Crafting a search engine-friendly and clickable meta title is critical for a successful SEO strategy.
Meta title, also called title tag, refers to an HTML element that tells users and search engines about the webpage topic. It displays on browser tabs and search engine result page.
This article answers why the creation of a strong meta title matters significantly, and how to create an SEO-rich meta title for high clickability and organic traffic growth.
Why is Meta Title vital for SEO?
According to Moz’s article about the On-page Rank Factors, the second most important on-site SEO factor is Meta title (after content).
Firstly, it helps the search engine understand the webpage topic, and ultimately, what search queries it is relevant for. So meta titles enable search engines to provide users with relevant content they’re searching for.
When created correctly, meta title (title tag) improves SEO ranking.
Secondly, meta titles inform users about the webpage content as well.
When users type search queries into the search box, the search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, or any other search engine) displays a search engine results page (SERP) that includes search snippets.
A search snippet is a search result that consists of a meta title, meta description, and URL. It describes the content of a web page in order to help searchers understand it and decide whether to visit the website. More about search snippets you can find in the Yoast article.
Also, when visitors are on the website, they can see the meta title on a browser tab in order to know where exactly they are on the site.
Thus, an effective and engaging meta title increases CTR (click-through rate) and improves user experience.
Put differently, relevant and attractive meta titles help increase organic traffic to the website which Google or another search engine uses as a relevant indicator for measuring web page value.
Meta title and H1 heading: Are they the same?
First, we need to establish the difference between meta title (title tag) and H1 heading.
Meta titles are crucial for both searchers and search engines like Google. The purpose of titles is to inform Google and searchers about the webpage topic. On the other hand, H1 Heading is meant for people, and it is shown when they enter the webpage.
A meta title is visible for searchers in the search engine, and it has to engage them to click through. Contrary, the H1 heading (headline of the page) is shown to people who are on the website (website visitors).
SEO plugins, automatically use H1 Heading as a meta title. However, there is an option to edit a meta title of a separate post.
If you write blog posts, it’s better and more practical to create the title and headline the same. Just make sure it is suitable for both searchers and website visitors.
However, when it comes to product pages, the meta title and H1 shouldn’t be identical, so editing the title is necessary. Here, it would be a plus if the product price or discount are mentioned in the meta title, but not in the H1 heading.
What does a strong meta title look like?
Considering all the above mentioned, we can conclude that a meta title has to please both searchers and Google in order to improve SEO page rank.
Hence, when crafting a meta title, we have to follow Google rules and do our best to make it attractive to the users.
First of all, each page should have its unique meta title, so make sure that meta titles describe accurately what the page is about. Relevancy and accuracy are a must.
Also, Use up to 60 characters to make sure searchers will see a complete title.
Let’s see what the best practices are when it comes to creating a strong meta title.
How to choose the right meta title words for more clicks?
When crafting an appealing headline, make a balance among strong, common, uncommon, and emotional words. This way, you attract users, which as a result increases the number of clicks and organic traffic.
Power words increase clickability since they grab users’ attention and encourage them to take an action. They make a headline stand out among thousands of other headlines. A headline should include at least one power word or phrase.
Emotional words also increase clickability and the chance for sharing a page with others. Approximately 10-15% of words in the headline should be emotional.
Common words are those we use commonly. They improve the readability of the headline. 20-30% of words in a headline should be common.
Besides common words, make sure to use uncommon words as well (around 10-20%). They help grab readers’ attention.
In the picture below you will find some examples of each word type.
How to write a meta title considering the topic category of the blog
There are several headline types based on the topic category:
How-to headlines are very common since most searchers are looking for information on how-to-do something. This type of headline is the most sought-after.
Review headlines introduce pros and cons, while comparison headlines focus on comparing different things. The latter is highly effective if you compare things that are important to your audience (pain points).
Both review and comparison headlines are particularly clicked by customers in the purchase decision process.
When making a decision, consumers use a rational mind, compare products and their features, measure pros and cons, etc. That’s the reason why they most likely will click through these headlines during this process.
Last but not least, list headlines. This headline type is very effective in arousing readers’ curiosity. Also, readers can skim the subheads to see if they want to dive in further.
This headline type usually includes a number which is a plus for grabbing readers’ attention. For example, Top 10 Contact Us Page Examples That Experts Use.
List headlines have the most shares on social media.
Headline studio – tool for analyzing and creating strong headlines
Headline Studio is a tool for writing headlines that drive traffic, engagement, and SEO rankings.
Everything you have to do is to type your headline and click the ‘analyze’ button, and the analyzer will provide you with valuable results including both headline score and SEO score.
The headline score can be used in the free version, while the SEO score requires an upgrade.
The headline score section includes:
- suggestions for improving
- word balance (power, common, uncommon, emotional)
- word bank
- word and character count
- readability and clarity
- the type of headline
SEO score includes:
- suggestions for improving
- keyword quality
- keyword density, etc.
What tools and plugins do help create an effective meta title?
When it comes to crafting an effective title tag, choosing tools and plugins plays a crucial role. Let’s take a look at popular SEO plugins and tools.
1. Yoast SEO plugin
Yoast SEO is an SEO plugin used for optimizing WordPress websites for search engines. With this plugin, you can easily set meta titles to all web pages.
It includes an SEO title check that checks two crucial aspects: the width of the meta title and the presence of the keyword in the title. If you include a keyword in the meta title and its width is optimal, you get a green bullet.
Not having a keyword in the title tag harms the ranking in search engines. As mentioned before, for the best ranking results, make sure you put the keyword at the beginning.
For more tips check out the Yoast article about how to use the key phrase in the title.
2. Rank-math SEO Plugin
Rank-math is another great SEO WordPress plugin. The first thing that makes this easy-to-use plugin stand out is the more free features that other plugins offer.
Rank-math offers many features:
- keyword analysis (supports multiple keywords)
- Search Console and Google Analytics
- local SEO
- internal linking suggestion
- setting meta titles and descriptions (creating templates and then adjusting titles and descriptions)
- 404 monitor – (redirecting 404 errors to other webpages), etc.
3. Zippy SEO tools
Zippy tools offer a wide range of valuable features for traffic growth. It provides SEO experiments, title optimization, etc.
Zippy’s title optimizer has an option for launching title experiments, so when you edit a title, Zippy monitors traffic and evaluates if the title change helped increase the traffic.
Good and Bad Examples of meta titles
Let’s take a look at good meta title examples:
First of all, the total number of characters is less than 60, so the width of the meta title is optimized. Also, the keyword phrase (Law WordPress Plugin) is in the beginning.
Keep in mind that you have to conduct keyword research before creating a meta title. This way, you ensure a meta title includes a keyword that people are searching for.
This example is a List headline that creates readers’ curiosity and ensures that the content is easily skimmable.
The headline score in Headline Analyzer Studio is good but we get some suggestions regarding word balance. Analyzer suggests including uncommon, power, and emotional words.
However, keep in mind that titles have to sound natural to readers. Therefore, avoid pushy titles and keyword stuffing.
In this example, it’s perfectly fine not to include those words.
The width of the title tag is good (58 characters), so searches can see the complete title. The keyword phrase (in this case: ‘Headline Analyzer for WordPress’) is not in the very beginning, but it has a good position in the title.
The headline score in the Headline Analyzer Studio is very good.
A list form helps make users curious and increases clickability.
Also, it conveys a positive sentiment, which increases readers’ engagement. (It includes a positive word: best). There is an emotional word: ‘Expert’, and two power words: ‘Best’ and ‘Pick’
And most importantly, The headline’s message is clear and concise.
Now, let’s see the bad example of a meta title:
As you can see, the brand name is in the beginning while the keyword position is at the end. Also, the title is not engaging. It lacks any description which decreases clickability.
CONCLUSION: Creating a strong meta title has double importance
Once we understand that an effective meta title is vitally important for improving search engine ranking and clickability, we’ll start crafting meta titles that appeal to both searchers and the search engine.
These two go hand in hand. A webpage with more clicks will be awarded by Google with a better rank position.
Besides following important rules and tips for best results, always make sure how the title sounds to readers. It has to be compelling and sound natural. Don’t follow all best practices strictly, without considering how it sounds to humans.