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SEO Tips: Improve your site ranking with better meta titles

Let's get straight to the point here: buying a website and not using appropriate meta title tags on your pages is like owning a shopfront and not putting signage above the door. People who could well be interested in the contents within will be blissfully unaware that you have anything on offer.

So, it's highly important that you get your title tags right. Join us as we delve into the best practices for setting strong foundations for your pages. Our guide covers the following areas:

  • Home pages
  • Interior pages
  • Advanced knowledge

Make sure to check out our blog on meta descriptions as well, so you can ensure that your meta elements match up and send strong relevance signals to Google. You should also have made sure to carry out some keyword research as essential groundwork.

An optimised page title "...creates value in three specific areas: relevancy, browsing, and in the search engine results pages." – Moz

Emergency plumber result

As your umbrella term will be included on most pages – more on that next – the intention here is to brand your website with a key term that people will use when searching for your type of business. Substantially more people will search for "plumbers in Edinburgh" rather than "plumbing services in Edinburgh", so it makes sense to follow their lead.

Our Services results

The big guns like John Lewis can get away with it. The only people who can use the internet and don't know what IKEA provides have more than likely sustained a serious head injury in the last twelve months.

But as a small business owner, you can't afford to be vague about what you do. Firstly, think about it again from the perspective of the naïve customer: if you walked into an unfamiliar supermarket and the signs above the aisles all read "Our Products", it would make for an incredibly annoying shopping experience. Not using a relevant keyword phrase in your page title is basically the same thing.

Secondly, consider that Google and other search engines crawl your website and factor in your page title. If they don't clearly understand what you do, then they won't show your page to the right searches. We're probably agreed that this is a bad thing?

So, once you've found the relevant term using keyword research, you should format your title something like this:

Boiler repair result

Note that the umbrella term "Emergency Plumbers" is still included right after the interior page's title to help establish all pages on the site as plumbing-related.


Advanced Knowledge: Optimising Page Titles

Got all that straight in your mind? Good. Now, forget part of it. Chances are that if any of the elements in your page title –service keyword, location, or company name – are of a largish size, your title will fall outside of an optimised limit, as demonstrated above. Note how the ellipsis cuts off the "...Plumbing UK" element that was present on the home page title earlier.

For best results, you should try to keep your page title to 55 characters or below. Industry research on the revealed that Google were altering significant amounts of title tags displayed in SERPs to fall within the 50-59 character limit.

This came about due to the latest SERPs redesign by Google, which slightly altered the specifics of optimised titles – not so much “shifting the goalposts” as changing their composition slightly. We won’t go into the mechanics, which have been researched more in depth by the likes of Moz.

What you should know is that the most recent update changed several factors, most notably the SERPs limit is now based on a pixel count rather than a character count. The important info is that relevant titles of 55 characters have a 95% chance of remaining intact, and this number approaches 100% as the number of characters decreases.


Free SEO Tools

Luckily, there are tools available to help you check your site optimisation parameters. You can use this SERPs preview tool from Portent to see how your future search engine results will work out: it covers the size basics for both page titles and meta descriptions.

Then there’s the excellent title guidelines with preview tool from Moz, which also factors in the impact of longer search queries. As matching search terms are displayed in bold, this necessarily has an effect on pixel width of SERPs displays.

Finally, for those of you who embrace technology and would like to give all of your pages a quick once-over, the invaluable Screaming Frog SEO spider calculates the pixel width of page titles. It also checks meta descriptions and has a SERP snippet simulator, so our Search Consultants recommend it highly for full site audits.


Trendzer's Top Tips

  • Keep control over how your company is represented in search engine results by making your page titles 55 characters or less
  • Ensure your company name is near the end of your page title – if there is any cut-off, it will only be your brand name which should still be apparent elsewhere
  • Omit any duplicated or redundant info – e.g. your could probably stand to lose your umbrella term on a page with a similar page title, like the below example

Umbrella term example

Follow our guidelines and your pages should all be strongly set up for both search engines and human users.

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