Title tags are the first things that users notice when they see your website in the SERP, which makes them crucial if you want to capture customers’ attention. What are the errors that you should look out for when creating title tags? You’re about to find out.
What Are Title Tags
Starting at the basics, let’s briefly explain what title tags are. A title tag is an element of HTML code that indicates the website’s title. These tags are shown in search engine results, browser tabs, and posts on social media.
The recommendation is to make title tags between 50 and 60 characters long so that the entire title is shown in SERP. This makes the title more user-oriented, but Google can see the entire title no matter the length.
Title Tag Errors
Now that you know what title tags are and you’re aware of their importance, we want to explain the two most common title tag errors and how you can fix them.
Page and SERP Titles Do Not Match
What does this mean? SERP (Search Engine Results Page) titles are the results you get when you do a Google search. The titles of your homepage or other pages on your website are called HTML titles. When these two don’t align, you get this error.
‘’Page and SERP titles do not match’’ isn’t the universal name for this error, but it’s something you can encounter when doing a Site Audit on Ahrefs. So, if you run into this issue on Ahrefs, now you know what it means.
Why Does It Occur?
There are multiple things that can cause this error. Here are some common reasons:
- Your HTML title is too long. If the title is longer than 60 characters, Google will shorten it.
- Your HTML is stuffed with keywords.
- The title tag is too generic. Google then changes your title to something more readable and appropriate for the page’s content.
How to Fix This Error
The best way to fix or avoid this error in the first place is to carefully optimize the title tag. Here are some tips that can help you:
- Check the title length and shorten it if necessary.
- Be careful not to use too many keywords in your title. You can include your primary keyword and one secondary keyword in the title tag for the best results. A keyword-stuffed title is considered bad practice, and it makes the title difficult to read.
- Make sure your title is specific and relevant to your content. Don’t write titles that don’t specify what customers can expect when they open the page. Another no-no is writing misleading titles that have nothing to do with your content.
It’s important to note that this isn’t a big error. In case your title isn’t a good fit based on the user’s search intent, Google will rewrite it to make the user experience better.
Another common error that can come up is duplicate titles. This means that you have two or more pages with the identical title. As you can guess, this is far from ideal for your SEO score.
When you have duplicate titles and duplicate content on your website, those pages are going to be ranked much worse. As far as Google is concerned, pages with the same title have the same content. And Google strongly disapproves duplicate content – it’s bad for user experience, it’s not clear which page Google should show in SERP, and there are users who try to manipulate ranknings with duplicate content. For all those reasons, duplicate titles can harm your ranking.
Fixing Duplicate Title Tags
Because duplicate titles can harm your SEO, we want to tell you how to fix this issue.
The solution is usually simple – write a unique page title for each of your pages. Because these pages have different URLs and are obviously not the same page, they can’t have the same title either. Even if the title is appropriate for both pages, you want to think of a different option.
If you’re struggling to find pages with duplicate titles, you can use one of the many available tools that will help you. Some examples are Google Search Console, Semrush, Ahrefs and DeepCrawl.