Need help creating the perfect title tag? You’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, you’ll discover five bad strategies you should avoid when creating a quality title tag.
From keyword stuffing to no keywords, you’ll learn exactly what are the worst strategies for creating effective title tags.
Let’s get into it:
What is a Title Tag and Why Does it Matter?
Before we discuss our top five bad strategies to avoid when creating a quality title tag, we should first establish what exactly a title tag is and why you should care.
A title tag is an HTML element that tells search engines (and most importantly users) what a page is about.
You can see title tags on Google search results – they appear in blue above the meta description.
In other words:
Title tags are the first thing your audience will see when discovering your brand.
Brain Dean from Backlinko actually describes title tags as the most important on-page SEO factor.
And in our experience, they can have a massive impact on site rankings AND click-through rates.
A quality title tag should tell Google exactly what a page is about, while also convincing users that they should click through to the website.
Types of Title Tags
When we refer to title tags, we can actually be referring to two different elements.
- Your display title/meta title, which is the title you tell Google to show on the search engine results page (SERP).
- Your headline, which is the title you will typically see at the top of the page and is ideally marked with an H1 tag.
Although there’s no harm in making the meta title and headline the same, you’ll often want them to be different.
Well, meta titles have a maximum of 60 characters on Google.
And as you’re competing for clicks against other websites, you’ll want to make sure they’re optimised for click-through rate.
(Something we’ll touch on later).
This guide will focus solely on the title tags that appear in search engines.
So, let’s get into our five bad strategies when creating a quality title tag.
5 Bad Strategies When Creating Quality Title Tags
1. Not Using Primary and Secondary Keywords
It’s vital your title tag contains the main keyword you target.
Not only does this tell Google the type of searches you want to be appearing for, but it also shows the user that your page is relevant to the query they’ve searched – increasing the chances of a click.
Although most websites remember to use their primary keyword, we’ve seen many sites stop there without thinking of additional keywords to include.
Many keyword variations can result in the same search results, so you’d want to make sure you’re considering those searches too.
Let’s use an example:
So, we want to write a meta title for a product page on “gifts for her.”
But during our research, we noticed that there are also hundreds of searches around “gifts for women”.
A bad strategy when writing a quality title tag would be just sticking to our primary keyword and creating a title tag of “Gifts for Her”.
Instead, we want to include an additional keyword to optimise our tag around additional users – just like the image below from John Lewis:
2. Not Using Title Tag Modifiers to Make a Title More User-Friendly
When trying to rank a page on Google, it’s important to remember that you’re competing with thousands (and sometimes even millions) of other websites to attract a user.
Hundreds of these websites will have similar title tags that focus on specific keywords that you’re trying to rank for.
So, how do you set yourself apart from the crowd?
Title tag modifiers!
A title tag modifier is a great way of making a quality title tag as it can show the value of a page to a user.
Modifiers like “best”, “checklist”, “guide” and “fast” can all entice users to click.
It can also trigger additional keyword searches, allowing your page to rank for more terms.
Let’s use some examples:
Backlinko created a blog on the 15 best keyword research tools and added “for SEO” as a modifier, resulting in the title “15 best keyword research tools for SEO”.
He got a rank one featured snippet for the search term “SEO keyword research tools” – a keyword that he was never originally targeting!
Another example is a study from SearchPilot, which found a 10% increase in organic traffic to a page that used the word “best” as a title tag modifier.
Therefore, a bad strategy when creating a quality title tag is not using descriptive title tag modifiers.
3. Not Putting Your Primary Keywords First
Another bad strategy when writing a good title tag is not putting your primary keyword first.
In our experience, Google places a greater emphasis on keywords that appear first in title tags – resulting in higher rankings.
Front-loading a keyword in your title can also help with CTR.
Due to constraints on character count, some meta titles can be cut off on Google search results.
Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your keywords are visible to ensure users can see the relevance of your page to their search terms.
4. Keyword Stuffing Your Title Tag
Keyword stuffing is perhaps the worst strategy when creating a quality title tag.
Put simply, keyword stuffing is the process of putting several keywords in close proximity together.
While you may think it’s helping you by triggering several keyword searches, in reality, it can affect your rankings negatively.
Bloating your keyword mentions can appear spammy, which can put off users AND Google.
We’d suggest a maximum of two keywords in your title tag, depending on the length of your keywords.
5. Not Creating Unique Title Tags
Our final bad strategy to avoid when creating a quality title tag is using similar title tags across multiple pages.
We’ve seen many sites have multiple pages that target similar keywords, resulting in title tags that are almost identical to each other.
Ideally, you should be creating one page (and therefore one title tag) per keyword topic.
Failing to do this can result in something called keyword cannibalisation, which is when you have too many pages competing for the same keywords.
This can cause search engines like Google to struggle to decide which page deserves to rank for the term.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our guide on what is a bad strategy when creating a quality title tag.
In conclusion, the five worst strategies are:
- Not using primary and secondary keywords
- Not using title tag modifiers
- Not putting your primary keyword first
- Keyword stuffing your title tag
- Not creating unique title tags
If you’ve already written a great meta title and meta description but it isn’t showing in Google, be sure to read our complete guide by following the link.
Or if you need an expert to help grow traffic to your site and increase your conversions, contact Converted for a free SEO audit to see how we can help your company.