A meta title shows the name of a web page. The title is displayed by the browser, usually at the top of your computer screen, and tells a reader what page they are on. Meta titles are “read” by search engine robots and seen by site visitors.
The metal title is very important for helping the page rank higher in search engine returns and should be written to cater to search engine robots first and to site visitors second. Meta titles should make sense to the reader, but the wording should be based on keyword search popularity and relevance to the rest of the web page including other meta data and content.
The six biggest mistakes you can make when creating a meta title for your page are:
- Not creating any page title at all;
- Making titles too long. Long page titles are truncated and search engines stop reading after a certain number of characters. Limit your title to 75 characters maximum (including spaces and punctuation.)
- Naming your page the same name as your website or business name;
- Naming all your pages the same name, or something similar to each other;
- Naming the page without connecting it to your content and other meta data; and
- Repeating (spamming) keywords in titles.
If you are having trouble figuring out what keywords to focus on, you can use keyword selector tools and keyword density tools to help you write your meta title.
Examples of “Bad” Meta Titles
The following example meta titles are too vague and do not give either robots or site readers enough information:
- Website Statistics
- NZ Electronics
Examples of Good Meta Titles
- Elite6 Business Networking, Networking Groups New Zealand
- Web Statistics Tools, Web Tracker, Hit Counter and Web Stats
- Smallbore Target Shooting, New Zealand Rifle Clubs and Associations
- NZ Electronics – Technology Products: Computer & Peripherals Shopping
Note that the above title tags accomplish three things:
They help robots understand what is most important about the content on the page by repeating part of the keyword phrases that would be found in article titles and content;
They make sense to people reading them; and
By using different words meaning the same or similar things without actually repeating them (spam) and using plurals when sensible, it allows for greater possibilities for appearing in searches for the same information but on different terms.
How Long Should a Meta Title Be in Length?
Generally, a title should be long enough to be clear; short enough to avoid being “truncated.”
Truncation happens when a title is too long. Search engine robots will only read so many characters then move on. Different search engines read different numbers of characters but if you keep your titles less than 75 characters you will keep most major search engine robots happy (Google sometimes seems to stop about as few as 70 characters.)
Tips on How to Create Powerful Meta Titles
When creating meta titles:
- Do repeat keyword ideas in different words – no more than twice is usually best;
- Do tie these phrases to your content and other meta data;
- Do use plurals and word variations when possible;
- Do limit the use of punctuation; and
- Do use initial caps throughout the title.