A meta title is an HTML element that’s crucial for website optimization. It’s not the page headline per se, but it acts as a name tag for your web page. A meta title is also sometimes referred to as “title tag,” “page title,” or “title.”
What Is a Meta Title?
A meta title is referred to as such because it’s considered meta data that’s located on a web page’s header. It exists for both search engines and visitors and is prominently displayed, often in large blue text, on search engine results pages or SERPs when, for example, you’re conducting a search.
A meta title tells search engines and visitors what your page is about in a concise and accurate manner. Aside from appearing on SERPS, meta titles can also appear on your web browser tab.
To look for a page’s meta title, right click on any area of a page and click on “View Page Source” from the drop-down menu. You’ll find something that looks like this:
But this format may vary depending on the content management system that you’re using. If you’re using WordPress, for example, you can add the meta title in general settings under “Tagline.”
Similar to meta descriptions, meta titles also follow a standard for optimal format and length. Ideally, a meta title should be formatted like so:
Your primary keyword – Your secondary keyword | Your Brand Name
In terms of its length, a meta title should have 50 to 60 characters. Anything more than that and you risk your text being clipped by search engines such as Google. If you want your titles to be displayed properly, then it’s best to follow the abovementioned title length.
Why Are Meta Titles Important?
Meta titles give search engines and visitors a glimpse of what they can find in your page. They help them understand what your content on a particular page is about and can play a role in influencing a visitor’s decision to click on your link or not.
Meta titles are also great tools to have for branding, especially if you’ve already established yourself as a trusted name in your industry. You can leverage on your brand by displaying it on your title tag, inviting people to click on the page of a brand that they trust.
When it comes to page rankings, meta titles can play a role in how well a page ranks on SERPs, given that they’re an important on-page SEO component. By putting keywords closer to the beginning of your title tag, there’s a higher chance for them to rank when it comes to keyword-based searches.
How to Write a Good Meta Title
To write a good title tag, there are some guidelines you can observe:
- Be mindful of your title length
As mentioned earlier, it’s best to limit your title length to under 60 characters, including spaces. But there’s more to it than that.
While there’s no set limit to how many characters you can put on your title tag, there’s also a 600-pixel container that you need to be aware of. You may be wondering why some title tags appear to have more characters, while others can have fewer than 60 characters, but still get truncated on SERPs.
This is because some characters like Ws and titles in all caps take up more space. Titles in all caps are also more difficult to read, and as a result, can get truncated.
Even when you follow the optimal length for your meta title, search engines may opt to display a different title tag from what you’ve originally provided.
- Do your keyword research
When it comes to meta titles, it pays to do your keyword research.
Page rankings don’t just depend on one particular main keyword; they also factor in related terms and other variations, in the case of long-tail keywords.
And while it might be tempting to place several keywords in your title tag, avoid keyword stuffing. This can result in a bad user experience and can thus negatively impact your ranking on SERPs.
Keep in mind that you’re writing for a human audience as well, not just search engines.
- Avoid using duplicate title tags
Duplicate title tags can affect your page’s visibility on SERPs.
Giving each page a unique title can take up some of your time, but making one page stand out from another is ultimately beneficial for you. It makes it easier for your visitors to know what a certain page has in store for them, which makes it all the more inviting to them. This, in turn, translates to more click-throughs for your page.