Meta titles, sometimes known as title tags are displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs) as the clickable headline for a given result (shown in the image opposite). The title tag of a web page is meant to be an accurate description of a page’s content. Search engines expect a titles tag to include relevant keywords and phrases that describe what that page is about. The meta title tag does not show up on the webpage itself. Think of a meta title as a bit of text ‘behind the scenes’ helping search engines know what the page is about.
It’s really important to write your meta titles as well as possible as they show on 3 key places, giving the user a first impression of what your page is about:
- Search engine results page – this is highlighted in the image opposite, having a compelling title tag will improve your click through rate
- Social sharing – if your page is shared on social media, the meta and title description will show on the shared post
- Web browsers – displayed at the top of your web browser and acts as a placeholder so if people have lots of tabs open, it helps users keep track of the page
Google typically displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag. If your title is too long, search engines may cut it off by adding an ellipsis (“…”) and could end up removing important words. Therefore, try to keep your titles under 60 characters. Some research has also suggested putting keywords closer to the beginning of your title tag to have more impact on search rankings, but don’t keyword stuff, using too many keywords in a title tag may get you penalised.