Page titles remain an important element of SEO.
Not only are they a direct ranking factor, but they also influence click behavior in the SERPs.
This guide will cover my process for writing page titles, including:
Let’s get into it.
I highly recommend you watch the video version of this post. There are FAR MORE insights explained thoroughly there!!! ????????????
NOTE: I strongly suggest you read this article about how to use entities for content optimization as a tack on to this post.
A page title is an element of HTML that specifies a page’s title, both to search engines and humans.
They’re important ranking factor in Google’s algorithm as they alert search engines what a page is about. They can also increase (or decrease) Click Through Rate (CTR) of a page in the SERPs, which according to most, CTR is also a ranking factor for search engines.
You can easily change page titles if you’re using a CMS like WordPress, Demandware or Shopify.
There’s no exact character limit, but rather a display limit based on pixels (600px). Google will typically display the first 50 to 60 characters, depending on the search (and device, etc).
If you keep your titles under 60 characters, our research suggests that you can expect about 90% of your titles to display properly.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s get into my process for writing perfect SEO titles…
My baseline formula for title writing is simple…
Primary Keyword + Secondary Keyword | Brand Name
***NOTE: this nomenclature does NOT apply to the home page (more on that later).
In order to execute this, you need to know the keywords for each page – so let me illustrate with an example.
These are the keywords I’ve identified to rank our landing page for “Miami SEO”.
Using this basic formula (Primary, Secondary, Brand), I came up with the following:
Miami SEO Services – Expert Consultants | WEBRIS
I was able to hit a number of major keyword variations with this title (services, expert, consultants), all within the local scope of Miami.
This title would help to drive rankings, but what about clicks?
There’s definitely room for improvement…Especially when we look at the SERPs for our keyword.
We have to do more to stand out…
There’s a number of ways we can make a title more clickable to searchers…
Are a few examples of words that could earn more clicks because they invite the searcher to engage.
Which terms you use will depend on your audience, of course, since you wouldn’t use the word “call” if your business doesn’t have a phone line that’s staffed.
Monetary references is a great way to do that, by adding is words like:
You could also play with words that infer urgency:
Something I had great success with (see examples in next section) is using words to drive a sense of total-ness (is that a word…?):
But, my all time favorite hack is…
I love this tactic because they don’t take up a lot of space in your titles but drastically help to break up the visual monotony of the SERPs.
Some examples of special characters are:
Let’s put together everything we’ve discussed so far.
Going back to our SEO agency landing page, here’s what I’ve come up with…
#1 Reviewed Miami SEO Company™ – FREE SEO Consult // WEBRIS
Break down what I’ve done with this title:
Here’s what the final title looks like in the SERPs:
And here’s a screenshot from Ahrefs to show you some of the keyword rankings for these pages. They all deploy the same title strategy I just walk you through…it works.
What about writing titles for home pages?
I like to use a different format.
Brand: Summary of Site / Main Benefit / Main Keyword
Brand name should always come first – but what follows it is up to you. For WEBRIS, I use the following…
WEBRIS // THE Digital Marketing Agency
“Digital Marketing Agency” both embodies what the business does while also using our main keyword.
Let’s move into some examples on a different type of site.
I follow the same format – Main Keyword = Secondary Keyword | Brand (except on home pages).
Let’s look at some examples of product pages from Laces Out (an ecommerce site we started and sold last year).
White Shoelaces – “Flat” Body – 54” / 63” / 72” – Laces Out
Baby Blue “Rope” Laces – Woven Pattern Shoelaces – 50” – Laces Out
Black “Jordan 1” Shoelaces – Exact OG Replacements – 72” – Laces Out
Category pages are equally important – they offer the ability to rank for “plural” keywords and need to be optimized accordingly.
Shop Wide Variety of “Flat” Sneaker Shoelaces / Laces Out
Let’s look at some examples for page titles for content.
75 of the BEST Nike Air Huarache Colorways – Laces Out
21 Crazy [Bad] Fake Air Jordans #WhatAreThose – Laces Out
Nike Air Huarache Ultra Shoelace Sizes [Exact Length] – Laces Out
While I like to think I know what I’m talking about, it’s vital to measure the impact of the title changes on your own site.
There’s a simple way to do measure this in Google Search Console.
You now have a list of the queries at the page level to gauge the impact of their rankings and CTR over time.
Be sure to build this data into your ongoing SEO reporting to note the impact of your efforts over time.
And while it’s not a foolproof formula, my template here—along with some operative keyword research—goes a long way in getting both the rankings and overall clicks.
Page titles are one of the last few “quick wins” left in SEO. Managing page titles is often overlooked by SEOs because of the man hours it takes to get them done.
Building a formal process to help you write them at scale is critical – take this post and share it with your team or SEO lead to make sure they’re executing this as a part of your overall SEO strategy.