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How to write a great title tag

From an SEO point of view, the title tag should contain all the keywords you wish to rank for. And as I just stated above, the most important keyword should be at the beginning, followed by second most important, then finally your brand name.

Moz provides this handy reference:

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

However one thing you must remember: write title tags for humans.

Although they should be formatted to some degree for search engines, it’s vital that the tag makes perfect sense to humans and reads like a legible sentence.

Title tag checklist

Kristine Schachinger wrote a perfect checklist on how to write optimised title tags in her original post, so I’m copying it for you here, with a few minor updates:

  • Length: Title tags should be 50-60 characters long, including spaces.
  • Keyword placement: Your most important keywords need to be first in your title tag, with your least important words coming last.
  • Brand name: If your company name is not part of the important keyword phrases, put it at the end of the title tag.
  • Do not duplicate title tags: They must be written differently for every page. Don’t mass replicate your title tags it will negatively affect your search visibility.
  • Make it relevant: Title tags must accurately describe the content on the page.
  • Do not ‘keyword stuff’ title tags: these are badly written title tags that try to rank for everything or repeat a word over and over. Keyword stuffing is the worst offense when it comes to title tags and you will be penalised for it.
  • Make your headline (

    tag) different from the title tag:

    This is another opportunity to vary the keyword phrasing of your page and increase its chances of appearing for different search intent.

Good examples of title tags

Here are a few examples that stick to the above rules in our checklist and therefore look more appealing on the SERP.

‘best burgers in london’

Esquire has all three keywords right at the beginning of the title tag, then follows this with a seductively appealing headline (everyone loves a list) and cleverly uses ‘buns’ in order to avoid repetition and keep the character limit to around 60.

best burgers in london

‘nike trainers’

Keywords are at the front, the brand name is at the end and Schuh has separated its keyword phrases with pipes | These used to be a necessity when writing title tags as the recommendation was to stay away from other punctuation. Although this is no longer true, pipes still look great on the page and are a clear separator.

nike trainers Google Search

‘radiohead moon shaped pool review’

Pitchfork has stayed away from a mistake that mine and other review websites make in putting ‘review’ at the start. Searchers do not start their search queries with ‘review’, they start with the artist.

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