4 quick tips about page titles
- The page title is very important for SEO because it's visible on the SERP, used as an image caption in Google Image Search, and visible when pages are shared on social media
- Write for humans first, but include a keyword-driven topic early in the page title if possible
- Provide a unique, descriptive page title for every web page
- Use a SERP preview tool to visualize your page title
The page title not only appears at the top of a web browser tab but also on the search engine results pages (SERPs) as the blue link that users click on. Page titles often give search engine users their first impression of your website. Page titles will also display as the headline when your page is shared on social media.
The blue link below shows what the current Page Title for our page about how Google search works looks like on a Google SERP:
Page titles are also used as image captions in Google Image Search so that users can have more context and decide whether the web page is likely to have more content relevant to their search.
Best Practices for Writing Page Titles
Best practice suggests that you have a strong, keyword-driven topic at the front of the page title and branding at the end. Search engines give more weight to words at the beginning of page titles.
However, it is important to write a page title that sounds natural. Always remember: you’re writing for people first, search engines second.
Only target one primary topic in the page title. It can be helpful to write your page title after the page content is finished.
While similar to the function of the <code><h1></code> tag, the page title should be unique and should not exactly match the <code><h1></code> tag. First, because it’s a chance to delight users who click through from the SERP by giving them additional context for your page (as opposed to showing them the same phrase twice).
Second, because Google doesn’t always use the page title as the blue link. This Google Search Central blog article explains how Google generates the web page titles it displays on SERPs. If your page title and <code><h1></code> are variations on a theme you’re providing multiple optimized options, which could give you an edge depending on the exact search query someone types.
Optimizing Page Title Length
The best practice for page title length is around 55-70 characters (including spaces). Longer, and your title will get cut off with an ellipsis (…). Shorter, and you’re missing out on an opportunity to include keywords and/or take up space on the SERPs that will help attract more eyes to your result.
To get technical, search engines actually use pixels to determine how page titles display on the results pages, so there is some flexibility in number of characters as some are wider than others. Avoid using ALL CAPS for page titles because it looks spammy and wastes pixel width.
We recommend crafting your page titles using a SERP Preview Tool. Remember to check how your page titles look on smartphones too (use the device menu in the preview tool).
Best Practices for Implementing Page Titles
- Create a unique page title tag for each page on your site. Here’s why it matters:
- Unique page titles help search engines and human users distinguish differences in content between pages on your site.
- GA4 uses page titles by default to identify pages.
- Duplicate or missing page titles are useless, and Google will likely opt to create a page title using other content on the page.
- For large websites, work with a developer to dynamically generate batches of title tags, for example title tags for hundreds of product pages.
- Example: [Product Name] Ships Free from The Gift Shop (this is also an example of including your brand at the end of title tags)
Some website CMS are configured to use the <code><H1></code> or other element(s) to generate a page title. Don’t rely on this automation. Research how to access and edit page titles in your CMS.