Writing Meta Titles

Crafting Successful SEO Page Titles: Components and Best Practices

TL;DR: The page title should accurately reflect the content, include unique information at the front, not use any separator characters, and be between 51-60 characters in length.

The page title is the first thing a user sees when they find your business’ website on a
search engine results page (SERP). Your page title is the name or headline that tells the
user–and search engines–what your page is all about.

This blog post is the first in a series about maximizing your search engine optimization.
Let’s start with page titles and how to optimize them so search engines serve your
website to potential customers on a silver platter!

Why Are SEO Page Titles Important?

You must optimize your page title so that search engines show you as high as possible
on the results page when your future customers search for exactly what you can offer
them. You want to get seen first–by the right audience–and entice them to visit you with
a great page title.

The title also displays prominently in social media shares of your page and in anchor text
by people who link back to your page from other websites. It’s like free advertising when
you write a compelling page title!

Google will sometimes rewrite existing page titles to better match the user’s search
intent. For example, if someone searches for “best restaurants in Ottawa “Google may
add “2023” to the title to make it more relevant. However, sometimes, Google’s changes
can harm your page’s click-through rate (CTR) or SEO. That’s why you want to optimize
your titles yourself: to achieve the best results!

Components of a Successful SEO Page Title

When crafting your page titles, it’s important to consider the following elements:


Unique Information at the Front: 

The most unique information about your page should be at the front of the title.

Look, we’re all short on time these days and want fast, accurate answers to our
questions. When you front-load your SEO title with what makes your webpage special,
after skimming just a few words, readers will know exactly why your page is worth their
time and click through.

In general, unique information also helps Google match your content with precisely the
users who need you, resulting in higher-quality web traffic!

TIP: Don’t forget to include your brand name because seeing your business name is
good for your brand visibility, awareness, and recall.


This is non-negotiable–your page title must accurately reflect the content on your page.
Include keywords that your potential customers are using to search for the information
you have on that page. Otherwise, you’re likely not to get pushed to the right people and
have a high bounce rate. 

A high bounce rate means visitors leave your website after viewing only one page, which
can signal that they didn’t find what they were looking for. Not only does that indicate a
poor user experience, but it means they also didn’t spend much time exploring what your
business has to offer, which is a lost opportunity. 

Search engines will interpret a high bounce rate to mean that your website’s content isn’t
relevant to the user’s search, despite what the page title suggests. Since search
engines’ success is built on delivering the most relevant results to users, it may
decrease your website’s overall visibility.

Minimal Separator Characters:

Google may rewrite your page title if you’re using characters to separate different parts
of it. These characters are usually the bar or pipe, dashes, brackets or parentheses.


A 2022 study showed that Google rewrote page titles and:

  • eliminated the pipe ( | ) 41% of the time
  • Removed dashes 19.7% of the time
  • Completely removed the words between brackets 32.9% of the time
  • Changed the title containing brackets 77.6% of the time
  • Changed a title containing parenthesis 61.9% of the time
  • Completely removed the words between parenthesis 19.7 percent of the time.
    have a high bounce rate. 

Ideal Length:

The recommended length of page titles has changed over time. Google may change
your title if it’s too short, too long, or too similar to other pages on your site. Look at the
sweet-spot character length in green on the chart below!

Page titles should be concise and to the point, typically around 60 characters or less.
Search engines generally display only the first 60 characters on their result pages

Tools to Optimize New Page Titles

Struggling to keep all of these SEO best practices top of mind while writing page titles?
Consider using tools like SEO plugins that will take the work off your plate and advise
you on choosing the optimal page title–before you hit publish.

Yoast SEO plugin: Yoast SEO is a popular WordPress plugin (with a free version!)
that helps you optimize your page titles and meta descriptions for search engines. It
includes a page analysis feature that provides suggestions on how to improve your title
for SEO.

BONUS TOOL: Try asking the famous (and free) AI program ChatGPT to read your
drafted page content and recommend an accurate, search-engine-optimized page title!
You can even copy and paste these specifications into your instructions: 

Summary: The page title should reflect the content with accuracy,
include unique information at the front, not use any separator
characters, and range from 51-60 characters in length.

HOT OFF THE PRESS: A WordPress plugin called AIOSEO integrates with ChatGPT to
generate SEO-friendly headlines and meta descriptions. Full disclosure, we haven’t had
a chance to try it yet!

Tools to Optimize Existing Page Titles

Already have a ton of content on your website? Optimize the titles of your existing pages
to boost quality web traffic! Remember that it might take a little time to see the full effects
on search engine results pages, but the outcomes are worth the wait. Here are some tools you can use:


SEO META IN 1 CLICK: This Google Chrome plugin allows you to see the meta tags of
any webpage quickly. You can also use it to check if Google has rewritten your page

  1. Install the extension: First, install SEO META in 1 CLICK from the Chrome Web Store, then navigate to the webpage with the page title you might want to optimize.

  2. Analyze the meta tags: Click the SEO META in 1 CLICK icon in the Chrome
    toolbar to view the webpage’s meta tags. Look for the page title and analyze it to
    see if it matches our tips (relevancy, unique information at the front, minimal
    keyword separators, and between 51-60 characters).
  3. Update the page title: Once you’ve optimized the page title, update it on your
    website so it’s fully optimized. You can do this manually or use a plugin like
    Yoast SEO on the backend of your content management system.

BONUS TOOL: Just like we recommended for pages yet to be published, ask ChatGPT
to read your existing webpage (just give it the direct link) and recommend you a search
engine-optimized page title!

Optimize Page Titles in Bulk

Screaming Frog: This web tool is useful for auditing your entire website’s page titles.
Here are the steps to use Screaming Frog to optimize for the best SEO page titles:

  1. Crawl your website: First, you need to crawl your website using Screaming
    Frog. This will allow you to get a list of all the pages along with their current page
    titles. Export the results in a CSV file.
  2. Improve the page titles: Open the CSV file in Excel or Google Sheets to update
    the titles. (Remember our tips about putting unique information at the front,
    keeping it around 51-60 words per title, including relevant information, and
    reducing the number of separator characters).
  3. Update the page titles: Once you’ve optimized the page titles, update them on
    your website. You can do this manually or use a plugin if you have a content
    management system like WordPress.

Writing Page Titles for Ecommerce Sites

Do you have an ecommerce website? You might feel overwhelmed by the prospect of
writing page titles for hundreds or thousands of products. In this case, it’s best to
develop a structure that can be applied to all your products. For example, you might
include the product name, brand, collection, and category in the title.

Shopify, for instance, contains built-in SEO features such as the ability to set custom
page titles and meta descriptions for each product, collection and page. The Yoast
plugin for WordPress can also help you with formulaic page titles:

Wrap-Up: Maximizing Page Title SEO

Page titles are a crucial aspect of SEO and can significantly impact how many of your
ideal customers find your business online. 

Remember, to avoid Google rewrites and maximize your page’s visibility in search
results, make sure your page title includes the unique information at the front, accurately

reflects the content, reduces or avoids separator characters, and is the ideal length of
51-60 characters.

Use tools like Yoast SEO to get your page titles right the first time, and use others like
SEO META in 1 CLICK and Screaming Frog to analyze and optimize your existing page

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your SEO with
compelling page titles.

Visit our complete guide for optimizing on-page SEO, or go straight to the next post in
this series to learn about the power of meta descriptions.

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