Meta title length
The Meta title tag is a very important part of Search Engine Optimisation, probably one of the most important. Combined with the Meta description and a web pages schema it advertises your site on a search engines results page. Think of any clever advertisements you have ever seem where they consist of a short tag-line that really communicates what the advertisement id about and build your meta title in a similar way. Something catchy yet informative is always a winner, if your page contains anything unique and that would appeal to your target audience then emphasise it if it contains that particular pages keywords.
Optimising your Meta title length
A Meta title tag should adhere to some very basic rules. Many websites you will see online today have very poor Meta title tags usually stuffed with keywords and nowhere near the optimal length. In 2014 Google has changed the optimum length of the Meta title tag in the SERP by increasing the font size on the SERP and in turn decreasing the amount of characters you should use in your Meta title tag. Think of your Meta title as a tag-line that sums up the page underneath, it must be clear, concise, and give a short overall description of a pages content. Because you are limited in how many characters will show in the SERP before it is truncated / cut off you should always try to keep they Meta title around or under the maximum length allowed in the SERP otherwise it actually is quite pointless. You should really be able to sum up a page into the space provided and if you can’t, work at reducing it until you can. If you think about a really catchy poster you have ever seen with a great slogan, think what would the impact be of that poster if the last few letters were cut off? Would that great tagline have the same effect on you? If you have done any sort of coding or Graphic design probably you will know about monospace fonts. These are fonts which take up the same amount of space no matter what letter they are. The letter v takes up the same amount of space as the letter w. Search results pages don’t use monospace fonts which means there is no all-encompassing rule about how long your Meta Title should be. If you use a lot of wide letter like w’s you will be in a situation where you have less letters to work with before text starts to be cut off. A lot of resources online will say to keep your Meta title tag between 50 and 60 characters. You shouldn’t do this, instead you should use some sort of Meta Optimiser to preview your Meta as you build it and make sure it is the optimal length.
Meta title keywords
Search engines are incredibly clever at keyword matching, so clever in fact that you don’t necessarily need a whole lot of keywords within your Meta tile. You may have seen in search results pages many times blocks of text which have been taken directly form a webpage in place of the Meta description and because search engines can match keywords this way it gives you the option to keep your Meta title tag very simple. The meta title is one of the most important elements you can have on a page in terms of keyword matching and the best thing to do is include relevant high volume and costly to advertise for keywords. It’s worth spending quite a bit of time on pages Meta title in order to truly optimise it. If you use a high number of words in the Meta title consider how search engine might keyword match against the text within it. You should not include the same keywords throughout all your Meta just for the sake of it. Every Meta title should really be unique to the page underneath, as every page should match to different keywords anyway. Don’t just think about words within it that are right beside each other. Think about how words that are spread apart could match together for a user’s query.
Website name in a Meta title
There is no real need to include your sites name in the Meta title. Many sites do, but this is a pointless exercise. Yes it reinforces your brand, but you can reinforce your brand recognition throughout your site by clear branding. The Meta title should be reserved for the words that you want your website to show for in search results. If you do keep your Meta title tag very short your sites name will usually be automatically appended to the Meta title. For example if your Meta title only consists of the words web design usually Google will append it to “Web Design – DDMSEO”. Take advantage of this particular aspect of Googles algorithm and let Google append your sites name in situations where the space is available.
Meta title in the SERP
I think it’s fair to say no matter what you search for online you’re always presented with pages upon pages of search results and making users click on your website in the SERP can be a tough process. The Meta title is one of the few aspects of your site in the SERP you can directly control. Your Meta title has to read like a newspaper headline in many ways, attention grabbing and engrossing, it has to make users say, that looks interesting and it matches exactly my query, let’s click on that. Differentiation between your Meta title and other Meta titles in the SERP can be tricky as most will probably target the same keywords. Have a look at search results around yours and see is there a way you can structure yours to make it stand out from the crowd. If you really want the highest click through rate possible you have to give users the exact thing they are looking for.
Structuring a Meta title
There are some very bad habits that you can fall into when building your Meta title. One is just having a bunch of one or two word long keywords as your Meta title and the second is over capitalisation. Write a Meta title as if you were speaking to someone as if you had a couple of seconds and a few words to explain what you are about. You wouldn’t scream at someone if you were trying to explain something to them and when you over-capitalise text that’s exactly what you are doing. These practices really do end up making your search result look poor and in many cases very tacky and un-professional. The exception to this rule is acronyms. Many business etc. go by these, this site for instance goes by DDMSEO. If acronyms are required then by all means use them but be careful not to stuff your Meta title tag with a load of them. Location information is usually best situated within a Meta title tag. IF you have a business in London then include the word London within your Meta title. Location matching is incredibly important and has gotten steadily more important over the last few years to the point where search engines really do try to push website to target a specific geographic. Including location information is also a pretty good way to get users to click on a Meta Title if you are selling products etc. on your website as most people will be looking for products or services close to their area.
Meta title tags on e-commerce websites
Generally on ecommerce websites you can build Meta title tags very easily. If you have a specific product page you can include things like the name of the product and / or the product model / reference number. You can also base Meta title tags around specific categories within your site. If you have pages that act as doorways to specific product pages then generally you will group the products on the page by a specific category. The big issue you will run into with Meta title tag son ecommerce websites is if you are generating them dynamically. You may have a lot of pages running off a single template file and it may not be possible to write out a Meta title tag for each page if you have tens of thousands. A lot of the time you may be stuck with the option of writing out one Meta title tag and inserting the page specific information in placeholder within it. The problem with this is you may end up with Meta Title tags that vary greatly in length. In this situation there is no catch all solution only to think of better ways to structure the data before it is inserted into your Meta title tag dynamically.