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Do Title Tags have SEO Value? (The Realities of Title SEO).

Do Title Tags have SEO Value? (The Realities of Title SEO).

Hi, and Welcome,

Lets try and settle some confusion with Title tags.

Many Bloggers use WordPress, The default setting for the headline title in WordPress is H1, and what you do after that is basically left up to you.

Title tags and H1 titles is a very neglected part of SEO, so lets begin with…

Do Title Tags have SEO Value?

The basic premise of any seo value in your titles for most people, is they should convey to the reader what your article is about. The search engines rate title tags, based on whether the content following the title is relevant to the title or the website, explaining what the article or business is about.

There is a difference between titles and title tags. This is getting pedantic. but it is worth knowing.

What’s the Difference? In HTML terms, a Title Tag is expressed as “title” and the H1 Tag is expressed as “H1”. Both serve as titles to describe what your webpage is about. Because both the Title Tag and the H1 Tag share the same broader purpose, it is easy to understand why people confuse them.

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The big difference between title tags and a H1 tags is where they appear.

What is a title tag and where does it appear? In appears in the search pages and in the top bar of the browser. It is the link you can use to bookmark or share.

A H1 tag is what you see at the top of a piece of content, or webpage.

A screenshot of how the article Automate social media posts with Social Rabbit appears in the search results, used in the article, Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
How an article appears in the search pages. The title tag is incomplete, but if you click on this, the title tag will appear complete in your browser window. The H1 tag has been truncated, but will appear complete on the webpage.

The H1 Tag contains the target words for your article. This is the first impression people get when they spot your article in the SERPS.

Without going into an English lesson, it has to clearly state, what the reader will learn by viewing your article.

Ok the H1 above is not complete… But I am offering some temptation to click on the link… “Save…” Save what? maybe someone will want to find out.

Screen shot of a webpage showing Automate Social media Posts with Social Rabbit and Save Hours with this Awesome Plugin, as an example of how a H1 title appears on a webpage, used in the article, Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
How it appears on the webpage.

Despite what you have read and heard, Google’s algorithms for the basic SEO structure are pretty much static, and there is actually plenty of leeway to be creative, without trying to game the process.

Keep in mind that all of your main headings (H2 and H3, H4 etc), should appear in a sequence of importance, so Google and other search engines understand, where you are allocating the importance of your content for the reader.

Get it right and your title tags have more potential SEO value than many people realize.

This is especially important for local businesses and also large company websites, as we will see down further.

Title Tag Length

Your title length can be anything. It can be 500 words if you want it to be.

The only problem is, Google will only show about 60 words in the search pages (my truncated title above is a good example).

Actually the length of the title they show is based on pixels (600px), but around 55 – 60 words is a good rule to follow, if you want the complete H1 title to be displayed.

Screenshot of the measurement of my title  in a app for title size in pixels and word count. Used in the article,  Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
Free Pixel measurement tool by SearchWilderness.

The title of this article “Do Title Tags have SEO Value? (The Realities of Title SEO).” is 58 (a space counts as a word).

Screenshot analysis of the title of this article, used in this article,  Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
Some people like to use an seo title checker. There is a free one here Some SEO plugins include them in their suite of “tools” as well.

Most importantly it must make sense.

Especially if you become involved with local business websites.

It clearly needs to explain what the article is about and what information you can expect to find.

Keywords in Titles

Lets dissect this article. My H1title keyword is a question. Ok, it is what is known as a longtail keyword.

Obviously the main part of that keyword is:- “Do title tags have SEO value.

This could easily be a question someone types into a Google search.

The extension, includes a secondary keyword, “Title SEO“, which could also be something someone types into a Google search.

Google (and other SE’s), use these words to figure out what the website / article / blog post is about, and whether it should display this to the person who used those terms in a search query.

This is why you need relevant information in the Title, or Header of the page / post. As I say often, the search engines are like librarians. Only they are much quicker at finding stuff and presenting it to you. Like, in milli seconds.

They don’t always get it right though.

screenshot of a travel site in the Google searches, used in the article Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
Not really telling me much. One feature, no benefits. No keywords.

Lets look at a couple of businesses and see how they set up their webpage with title tags and meta descriptions.

Two examples below, which would you pick?

Screenshot of a travel company showing its H1 Title and meta tag, used in the article, Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
This tells me alot. Benefit after benefit after benefit. ie: Keywords in the H1 title and meta data.

If you were doing a search for a holiday, would you search for “Best deals on hotels, flights or cruises” or someone who wants to be your travel agent?

The meta description is important too. There are some who will argue with this, but I don’t care.

I want Free changes and cancellations, price match guarantees, and to save money on flights and hotels.

Which one is offering me those ?

So say what needs to be said, as best you can in about 150 – 160. words.

payhip

The above is just one example. Below is a screenshot of the analytics on a couple of articles I recently did.

First Impressions count:

  • Note the truncated H1 title on both listings, then look at the first words in the meta descriptions below.
  • One starts with Wander Wisely, and follows up with a keyword.
  • The other has its business name and something vague. Really a wasted opportunity to sell themselves with both, their title tags and meta description.

Still there is debate about title tag optimization. But surely you have more scope by being unique.

There is a lot of debate as to whether you need to write unique info for your Title Tag and H1 Tag. However, the general consensus amongst experts (including Rand Fishkin of Moz) is, that it isn’t dangerous to have your Title Tag be the same as your H1 Tag.

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Whatever else you may have heard or read about Search Engine Optimization, you are able to be creative without gaming the system.

How Many H1 tags Should be Used ?

As far as SEO is concerned, there are debates (more debates!), whether or not multiple H1 tags helps you rank higher.

I look at it this way:- Make it easy for the search engines. Clear, concise and relevant to the content below it. Don’t be confusing.

It is generally accepted to be a giant no-no to have more than one H1 tag, because it can come across as spam, and negatively affecting Google rating.

As a rule of thumb only one H1 should be used. Having one H1 tag that creates a clear, direct outline about your article.

Leaving no room for confusion is what works best.

My suggestion is, stick with a Singular H1.

You might be thinking copywriters use a lot of H1 titles in their content.

However I have yet to see a magazine style, or newspaper style copywritten advertisement, in the google searches.

In emails sure… I have seen lots of them.

But if your copy writing online then follow best practices, and use H1 for the title the H2 and H3 for the headings.

Some people use a H1 with a picture then H2 for all paragraph headings, as they consider each paragraph is of equal importance with the previous.

Some like me, use a H1 title, a H2 for the opening paragraph then H3 (sometimes H4), for subsequent paragraphs. This is my default method.

Screenshot of my analytics on the positions of the Social Rabbit plugin article and the Rank Math vs All In One SEO article, used in the article, Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
Results using my default method. Article here.

Although this is not set in stone, I like to think I am adaptable and can accept a different view.

They two examples above are both acceptable to the search engines, as are other variations.

If for instance you were doing a comparison review between products. You could have H1 tags as headlines for each product headline in your content.

As usual there will always be debate, but keeping it simple has always worked.

How to Structure your Titles

Screen shot of a newspaper showing the styles of headlines they use. Used in the article Do Title Tags have SEO Value?
Headline styles common the Newspapers. Pic Courtesy of Grammar Dictionary

What I do not do, and after looking at many listings in the Google searches, is use all caps.

It looks spammy, it is poor etiquette.

You are shouting.

I basically use the same style headlines as a Newspaper would. Occasionally I may have one word that is all capitals for emphasis.

You may be different, but often when I see a headline in all caps, I stop to think if I should open it or not.

Usually I won’t, and if I do, I generally have my suspicions confirmed, and find I am looking at a page that is not offering much in the way of information.

A couple of SEO title examples :-

  1. Cap the first letter of most words (except conjunctions). How to Escape the Summer Heat
  2. Cap the first letter of title only. How to escape the summer heat.

One other that works, is having all caps on an emphasis word. How to ESCAPE the Summer Heat.

Now if someone asks you what is title tag optimization, you can give them an answer. ?

That is about all there is to it.

Four Things to Remember with Titles and Content.

  1. You are writing for Humans, not search engines. As I mentioned above, you can be creative and still be indexed and rank well. Just write normally without trying to game the system.
  2. Make sure your H1 title tags are Unique ! Ok there is a lot of discussion about duplicate content, and titles. But that is a topic on its own. I like to think of the search engines as a librarian, So for each new article, create a new H1 title. You can still target the same or similar keywords. Be creative, your allowed to be.
  3. Make sure all your pages have a title tag. The search engines crawl your whole site, so give every page a title tag.
  4. Do not use your business name in a H1 title. It is a waste of words. Your product or subject, is a far better use of resources for SEO. Besides Google automatically adds your H1 title to your website name.

Thanks for reading, It is not so hard after all…eh? ?

Michael.

You can also follow me on Medium.

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