Title Tag SEO: More Than You Ever Wanted To Know

Cara Bowles    By under SEO Auditing.

Title tags are one of the most important pieces of content on your page. Without a title tag, a page in search results will either have no title to draw users in, or it will feature an algorithmically produced title created by the search engine, which is likely to be irrelevant and perhaps unnatural looking.

Furthermore, the words within your title tag are more heavily weighted than anything else on the page by a significant margin. Without a title tag, a page is very, very unlikely to show up on the front page of the search results for any important or relevant phrases.

Most of you are already well aware of this, and most content management systems will already make sure that your pages have title tags. Even so, it's not uncommon for pages with missing title tags to creep up here or there for one reason or another.

Here is how to find any pages on your site that are missing a title tag so that you can remedy the situation immediately and dramatically improve the chances that those pages will rank in search results.

  1. Start by getting Screaming Frog. You can download the free version and that will be sufficient for our purposes now.
  2. After downloading and installing Screaming Frog, enter your homepage into the bar at the top of the window.
  3. Press the ENTER key or press the "Start" button after entering in your homepage.
  4. Screaming Frog will begin "crawling" your site, meaning it will find every URL it can from what is linked from your homepage, any pages linked from pages that are linked from the homepage, and so on. Wait for it to finish crawling. The progress bar next to the "Start" button will reach 100% when this process completes. While it is crawling, you can check the bottom right corner of the window which will say "[x] remaining" to tell you how many URLs still need to be crawled. This number may grow as new links are discovered, but it provides a ballpark estimate of how many URLs are left.
  5. After Screaming Frog is finished crawling your site, select the "Page Titles" tab at the top of the spreadsheet-like interface, just below the bar where you entered in the homepage.
  6. From the "Filtler" drop down menu, select "Missing."
  7. You will now see a listing of all of the URLs on your site that do not have a page title. Update these pages by adding a relevant title tag.

In addition to pages that are literally missing a title tag, you should also check for pages that are using duplicate title tags. These are effectively almost as bad as missing title tags, because Google is likely to turn up only one of these pages in a search result, and the rest of the pages are effectively invisible. Duplicate title tags may occur across large portions of your site. For example, all pages on a subfolder, in a specific category, etc. may all share the same title tag. This is not desirable because it results in title tags which are not especially specific for each individual page, causing you to lose out on important search traffic opportunities which would be available if you were using more targeted titles.

To locate your duplicate title tags in Screaming Frog, verify that you are still in the "Page Titles" tab of Screaming Frog, and select "Duplicate" from the "Filter" drop down menu. Identify why these pages have duplicate titles, create a new title for each, and update each page with the new titles.

All set!