In SEO there are two ways: either you can follow the standard practices or evolve beyond the basic. SEO advanced practices do not imply that you must utilize those practices to get the traffic but standard practices alone can lead you to earn traffic and rank in SERP. However, sometimes usual practices are not enough, not just because of typical factor, but experimentation makes SEO interesting.
Best practices for title tags
There is no set rules or known algorithm how, why and what Google has set for title tags. For years, the common practice is to keep title tag less than 70 characters. Google has increased the font size from 16x to 18x and removed underlining.
Here are some fundamental practices for title tags:
- Title tags must be under 512 pixels in width, 55 to 60 characters maximum
- The targeted keywords must be at the beginning.
- Title tags must be readable
- If you are using company’s name/brand in the tag, place it at the end
- Create unique title tags for each page
- Avoid stuffing of keywords
- For Site Links, title should convey a complete message
- A clear and communicative title tag earns a higher click-through rate
Should you take a major title tag rewriting project?
It is difficult to change your title tags, especially if you have a large website or blog. First you can change it in your homepage and category pages and look at the impression and click data in Google Webmaster Tools. The change doesn’t affect your SERP, but you need to evaluate your click through rate. Google or any search engine appreciates updation of pages in regular interval.
It is not that Google algorithm doesn’t read the title tags, which exceed the 55 character or 512 pixels mark. Sometimes it happens that we exceed more than that while writing our tags, but you need to ensure that your best keywords must be included in 55 character mark. Google doesn’t always match the title tag from a query. If the query matches the text and some words from middle or last line of long tail titles, it displays on the results. Moreover, Google prefers brand name in the title tags.
Test your title tags
Now when you know some fundamental about title tags best practices, you need to test it in real time. Testing SEO is difficult; you don’t have lab-quality settings, also you most often people don’t have multiple high traffic sites to run on case studies.
First, you need to run your experiment on limited pages. Choose pages that give noticeable results, not just pages, which do not rank on search engine. Do not overdo anything because your existing traffic is critical, so smaller dosages are good for health.
Here are two sets you can try:
- Create categories of pages you want to experiment on. Put brand names at the beginning of say category A and brand name at the end of category B and don’t write anything on category C. After 2-3 weeks, evaluate your click through rates.
- If you have pillar articles, add some more title tags to match your keywords. See whether two different but related thoughts affect traffic.