tags in Google Search Console.

You can also use a paid tool like SEMrush or Ahrefs.

What do title tags do for SEO?

Title tags describe your page content, which helps both Google and your users.

High-quality title tags can help to increase clickthrough, boost organic ranking, and reduce bounce rate.  

Should I update my title tags?

If your title tags were never optimized, customized, or you think they could be negatively affecting your site, then yes, you should review and update them.

For larger sites with lots of product pages, you can even analyze and update title tags every 3-6 months.

For small sites with few pages, once or twice a year is fine unless you’re running experiments or think that your title tags are bringing you down.

Should I write my own title tags?

Maybe. Are you a good writer with some SEO knowledge? Then you can probably give it a shot and see how it goes.

If you struggle with writing (spelling, capitalization, or punctuation) and you aren’t sure where to start with keywords, then you may want to consider hiring an SEO writer to do it for you.

Can I experiment with title tags?

Yes, you can run experiments on title tags. However, you need to make sure that you have numbers from before you make any changes for comparison, and that Google accepts your changes when you make them. Otherwise, it will be hard to tell whether your changes made a difference.

Some experiments include longer or shorter titles, swapping keywords around, adding locations (like country or city), or adding emojis.