How to Create an SEO Title That Will Get You Views

Updated on June 19, 2018
Natalie Frank profile image

Natalie Frank, a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, is the Managing Editor for Novellas & Serials at LVP Publishers. She also publishes fiction.

Titles and the associated title tags are crucial for providing users with a fast insight into what an article is about and how it answers their query. It is usually the main piece of information a user considers when deciding which result to open. So making sure you are using high quality titles for your content is one of the most important things you can do to increase rankings and views. The title of your article or webpage should be an accurate and brief description of what it discusses. It’s main function is to provide information about the content of your article to search engines so they will select your page as a resources when related searches are conducted.

SEO Title Tags

You may have heard the term title tag. These tags are simply html code used to generate the clickable link at the top of an article listing for a given result. They are important for a number of reasons including the usability of the site, search engine optimization (SEO) as well as for social sharing. If you generate a strong SEO title then the associated SEO title tag will also be strong. The title tag is something many people don’t have to worry about since for many blogging and article platforms including Hubpages, the title tag is automatically handled by the site.

The title tag looks like this in HTML code:

<title>Title Goes Here</title>

Here’s how Google shows the title tag in the form of a clickable link:

How Google displays title tags
How Google displays title tags

Purpose of an SEO Title

There are two general purposes of making sure you have a well written and effective SEO title. These are:

  1. To help you rank for your main keyword

  2. To make the searcher want to click on your article

These two goals are related but one does not ensure the other. Just because you achieve one of these goals doesn’t necessarily mean you achieve the other. It is possible to have many people clicking on your title link but have a low ranking as it is possible to have a high ranking and not have many people clicking on your article. However, it is also likely over time, even if you start with a high ranking, if not enough people view your article that the rating will begin to decrease.

One thing that Google uses to determine your ranking is the click through rate (CTR), viewing this as a measure of how relevant you are for your main keyword. Based on your current ranking, Google creates expectations of what your CTR should be. If it is too low your rankings will drop. If your title gets people to click then your rank will rise.

So to summarize, Google sets a rank based on the information communicated by your title. Based on the rank, it then determines what your click through rate should be. Over time, if your click through rate is lower than expected your rank will drop while if your CTR is higher than expected your rank will likely rise.

While search engines make sure your article is seen, it is the user that is the most important consideration when writing titles. Including keywords in your titles is important, but make sure to consider your title in the context of how it motivates the user to view your article.

Tips for Creating Searchable Titles and Title Tags to Increase Views

There are a number of best practices you can follow when creating your title to help increase your traffic. While this isn't an exhaustive list, the suggestions listed here should help you create titles that will get the attention of users and search engines alike.

  • Watch your title length - Sometimes search engines cut off long titles with an ellipses. This means words important to making your article stand out to readers may be left out. Generally, try to keep your titles under 60 characters in length but also keep in mind the exact limit is complicated by the different widths of letters. For example, the letters W and M, especially uppercase, take up more room than lowercase l and i.
  • Don’t use ALL CAPS for titles. They are hard for readers to process quickly and due to each of the letters being larger will limit how many characters a search engine will display.

  • Titles don’t need to read like complete sentences. You can leave out words like "and", "if", or "but,” as they add no value and increase the character count.

  • Include keywords that are highly relevant to the content of your article. Readers are more likely to click on and read to the end of articles with titles that incorporate keywords that are clear, appropriate, and let the viewer quickly determine that the article is what they are searching for. Keywords also help search engines comprehend what the article discusses and assign your article to the appropriate index topic.

  • Put important keywords first. From what the research shows, keywords that are closer to the beginning of your title may more positively impact your search rankings. Other research suggests that people may only scan the first two or three words of a title before deciding to click or move onto the next result. Also, since search engines may truncate your title, if you put your focus keyword at the end it may not appear.

  • Include action verbs that increase the users interest such as “learn about,” “how to,” or “find out secrets.”

  • Create a title that tells how you will answer a users question.

  • There is a large amount of competition for practically every subject imaginable on the internet so make sure your titles are unique. Unique information should also go close to the beginning of the title.

  • Be sure to go back in and consider changing your page titles to fully optimize them whenever you update your article

  • Once you have changed a title leave it alone for 2 months before considering whether to change it again. It can take that long for and search engine to change their rankings to reflect the new title. You want to tweak your title until you find one that results in the best rankings.

  • Make sure to keep up with what is available regarding changes to the google algorithm. This will enable you to determine how you can best update your titles to increase users engagement with your articles.

Concluding Thoughts

Many writers believe that if they just create quality content, putting a lot of effort into learning SEO techniques isn’t necessary. However, while the tips presented here may seem too set or structured, these strategies including how to write a good SEO title can greatly increase your views. The primary goal of writing an effective title is to catch the eye of the user so they will choose your article over your competition’s.

Making sure your title is an accurate reflection of the content in your article is also important since it will establish trustworthiness, authority and a positive reputation. All of these things will increase interaction rates. Search engine notice sights that have higher engagement rates and rewards them with better ranking positions.

Better ranking positions result in a higher likelihood that users will see your article which will increase click through rates. Click through rates for articles that are accurately represented by the title will lead to users spending time reading the article and increase interactions. Increased interactions will be noticed by Google and other search engines and the article will be rewarded with higher ranking. This whole process starts with the creation of an accurate, effective, SEO title for your work.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Natalie Frank

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      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        4 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Glad you found the article insightful, Imran. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.

      • pen promulgates profile image

        Imran Khan 

        4 months ago from Mumbai, India

        Good insight! Thanks.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Glad it was useful. I'll change the point about re-optimizing. Thanks for linking!

      • lobobrandon profile image

        Brandon Lobo 

        5 months ago

        A few days is the norm. On official Google posts they say a few months because they can get into legal trouble if the pages are not actually indexed within a week and if they say it would take a week. Google has gotten into legal issues for silly stuff like this before.

        I can give you one pro tip. When looking for anything related to Google ranking and how it works, never use Google platforms for information.

        Regarding the other points you made in your comment I agree 100%. Data is important. But in many cases people are working with articles that receive at least a few hundred visits a day, so, it's easy to judge the effects of the change within a few days. All you need is a decent sample size. This can be anywhere within a day to a few months or more.

        So, the update happens quick, but the person needs to make a judgement call based on the individual situation. And I made the suggestion of changing it to reflect the actual change frequency because that's the fact. And how people use the facts is a different story and a guide on how to use this fact can be included in this article in my opinion.

        Because if someone is getting 1000 views a day it would be sad if they read this advice and waited months before trying to re-optimize when they could in fact do it after 2 weeks.

        Btw. I really loved this guide, it saved me a lot of trouble because I had promised a guide and I just skipped out on this section and linked out to this hub instead. I will be publishing my hub within the next 24 hours.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Brandon, thanks for the correction. I'm curious where you got the 3-6 day update stat. I just did another search and looked at Google webmaster itself and everything seems to say 3-4 months and 4-5 times a year. Some places say it could update in 4-5 days but that is not the norm. Maybe I'm not looking at the right thing. In terms of optimizing a title though it's not just the rankings that matter, right? Even if you rank relatively well that doesn't tell you how many views you are likely to receive (although higher ranking obviously gets you more views than a lower one). So isn't it best to wait at least a few months to take a look at the data to see if a change seems to have resulted in more views/ranking? It seems if you change it again too soon you could be losing out on a title that will help the article because you didn't wait long enough to see the result. I'd appreciate any corrections to my way of thinking if it's inaccurate so I can update the article to reflect what is accurate. Thanks so much for the feedback and your help!

      • lobobrandon profile image

        Brandon Lobo 

        5 months ago

        Hey Natalie, great article and some interesting tips for people who are looking for advice on modifying/creating titles on the internet, not just here on HubPages.

        I'd like to propose a modification to one point though. It doesn't take Google 3 - 6 months to update their rankings, but 3 - 6 days for most websites. To be on the safe side, a good waiting period before you play around with it again is 2 weeks. It's really helpful to keep playing with it until it's optimised. Waiting 3 months gives you just 4 attempts in a year, which is inefficient. It's a different story if you've got 100's of pages to work on and you can only get back to the top of the queue every 3 months.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        You are welcome, Sherry. Yes, it can be difficult to know exactly why one of our articles does well and another doesn't. My best performer, like yours was something I wrote quickly and would never have thought would be my best traffic getter. Then I decided to write another on the same topic but it didn't seem to do particularly well. Even when we use SEO techniques and keep up with analytics and statistics it isn't always clear what goes into making an article perform well. If someone could determine that and translate it into a simple to follow method, we would all be millionaires! But I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon. Good luck on your future writing and if you discover the key to making everything you write go viral, be sure to let me know!

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Glad you found some useful tips in the article you could put to use now, Robie. Thanks for the comment.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        You are welcome, Dora. I'm happy you found the article informative.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Thanks for stopping by Heidi - always a pleasure.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Glad to help, Liz. Welcome to HP. Let us know if there's anything we can do to aid you as you learn the platform. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        I assume you mean titles and are not referring to guns, Flourish, lol! It is a good idea to make a regular schedule to look over articles, titles and SEO features to insure that articles are receiving the most traffic possible. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Thanks for underscoring the importance of title length Glenn. That's the sort of thing we so often forget about. Thanks for the comment.

      • Natalie Frank profile imageAUTHOR

        Natalie Frank 

        5 months ago from Chicago, IL

        Hi Larry - glad you found something new to use. No one is aware of things right off the bat, we all have to learn them one way or the other. Thanks for stopping by.

      • Sherry H profile image

        Sherry Haynes 

        5 months ago

        Thanks for the helpful tips. I really needed this. One of my articles which I wrote in an hour gets most of my total page views while another one which I took days to research and write gets views below 10 and then after some research I realize it doesn't rank on google even on page 6. This is crazy.

      • Robie Benve profile image

        Robie Benve 

        5 months ago from Ohio

        Great tips! I just published an article today with a long title and not much research in order to make search friendly... I was just thinking about that when I came across this article. Great reminder that content alone does not make the cut. Thanks!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        5 months ago from The Caribbean

        Informative, interesting and encouraging! Thank you.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        5 months ago from Chicago Area

        All excellent tips which I try to use for all my articles here on HP!

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        5 months ago from UK

        Thanks. I found this a very helpful and well-written article, especially as I'm a relatively new writer on Hub Pages.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        6 months ago from USA

        This is a good review. It’s a good idea to periodically review rifles and articles every few months the tor possible improvements.

      • Glenn Stok profile image

        Glenn Stok 

        6 months ago from Long Island, NY

        Really very well done Natalie. You covered all the bases for writing a title that works.

        Besides using proper keywords, title length is also an important issue that many people overlook. You explained that well, especially the problem with wide characters taking up more room and causing a potential truncated title in the SERPs.

      • Larry Fish profile image

        Larry W Fish 

        6 months ago from Raleigh

        Interesting Natalie, and so important that I learned something that I should have been aware of in the first place, LOL.

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