Google's most recent results page layout changes meant more than just a search experience update. With the change came adjustments to how each individual result is displayed, which may almost certainly necessitate a refresh for a core search engine optimization (SEO) element: the venerable title tag.
A title tag tells both users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is. ... If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title tag will usually appear in the first line of the results ... This can help users recognize if the page is likely to be relevant to their search.
Tip 1: The Long
Much has been debated over the maximum length of a title tag. Review the mean recommendations of 10 different online resources and theaverage is around the 65-70 character mark.
Tip 2: The Short
So if there's a maximum length, is there a minimum number of characters or character width? Although there's always discussion on title maximum, the minimum length of the title tag is a challenge of a couple of factors:
Tip 3: The Start
There's nothing worse than missing an opportunity. The key in the search results is to start out strong, lead with your best foot, and connect with the search query to inspire the click.
Tip 4: The Big Bold Bit
It's not just bravado. Nothing draws the eye more than contrast.
Tip 5: The Switch Hitter
Do a search for [homes for sale] and you'll see results with title tags that don't include an exact query match. Why?
Tip 6: The Big Click
A title tag, when used as the clickable part of a search result, should not only be clickable, it should inspire clicks through some kind of call to action.
Tip 7: The Stand Out
You may not be top of page, but that doesn't mean you can't be top of mind! Don't underestimate the ability of a title tag to help you stand out from the crowd.
Tip 8: The Databank
There's many ways to stand out, just as there's many ways to organize both the format and structure of your title tags.
Tip 9: The Brand
I've seen a fair amount of dissension in the SEO industry around "to brand or not to brand" your title tags. That highlights the fact that's there is no definitive answer, and no proof of the inclusion of brand keywords in the title tag having any additional lift from an SEO standpoint.
Tip 10: The Reality
Google can show whatever they like, and will. Do a brand search and you'll see a massively truncated result. This is based on user intent on navigational queries when Google thinks they know what you're looking for.
Bonus Tip: The Power Tag
In the 10 tips above I touch on the best or better practices for title tag formatting, SERP display, and click through, but the lowly title tag goes far beyond just these.