How to Write the Perfect Title Tag to Increase Your Click Through Rate (CTR)

By | August 11, 2019

Your title tag is the main thing standing
between Google SERPs and your website. And if you can’t get people to click through,
then you can’t get any website traffic. So today, we’re going to be talking about
crafting the perfect title tag to increase your click-through rate that will lead to
more traffic and maybe… Just maybe… higher Google rankings. Stay tuned. [music] What’s up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Now, today is all about title tags. And it may not sound like the most exciting
topic, but if there’s one skill that you can master in SEO copywriting, then the title
tag would be somewhere way up there. So let’s get to it. So what is a title tag? A title tag is HTML markup that specifies
the title of a web page. And the two most common places that you’ll see
it is in Google search engine results pages and in your browser tab. Your title tag is important because it influences
your click-through rate in Google search results. And for quite some time, SEOs have hypothesized
that higher click-through rates can increase your rankings. And it makes sense why a lot of people share this
belief. For example, let’s assume that there are 10
results for a search query and 100% of the clicks go to result #5. And if everyone is clicking on the same result,
then that may tell Google that the page serves search intent the best, right? So why not rank that page higher up? Now, whether you believe this theory or not,
it’s always a good idea to optimize for click-through rates because more clicks equals more traffic. And more traffic equals more customers, which
is why our goal is to increase your click-through rate. Now, to create this tutorial in as systematic
of a way as possible, let’s set a few general guidelines. First, we want to create something that’s
click-worthy and not clickbait. And this goes beyond the user’s happiness. Creating clickbait headlines is going to do
you more harm than good because of something called pogo-sticking. This is when a user clicks a result in Google SERP and then immediately goes back to the search results page. We don’t know exactly how big this behavioral
metric may be, but logically speaking, it tells us that search intent likely wasn’t
met. Instead, the title should descriptively reflect
what the page is about. Second guideline. Try and keep your title within 50-60 characters. Now, Google SERPs actually work in pixels,
but this length should help you avoid truncation in the search results pages. And you can use a SERP preview tool like this
one from Portent or Yoast SEO plugin if you use WordPress. The third guideline is to either write in
sentence case or title case. So, sentence case would have a capital letter
on the first word, and title case is when the first letter of each word is capitalized. Now, I have never seen a Top 10 ranking page
with a title tag with all caps like this: HOW TO MAKE A WEBSITE: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE
Alright, now that the general stuff is out of the way, let’s get into Keyword Optimization. Pages don’t rank for just a single keyword. They actually rank for hundreds or even thousands
of other long-tail variations. In our study on 3 million random search queries,
we found that the average #1 ranking page will also rank in the Top 10 for nearly 1,000
other relevant keywords. So rather than focusing on a singular keyword, we can actually target other long-tail phrases within the broader topic without keyword stuffing. And this can be done by using modifier keywords. A modifier keyword is an add-on to a base
keyword. So for example, if you wanted to rank for
“best headphones,” then you could add “the” before the phrase, or add the current year
to the end. Or both. So let’s get into a simple keyword research
process. First, we need to identify the head term or
parent topic of our target keyword. So I’ll go to Ahrefs Keywords Explorer tool
and type in “which headphones should I buy.” Next, I’ll scroll down to the top 10 SERPs
where I’ll be looking for a couple of things. First, I’m going to scan through the “Top
Keyword” column to see what our “head term” should be. And you’ll see that the first two results
are actually ranking for “best headphones,” which tells us that we can target this phrase
and still rank for our original query “which headphones should I buy.” So I’ll click through to “best headphones,”
which will show us the metrics for our new keyword target. Scrolling back down to the SERPs, we can analyze
the types of pages that are ranking for our target keyword. And you can see that the majority of them
look like blog posts that are all current guides and mostly follow the list-style post. Next, let’s go to the “Phrase Match” report
and find some long-tail variations for this topic. Since there are nearly 13,000 keywords, we’ll
want to narrow down this list to relevant modifier keywords. So let’s use the “Include” search box and search
for common add-ons like “the,” “buy,” “for,” and the current year, separated by commas. Next, I’ll set the dropdown to “Any,” which
will show us keywords that include any of these keywords in a list. Now you can see a few great ideas like using
2018, or taking a niche angle like “for running,” “for gaming,” and so on. Before you decide to choose any of these,
it’s vital that you assess search intent by looking at the SERP overview for the individual
keywords. For example, clicking on the SERP button for “best headphones 2018” will show that “best headphones” is still the top keyword for the
majority of the search results. But if we click on the SERP overview for “best
headphones for running,” you’ll see that this is a more specific topic in itself that
would likely require a different post. Finally, “the best headphones” will show that
the parent keyword again is “best headphones,” for most results, which would qualify the keyword
as a good long-tail variation and modifier keyword to use. Boom. So now we know that we can target these 3 keywords all within the same title without overdoing it since they flow naturally together. So the base of our title might be “The Best
Headphones 2018.” Now, this title isn’t exactly “click-worthy,”
so let’s put our heads together and take this title one step further. Start by asking yourself:
What makes my content unique? A few qualities to consider would be depth,
quantity, speed, freshness, and brand. And it’s important that you choose your qualities
thoughtfully because it can define the angle you take when creating your content. For example, if it’s an intimidating or lengthy
task, then you might use a title like: “How to Make a Bookshelf From Scratch in Under
15 Minutes.” But if it’s complicated, then we can change this
part to “Step-By-Step Guide.” If it requires freshness, then use the current
month or year, like we did in our “Best Headphones 2018” example. Finally is brand. And brands can bring instant recognition and trust. So for example, “17 Best Headphones from Bose,
Sennheiser, and More” might be attractive. Now looking through the top 10 Google rankings
for our example keyword “best headphones,” you can see that freshness is a common quality
that these articles share. So we’ll take the freshness angle and sprinkle
in a bit of depth. Again, our base title was “The Best Headphones
2018.” So I’ll change this to 27 Of The Best Headphones
in 2018 (Reviewed and Rated). Another way to approach this is to tackle
a pain point within your title. So we could change this to “27 Of The Best
Headphones in 2018 That Won’t Break the Bank,” since price tends to be a common pain point
when shopping for high-end tech. You can also use power words to bring life
to the topic like “27 Of The Best Headphones With Hair Raising Sound,” or “Mind-Blowing”
or “Flawless”, or whatever power word best describes your content. Okay great! By now, you should know how to create a mind-blowing
and hair-raising title. But here’s the thing:
your title tag isn’t really going to impact CTR from an SEO perspective until you reach
the top 10. And that’s because most people don’t click
to page 2 of Google search results. So rather than rehashing other tutorials we
already have on ranking on page one of Google, I want to show you how and what you should
do to optimize for CTR once you are on the first page of Google. The first thing is to log in to your Google
search console and go to the Performance Report. Next, click on Average CTR and Position, which
will change the columns view for the data below. Now, we’ll want to narrow in on queries that
rank high enough and should be producing clicks. So I’ll set a position filter and set the
drop-down here to “Smaller than.” And for value, I prefer to analyze pages that
rank in the top 5 positions to get a better picture of low CTR queries. Next, I’ll sort by CTR in ascending order. Now, what I’m looking for here are keywords
that get a decent number of impressions, are not producing many clicks, and the keyword
is a match or a close variant to our pages’ keyword target. The one that stands out to me is this one
for the keyword “internet marketing strategies.” It’s had a good number of impressions, but
attracts less than 1% of clicks, despite being in a top 3 ranking position. And the reason why this one stands out so
much is because this is the exact query that we were targeting in our article. So this would be an article that I’d want
to look at in greater detail. And by greater detail, that would involve
assessing whether we’re meeting the search intent, which we can do by looking at the
top 10 SERP. I would also look at the search volume trends and clicks data, which you can see using Keywords Explorer tool. And if everything looks fine, then I’d go
ahead and try another title to attract more clicks, while accurately describing what the
article is about. Now, an important takeaway here is that marginal
increases in your click-through rate can result in massive gains. So for example, taking this page from sub
1% to just 2%, which is still below average, would more than double the traffic to this
page from that single keyword alone. So if you want one actionable takeaway to
get more organic traffic, then go to your Google Search Console, run through this process,
and you may be able to find some low-hanging traffic opportunities right away. Now, if you found this video helpful, then
make sure to like, share and subscribe for more actionable SEO and marketing tutorials. And if you have an awesome tip that you’d
like to share on titles or increasing CTR, then leave a comment below and I’d love to
hear from you. So keep grinding away and I’ll see you in
the next tutorial.

34 thoughts on “How to Write the Perfect Title Tag to Increase Your Click Through Rate (CTR)

  1. Malik Awais Post author

    Please teach us how to calculate keyword difficulty manually

  2. Bostjan Tanko Post author

    Thanks Sam for another awesome video! I always struggle with Title tag. But like you suggested I always use Ahrefs top 10 see what they have and based on that I determine what would be the best Title tag for my article. And I am using %%currentyear%% a lot specially in the reviews. I think that works like charm!

  3. Tyler Knudtson Post author

    Great walkthrough Sam! Would love to hear your thoughts or experience on a good process or tools out there for testing title tags against one another. I know Brian Dean put out a paid WP plugin for this awhile back, but I've heard surprisingly little about more advanced ways to approach title tag optimization besides simply swapping new ones one at a time and monitoring results.

  4. Alex Herrera Post author

    Great video as always. What can I use to improve my tittle if the the search volume is very low ( keyword is 2 in Ahreffs) so i can not see any other suggested keywords………Can I still write the title as "best headphones " and hope for the best ( there is no parent topic)? ( my query is in spanish and it seems that few people is feeding Google with questions, so there is no even a list of suggested keywords available) . Any advice ? Thanks!!!

  5. Shahid zargar Post author

    Hey sam…is there any option in Ahrefs where i can check which domain or backlinks me and my competitor has in common??

  6. My cricket buddy Post author

    sam if possible then make video on micro niche blog work plan like how to rank faster, how to work on micro niche blog , how to earn from it , how to find micro niche blog topic and some ahrefs special that how to dominate micro niche blog , if possible make this video sam as fast as you can and this video was also a great one as always keep loading more

  7. Marty McLeod Post author

    Wow, no kidding I was just thinking about revising a product post title today…and I found this great video! Thanks, Sam!

  8. Rijo Abraham Post author

    Hi, Sam & Ahrefs team,

    Great work uploading insightful videos on producing quality content.

    But right now everyone is talking about E-A-T. Any solutions for Google core updates or algorithms? The problem is when traffic drops people do weird stuff on their website and it will go flat dead soon(years of work). There are 1000's of queries in Google product forums for traffic drops. If you can provide some insight into what direction we should take; it will be great.

    I'm sure many Ahrefs users are also facing the same issue this year.


  9. Marcus Dunn Post author

    Great video Sam cheers. How about some meta description lovin next? Ps. I appreciate that you don’t ram Ahrefs down our throats as a hard sell for those of us starting out and unable to afford a tool yet. It’s nice to have options. I’ll say that Ahrefs really does seem great though, will definitely check it out when I can justify the spend (ie established 😀)

  10. Joseph Robison Post author

    Great work Sam, love you how you thread together so many related concepts. Just when my brain jumps to the next problem, you address it in the next segment of the video – genius!

  11. Yogesh Gautam Post author

    The video was very helpful. But why does he roll his eyes to his left every 5 seconds in every video? That's annoying!

  12. LV Post author

    AMAZING content! Hope to see more PPC and SEM approach in future videos.

  13. Maria Virginia Cegarra Post author

    Incredible Sam! Genius content indeed. Can you analize a website, like an audit with ahref? To see what things are wrong or to improve, thanks!

  14. Falcon TECH Post author

    Hi Sam, please make a video tutorial on Conversion optimziation.

  15. Tim Stokes Post author

    Great video. You go a bit too quick but love the content. I've been using the process in the second half you suggest and it works great! I LOVE free ways to increase leads.
    I'm amazed at how few business owners know what Search Console is, let along use it for finding opportunities from the figures in it. Its an AWESOME tool.
    Thanks for making this video Sam.

  16. HMPHOTOLONDON Post author

    Great article. I will keep you updated on my CTR.

  17. earthangel Post author

    Yoast Limits you to a shorter title because they put your company name in the title.

  18. NewtonBaba Post author

    I have few pages on first page but not one number 1. I knew that optimizing the title can improve my CTR but at the same time i am also afraid to do so fearing that i might even lose the rank i have.

    So my question is if i rank on first page and optimize the title, will it hurt the SERP or can affect negatively??

  19. Kateryna Zakhozha Post author

    Hi Sam! thanks a lot for great expertise, you are very helpful 🙂 I have a few questions, which i could find at ahrefs. Here it is -1. How many keywords are recommended to optimise at a time and how often i would need to change them? 2. Is it a good idea to write blogs which are trendy but not much related to your niche, but come across with the interest of your audience? (as i can see several bad and good points about it). 3. How many blogs a month would be a good number to upload? I hope this is not too much to ask. Many thanks in advance, i trust your opinion

  20. handsome mario Post author

    If more than 10% of CTR increases, then Google Adsense becomes Disable. You answer me it

  21. Sander Van Der Poel Post author

    I don't think ''the'' is a really usefull modifier, since it doesn't really add anything. I believe Google sees them as the same. As for modifiers like 2019, these are definitely worth using


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