What are title tags?
A title tag is an HTML element that specifies the title of a webpage. It is displayed in the search engine results page (SERP) as the main headline for a listing, and it is also used as the title of a browser tab when the page is open. Title tags are important because they provide context for the content of a webpage to users and search engine.
Use the Title Tag Previewer Tool below to better understand how your title tag will appear in Google Search. Just enter the text for your title tag below to see how it will likely to appear in search results:
Why title tags matter for Local SEO
Title tags are particularly important for local businesses because they help search engines understand the relevance of a webpage to a particular location. For example, if a local bakery includes the name of their city in the title tag of their homepage, it will be easier for search engines to understand that the bakery is located in that city and should therefore be shown to people searching for bakeries in that area.
In addition to helping search engines understand the location of a business, title tags also play a role in determining the click-through rate (CTR) of a webpage. A compelling and descriptive title tag can entice users to click on a listing in the SERP, which can lead to more traffic and potentially more customers for the business.
Title tag examples
Title tags can be found on a website by left-clicking, selecting the View page source code option, and searching the document for the
In the example above from a top ranking personal injury lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona, you’ll notice that the title tag contains the keyword, location, and brand.
Below are some common title tag formats for Local SEO:
keyword / variationin
keyword / variation–
Pro Tip: Before making any changes, it’s important to perform keyword research, map keywords to target pages, and track your rankings. You can use this SEMrush keyword research template and guide to streamline the process.
How to optimize title tags for Local SEO
To optimize title tags for local SEO, follow these best practices:
- Include target keyword – This helps search engines and users determine if your page is relevant
- Include target location – Helps search engines understand where you serve customers
- Mention your brand – Add your brand name to gain recognition and build trust with users
- Keep title tags short – Aim for 50-60 characters (longer title tags may be truncated)
- Use unique title tags – This helps users and search engine differentiate between webpages
Pro Tip: For local businesses, it’s common to create and optimize a local landing page to improve rankings.
Title tags are an important element of on-page SEO, and they can be used to increase visibility for local businesses. By including the name of your business in the title tag in addition to primary keywords and geo-modifiers, you can help search engines understand the relevance of your website to a specific location and improve your chances of ranking in the SERP.
Note: You can also use the Surfer SEO Audit feature to get helpful insights for optimizing pages titles.
Once you’ve optimized title tags, you can determine the next steps in your campaign by following this Local SEO checklist.
Case study and findings
I recently analyzed 100 top ranking local businesses in the St. Louis area, and here’s what I found…
|# of title tag that contains keyword||93%|
|# of title tag that contains location||86%|
|# of title tags containing keyword AND location||82%|
|Average title tag length||59|
📝 Note: All data was pulled from the source code of each top-ranking site.
📊 Conclusion: Unsurprisingly, a large amount (82%) of top-ranking sites have both the target keyword and location in their title tag. Additionally, the average title tag length was 59 characters. Based on the results, we can infer that there is likely correlation between these elements and rankings.
Changing title tags can have a tremendous impact on rankings. Because of this, it’s recommended to track rankings with a tool like SEMrush’s rank tracker (get a 7-day free trial) and LocalViking‘s GeoGrid reports to understand the impact of changes.
Additionally, there are other on-page factors to consider, which are often updated alongside title tags. This generally includes meta descriptions and headings tags, but can also include other page elements like URLs, open graph, navigation, and optimizing images.