Title tags have been the main element of organic search optimization for years. Google used them to match search queries to pages prominently displayed in SERPs (search engine result pages) snippets with the question highlighted.
SEO continues to be a priority for titles. However, a lot has happened, and it is not easy to find the right keywords.
What Is A Title Tag?
The title tag is an HTML element that should explain the page’s purpose to search engines and humans. It can also be used as the name for a browser tab.
Google slowly reduced the importance of title tags for search.
- Titles are no longer bold in the snippet and attract fewer clicks.
- Exact-match keywords don’t matter much since Google often uses synonyms and similar terms to understand the searcher’s intent.
- Google will often rewrite titles in search snippets.
Take a look at the screenshot below. It is for the search query “hiking trails Clifton Park.” Google interprets this query and returns results for Saratoga Springs near Clifton Park. Google also suggests an alternative activity (“running”) to hiking and a synonym (“walking”).
A few years back, a website had to include the exact query in its title tag to rank. It is no longer the case.
How To Optimize Title Tags
Google’s use title isn’t as obvious.
Google can now understand the meaning of the query and title instead of matching it to keywords in the titles. It allows Google to match the searcher’s intent.
Keep titles brief and avoid keyword stuffing. Google says in a post it will remove a label that is too long or too optimized (i.e., overoptimized).
You can also use the following title:
- Keep it short. Google does not specify how long a title should be, but titles that exceed 65 characters will appear in desktop search results. It seems sensible to keep tags at a minimum of 65 characters.
- Do not stuff keywords. If it makes sense (which it often does), include keywords in the title. Variations are not allowed, such as changing the order or pluralizing words. It was once a common SEO practice.
- Avoid boring and repetitive text. Ecommerce sites that use large databases often generate automated titles. Inexpensive Phone Case”).
The title tag should be placed on the page. Google wants searchers to see precisely the page’s text after clicking a search result. To assure searchers and decrease bounces, display the title tag prominently.
For title tags that are H1 (or equivalent headers) on a page:
- Google is likely to keep it the same as it is.
- Searchers will likely increase their on-page engagement.
Humans, Not Algorithms
Google will do the best for searchers. Google will not rewrite genuinely valuable titles. Optimize for humans and not algorithms. It is the key to modern SEO.