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How to Write the Perfect Page Title With SEO in Mind

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If you’re asking “what is a page title in SEO?” and wondering how it can work for you, you’re not alone.

Whether you write your page title first or save the best for last, your business relies on the impact of a great headline.

After all, over 50% of shoppers use Google to discover or find new brands. If they’re researching online, your audience is scanning to find what they’re looking for. So, let’s talk about how page titles impact SEO.

Many experts say that the page title is an important on-page factor for SEO. But which page title are they talking about?

In this post, we’ll cover:

Before we dig into the details, let’s talk about the terms we’re using.

A title tag is what’s going to show up in the browser tab and (most likely) the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Title tag example: HubSpot, “What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

If your main goal is improving your click-through rate (CTR), this is a great resource to learn more about optimizing your title tags.

H1 is an HTML heading, and it’s usually the largest and most important heading on a web page. The page title appears on the page itself and is often denoted using H1 style coding.

H1 example, HubSpot, Page view of “What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]”

So, a page title could refer to either the title tag or the H1, depending on where you publish your website content. Other phrases that you may see instead of “page title” include:

  • Browser title
  • SEO title
  • Blog title

This can be confusing. If you’re new to search engine optimization, it’s probably part of the reason why you’re asking about page titles in SEO.

For clarity, in this article we’ll use “page title” to talk about H1s, and “title tag” when talking about the title in the SERPs.

As you keep reading, keep in mind that what you call the page title is less important than what it can do.

Why Are Page Titles Important for SEO?

If page titles don’t show up on SERPs directly, why are they important for SEO? Because a strong page title can improve SEO on your site and improve the user experience because of its prominence on the page.

The page title sits at the top of the post. It can tell your reader what your post is about and draw them into reading the full article.

The page title has the power to lure and entice readers without having to compete with ads, snippets, and featured images the way that the title tag does.

There are a few other reasons that your page title is important for search engine optimization.

1. Page titles help users and search engines understand what your page is about.

According to Search Engine Journal, Google uses the page title to find out the content and structure of the page. This information relates directly to page rank.

Your page title helps search engines decide if your web page satisfies search intent. It can more completely answer a user’s question.

2. They reassure users that they’ve found what they’re searching for.

While title tags tell users what a page contains, this tag doesn’t appear on the page. So, the page title confirms that they are in the right place. This creates a better experience for the people visiting your site. Google’s guidelines also say that user experience is a ranking factor.

3. A page title can confirm page content if Google revises your title tag.

Google explains why they don’t always use the title tag in SERP results. Sometimes they use the page title instead.

Google doesn’t always use the title tag to generate the title that you see in the SERPs, and your page title is another way that you can tell readers and search engines what your page is about.

4. They keep readers engaged and on your page.

A great page title can help cut down bounce rates and increase time on the page. This is because a visitor who quickly finds what they are looking for on your site is more likely to engage with your post by clicking to other pages on your site and to spend more time reading your content.

While this data isn’t a direct ranking factor, both low bounce rates and dwell time are important for SEO because they show Google that your page contains high-quality content.

Page Title SEO Examples

In these examples, you can see major differences between the page title and title tag.

1.Copyblogger

This page title from Copyblogger leads you into their article by pinpointing an important what and when.

Page title SEO example: Copyblogger,

The title tag is missing the when, but its inclusion in the page title will ensure that this page shows up in the right SERPs.

Title tag example: Copyblogger,

2. Ahrefs

This title tag from Ahrefs uses the term “beginner’s guide” to stand out in the SERPs.

Title tag example: Ahrefs, “Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs”

They simplify the offer once you click on the article.

Page title SEO example: Ahrefs, “How to Do Keyword Research for SEO”

3. Essence

This page title stands out on the SERPs with fun adjectives that show what makes this listicle unique.

Title tag, Essence: “25 Stylish Bloggers Who Are Slaying This Summer”

Once readers click into the page, Essence expands the title to emphasize the fun, summery vibe.

Page title SEO example, Essence: “Blogger Beach Babes: 25 Stylish Bloggers Who Are Slaying This Summer”

4. Fast Company

This title tag stands out because it targets a problem and how to solve it.

Fast Company, “Best activity tools and tips for hybrid teams”

Fast Company adds 2022 to the page title to show freshness. They also use a story in the subheading to draw readers into their content.

Page title SEO example: Fast Company, “Here are the best productivity tools and tips for hybrid teams in 2022”

Now, you might be wondering, “How can I get started?” Below, let’s review the best practices to keep in mind when writing SEO page titles.

How to Create SEO Page Titles That Stand Out

1. Include relevant keywords.

While you don’t want to stuff your page titles with keywords, it’s still a good idea to include your primary keyword.

If you can, putting it near the front can help search engines and users figure out what your page is about quickly.

SERP examples for the keyword “How to write great headlines” to help users understand what is a page title in SEO.

If you can’t include your primary keyword, you should try to include a variant of your keyword that satisfies search intent.

2. Write for the user.

Your content should be written for the reader, not for the search engine.

This means that your page title should offer something useful to your reader. Usually this will be information that helps them better understand a problem or brings them closer to a solution. You might also want to spark their emotions.

3. Try long sentences, but pay attention to length.

If you’re using competitive keywords, a long headline is often more effective. In fact, according to a Backlinko content study from 2020, 14-17 word headlines bring 76.7% more social shares than short headlines.

Page titles don’t have the strict character limits that keep a title tag from getting cut off in the SERPs. While you don’t need to worry about Google cutting your title off, for a page title to be useful for SEO it should still stick to around 60-70 characters.

Your page title should be long enough to entice the reader, but short enough to make the meaning and purpose of the page clear to both users and search engines.

4. Don’t be repetitive or stuff keywords.

Your page titles shouldn’t include multiple versions of the same keyword phrases.

A great example of a bad page title is “Toaster, toaster oven, kitchen toaster, college toaster, 8 slice toaster, bagel toaster | Chris’ Toaster Emporium”.

Titles like this promote worst practices and often lead to having the same page titles used across most (if not all) of the pages on your site.

Plus, it doesn’t help users understand what’s on the page.

5. Don’t put your company name at the front.

In most cases, your website will already rank high for your company name.

Leverage the fact that search engines give more weight to the words that appear at the beginning of a page title. Form your titles using your keyword phrases first, and then your company name if it makes sense.

6. Be specific.

Every page on your site should have a specific purpose. It’s easy to create a unique page title for a blog. But ecommerce and business sites often run into repetition.

Great page title SEO on this example from West Elm page title reads “Your outdoor oasis awaits” while the title tag reads “Modern Outdoor Furniture” to show the intent of the page.

Unique page titles help prevent traffic cannibalization. Cannibalizing happens when two pages from the same domain rank for the same keyword and are stealing traffic from each other. With unique page titles, you’re less likely to create pages that Google believes are serving the same keywords.

To improve your page titles, think about the specifics of the page in front of you, and try to describe it.

For example, if a page is just about “toasters”, the title should include your keywords centered on toasters. Don’t add generic keyword phrases like “kitchen appliances.”

7. Get some help.

Writing a great page title used to take a lot of practice and testing. But you can speed up the process by taking advantage of useful tools and templates to create original and high-performing page titles.

If you enjoy the process of writing, try one of these headline analyzer tools:

Another option is to use a blog topic research tool that also offers great headlines. If this idea appeals to you, try using the HubSpot Blog Ideas Generator.

SEO isn’t easy.

While writing titles can be hard, it doesn’t have to be. Once you’ve mastered the art of SEO page titles, you can focus on other strategies that can drive traffic to your site.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2010 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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1 Comment

  1. JANE PAULINE LABININAY

    May 11, 2022 at 7:13 am

    These is constructive tips, As I am into engaging SEOs also. Thank you! 🙂

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MARKETING

45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

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45 Free Content Writing Tools to Love [for Writing, Editing & Content Creation]

Creating content isn’t always a walk in the park. (In fact, it can sometimes feel more like trying to swim against the current.)

While other parts of business and marketing are becoming increasingly automated, content creation is still a very manual job. (more…)

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

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How data clean rooms might help keep the internet open

Are data clean rooms the solution to what IAB CEO David Cohen has called the “slow-motion train wreck” of addressability? Voices at the IAB will tell you that they have a big role to play.

“The issue with addressability is that once cookies go away, and with the loss of identifiers, about 80% of the addressable market will become unknown audiences which is why there is a need for privacy-centric consent and a better consent-value exchange,” said Jeffrey Bustos, VP, measurement, addressability and data at the IAB.

“Everyone’s talking about first-party data, and it is very valuable,” he explained, “but most publishers who don’t have sign-on, they have about 3 to 10% of their readership’s first-party data.” First-party data, from the perspective of advertisers who want to reach relevant and audiences, and publishers who want to offer valuable inventory, just isn’t enough.

Why we care. Two years ago, who was talking about data clean rooms? The surge of interest is recent and significant, according to the IAB. DCRs have the potential, at least, to keep brands in touch with their audiences on the open internet; to maintain viability for publishers’ inventories; and to provide sophisticated measurement capabilities.

How data clean rooms can help. DCRs are a type of privacy-enhancing technology that allows data owners (including brands and publishers) to share customer first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. Clean rooms are secure spaces where first-party data from a number of sources can be resolved to the same customer’s profile while that profile remains anonymized.

In other words, a DCR is a kind of Switzerland — a space where a truce is called on competition while first-party data is enriched without compromising privacy.

“The value of a data clean room is that a publisher is able to collaborate with a brand across both their data sources and the brand is able to understand audience behavior,” said Bestos. For example, a brand selling eye-glasses might know nothing about their customers except basic transactional data — and that they wear glasses. Matching profiles with a publisher’s behavioral data provides enrichment.

“If you’re able to understand behavioral context, you’re able to understand what your customers are reading, what they’re interested in, what their hobbies are,” said Bustos. Armed with those insights, a brand has a better idea of what kind of content they want to advertise against.

The publisher does need to have a certain level of first-party data for the matching to take place, even if it doesn’t have a universal requirement for sign-ins like The New York Times. A publisher may be able to match only a small percentage of the eye-glass vendor’s customers, but if they like reading the sports and arts sections, at least that gives some directional guidance as to what audience the vendor should target.

Dig deeper: Why we care about data clean rooms

What counts as good matching? In its “State of Data 2023” report, which focuses almost exclusively on data clean rooms, concern is expressed that DCR efficacy might be threatened by poor match rates. Average match rates hover around 50% (less for some types of DCR).

Bustos is keen to put this into context. “When you are matching data from a cookie perspective, match rates are usually about 70-ish percent,” he said, so 50% isn’t terrible, although there’s room for improvement.

One obstacle is a persistent lack of interoperability between identity solutions — although it does exist; LiveRamp’s RampID is interoperable, for example, with The Trade Desk’s UID2.

Nevertheless, said Bustos, “it’s incredibly difficult for publishers. They have a bunch of identity pixels firing for all these different things. You don’t know which identity provider to use. Definitely a long road ahead to make sure there’s interoperability.”

Maintaining an open internet. If DCRs can contribute to solving the addressability problem they will also contribute to the challenge of keeping the internet open. Walled gardens like Facebook do have rich troves of first-party and behavioral data; brands can access those audiences, but with very limited visibility into them.

“The reason CTV is a really valuable proposition for advertisers is that you are able to identify the user 1:1 which is really powerful,” Bustos said. “Your standard news or editorial publisher doesn’t have that. I mean, the New York Times has moved to that and it’s been incredibly successful for them.” In order to compete with the walled gardens and streaming services, publishers need to offer some degree of addressability — and without relying on cookies.

But DCRs are a heavy lift. Data maturity is an important qualification for getting the most out of a DCR. The IAB report shows that, of the brands evaluating or using DCRs, over 70% have other data-related technologies like CDPs and DMPs.

“If you want a data clean room,” Bustos explained, “there are a lot of other technological solutions you have to have in place before. You need to make sure you have strong data assets.” He also recommends starting out by asking what you want to achieve, not what technology would be nice to have. “The first question is, what do you want to accomplish? You may not need a DCR. ‘I want to do this,’ then see what tools would get you to that.”

Understand also that implementation is going to require talent. “It is a demanding project in terms of the set-up,” said Bustos, “and there’s been significant growth in consulting companies and agencies helping set up these data clean rooms. You do need a lot of people, so it’s more efficient to hire outside help for the set up, and then just have a maintenance crew in-house.”

Underuse of measurement capabilities. One key finding in the IAB’s research is that DCR users are exploiting the audience matching capabilities much more than realizing the potential for measurement and attribution. “You need very strong data scientists and engineers to build advanced models,” Bustos said.

“A lot of brands that look into this say, ‘I want to be able to do a predictive analysis of my high lifetime value customers that are going to buy in the next 90 days.’ Or ‘I want to be able to measure which channels are driving the most incremental lift.’ It’s very complex analyses they want to do; but they don’t really have a reason as to why. What is the point? Understand your outcome and develop a sequential data strategy.”

Trying to understand incremental lift from your marketing can take a long time, he warned. “But you can easily do a reach and frequency and overlap analysis.” That will identify wasted investment in channels and as a by-product suggest where incremental lift is occurring. “There’s a need for companies to know what they want, identify what the outcome is, and then there are steps that are going to get you there. That’s also going to help to prove out ROI.”

Dig deeper: Failure to get the most out of data clean rooms is costing marketers money


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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

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Ascend | DigitalMarketer

At this stage, your goal is to generate repeat buys and real profits. While your entry-point offer was designed for conversions, your ascension offers should be geared for profits—because if you’re serving your customers well, they’ll want to buy again and again.

Ascension offers may be simple upsells made after that initial purchase… bigger, better solutions… or “done for you” add-ons.

So now we must ask ourselves, what is our core flagship offer and how do we continue to deliver value after the first sale is made? What is the thing that we are selling? 

How we continue to deliver value after the first sale is really important, because having upsells and cross sales gives you the ability to sell to customers you already have. It will give you higher Average Customer values, which is going to give you higher margins. Which means you can spend more to acquire new customers. 

Why does this matter? It matters because of this universal law of marketing and customer acquisition, he or she who is able and willing to spend the most to acquire a customer wins.

Very often the business with the best product messaging very often is the business that can throw the most into customer acquisition. Now there are two ways to do that.

The first way is to just raise a lot of money. The problem is if you have a lot of money, that doesn’t last forever. At some point you need economics. 

The second way, and the most timeless and predictable approach, is to simply have the highest value customers of anyone in your market. If your customers are worth more to you than they are to your competitors, you can spend more to acquire them at the same margin. 

If a customer is worth twice as much to you than it is to your competitor, you can spend twice as much trying to acquire them to make the same margin. You can invest in your customer acquisition, because your customers are investing in your business. You can invest in your customer experiences, and when we invest more into the customer we build brands that have greater value. Meaning, people are more likely to choose you over someone else, which can actually lower acquisition costs. 

Happy customers refer others to us, which is called zero dollar customer acquisition, and generally just ensures you’re making a bigger impact. You can invest more in the customer experience and customer acquisition process if you don’t have high margins. 

If you deliver a preview experience, you can utilize revenue maximizers like up sells, cross sales, and bundles. These are things that would follow up the initial sale or are combined with the initial sale to increase the Average Customer Value.

The best example of an immediate upsell is the classic McDonalds, “would you like fries with that?” You got just a burger, do you also want fries with that? 

What distinguishes an upsell from other types of follow up offers is the upsell promise, the same end result for a bigger and better end result. 

What’s your desired result when you go to McDonalds? It’s not to eat healthy food, and it’s not even to eat a small amount of food. When you go to McDonalds your job is to have a tasty, greasy, predictable inexpensive meal. No one is going there because it’s healthy, you’re going there because you want to eat good. 

It’s predictable. It’s not going to break the bank for a hamburger, neither will adding fries or a Coke. It’s the same experience, but it’s BIGGER and BETTER. 

Amazon does this all of the time with their “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought …” But this one is algorithmic. The point of a cross sell is that it is relevant to the consumer, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be aligned with the original purchase. What you don’t want to do is start someone down one path and confuse them.

You can make this process easy with Bundles and Kits. With a bundle or a kit you’re essentially saying to someone, “you can buy just one piece, or you can get this bundle that does all of these other things for a little bit more. And it’s a higher value.”

The idea behind bundles and kits is that we are adding to the primary offer, not offering them something different. We’re simply promising to get them this desired result in higher definition. 

The Elements of High-Converting Revenue Maximizers (like our bundles and kits) are:

  1. Speed

If you’re an e-Commerce business, selling a physical product, this can look like: offering free shipping for orders $X or more. We’re looking to get your customers the same desired result, but with less work for them.

  1. Automation

If you’re a furniture business, and you want to add a Revenue Maximizer, this can look like: Right now for an extra $X our highly trained employees will come and put this together for you. 

  1. Access 

People will pay for speed, they’ll pay for less work, but they will also pay for a look behind the curtain. Think about the people who pay for Backstage Passes. Your customers will pay for a VIP experience just so they can kind of see how everything works. 

Remember, the ascension stage doesn’t have to stop. Once you have a customer, you should do your best to make them a customer for life. You should continue serving them. Continue asking them, “what needs are we still not meeting” and seek to meet those needs. 

It is your job as a marketer to seek out to discover these needs, to bring these back to the product team, because that’s what’s going to enable you to fully maximize the average customer value. Which is going to enable you to have a whole lot more to spend to acquire those customers and make your job a whole lot easier. 

Now that you understand the importance of the ascend stage, let’s apply it to our examples.

Hazel & Hem could have free priority shipping over $150, a “Boutique Points” reward program with exclusive “double point” days to encourage spending, and an exclusive “Stylist Package” that includes a full outfit custom selected for the customer. 

Cyrus & Clark can retain current clients by offering an annual strategic plan, “Done for You” Marketing services that execute on the strategic plan, and the top tier would allow customers to be the exclusive company that Cyrus & Clark services in specific geographical territories.



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