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Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

twitter button friendly Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?I know, I know, that sounds so awfully familiar. But this post is *not* about using your keywords in title tags. We’ve talked enough about title tag SEO (and most of those old tips still apply btw!)

Today’s post is about making your title tags retweet-friendly, about encouraging Twitter comments and making it to Twitter trends.

1. Simple Mathematics

This one is pretty simple and obvious: be short, be catchy.

We only have as many as 140 characters to fit the title + URL + your credit to the twit without it to be stripped. And the more character are left, the more flexibility your promoters have!

See:

The (shortened) URL of the tweet will contain minimum 13 characters.

Now add your Twitter handle that follows the tweet: at least 7-8 characters (mine is 10 including @) + 3 characters for RT

Now add your post title (for example, this post would result in 45 characters and it is not long at all!)

What do we have now?

13+10+3+45=71 (min!)

Thus your most valued readers and promoters have maximum 69 characters to share their thoughts, ask for RTs, include references, etc

And remember that Tweets containing personal comments and feedback are the ones that get the largest number of retweets, shares and other types of interaction. And the shorter your post title ( that gets grabbed by the Twitter button and turned into the Tweet), the higher probability is that the reader will want to add a comment.

Look how much your readers can do if they have character-flexibility!

  1. They might add a call-to-action (which means more clicks!)
  2. They might add hashtags (which means wider reach!)
  3. They might add comments (which means more retweets!)

twitter button friendly 01 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

So make your readers’ lives easier: make it easy for them to tweet, retweet and tweet-comment your blog updates!

****If you plan a linkbait, make sure to come up with the shortest title possible while keeping it catchy and original (that’s obviously hard but very essential).

Old Question: Old Answer
How long should the title tag be for it not to be stripped in Google search results? 64-70 characters
New Question
New Answer
How long should the title tag be for it the post to be shared on Twitter? The shorter, the better

**** Another bright idea: Would you like more Tweet-comments (Tweets of your post that contain a personal comment)? Ask a question in your title.

twitter button friendly 07 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

2. Using @ and # in the Title Tag

One Golden lesson in branding: when blogging about your business or event, don’t forget to use @your-business-handle or #youreventhashtag in the title tag.

This way, they are most likely to make it to the tweet (even if the Twitter user will *not* use your Twitter button, and will Tweet through his browser tools or even copy-paste instead!) and if you are lucky enough will make the daily Twitter trend!

Example:

twitter button friendly 02 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

An SEO WordPress plugin (like wpSEO) that allows to set a custom title tag for each particular post works great for that:

twitter button friendly 03 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

Results in this:

twitter button friendly 04 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

Question: Old Answer
Should you add your brand name at the end of your title tags sitewide? Yes, that works well for branding.
New Answer
If your Twitter handle is short, it’s probably wiser to use it instead

You can actually go even further and use hashtags to brand important sections of your site. For example, instead of “SEOmoz QA”, this could be

@SEOmoz #QA

Which could result in a much more interesting Tweet:

twitter button friendly 05 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

****(Again: This way @SEOmoz makes it to the tweet even when a user doesn’t use your button but instead creates a tweet using Bit.ly bookmarklet, HootSuite button, etc).

As for Google search results branding, that doesn’t hurt at all, as Google doesn’t care if it’s a hashtag, a Twitter @username or a word.

twitter button friendly 06 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?

Quick common sense note: While using hashtags and Twitter usernames may be a bright idea in some instances, you don’t want to overdo with it. I’d suggest experimenting with it only for social-media-essential parts of your sites, for even-specific and brand-focused pages or articles, etc.

Takeaways:

  • The shorter your title tag is, the easier it will be for your readers to add a short personal comments in a Tweet (which usually results in much more Twitter interaction)
  • If you need more feedback and comments in a Tweet, make your title in a question format
  • If you need more exposure for your official Twitter profile or hashtag, include it in the title tag

Now, what is your experience? I am sure you’ve been playing with blog post titles a lot and couldn’t help noticing its impact on social media shares. Let me know your opinion!

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by quinn.anya

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 Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?
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  1. 11 Responses to “Do You Optimize Your Title Tags for Twitter?”

  2. Just a point of clarification on web standards, the discussion is on a Title element; “title tag” is a colloquialism. Using the the term “tag” is ambiguous and open to confusion with a title attribute. Please see the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) documents below.

    HTML 4.01 Specification
    W3C Recommendation 24 December 1999
    The global structure of an HTML document
    7.4.2 The TITLE element
    http://goo.gl/o2htI

    and

    7.4.3 The TITLE attribute
    http://goo.gl/xJnN0

    or if you’d prefer:

    HTML5
    A vocabulary and associated APIs for HTML and XHTML
    Editor’s Draft 30 September 2011
    4.2.2 The title element
    http://goo.gl/L3gLQ

    For a Title element there is a difference between what Google displays on a search engine results page and what may actually be indexed. Beginning in late May 2010 we began seeing discussions on the forums that Google had increased the number of displayed characters on their SERPs to 70. And while there, of course, is no means to limit the number of characters one can place in this field, there are some additional places we can look for guidance.

    The input filed for a Business Title on the form to create (or edit) a Google Places business listing has a limit of 80 characters.

    On Aug. 17th, 2011 Matt Cutts stated in a Webmaster Central Help video, “What role does being in DMOZ play in rankings?” http://goo.gl/xPzQZ , that Google does still relies on DMOZ listings for a few asian countries (the implication being non-roman alphabets) as well as for some snippets. The input field for a title element in a DMOZ listing is limited to 100 characters.

    Again, neither the character counts of 80 nor 100 specifically indicate Google has any limit on the number of characters which might be indexed for the Title element.

    As far as authority given to the keywords placed in a Title element, long tail keyword phrases at the beginning of the field (to the left on a roman keyboard) receive a higher value.

    Assuming the title of your post / article (presumably in an H1 element) is also the Title element, relative to the 140 characters count limit for Tweets it’s best not to exceed roughly 80 characters. Using less than roughly 60 characters is an under-utilization.

    Given Chris Messina’s post, New microsyntax for Twitter: three pointers and the slasher, http://goo.gl/07nOa , if a Twitter profile name has the greatest number of characters allowed (15), a space, and four characters for a slash & ‘via’ then this is 20 characters total. Twitter’s current URL shortener renders all URL as 19 characters, plus a space equals 20.

    Working backwards from 140, if we subtract the 20 for a profile name, 20 for a URL, and 80 for the title of the post there there are 20 available for re-tweets. Alternatively, if the title of the post is 60 characters then there are 40 available for re-tweet and hashtags. Hence , why I’d recommend titles be between 60 & 80 characters.

    By Robert Visser on Oct 25, 2011

  3. I think you should make the best use of your title tag and make it 60-70 characters. If someone is bothered about adding his own take into things I think he or she will adjust the tweet accordingly. Most will just add +1 or nice post to it so the remaining characters are more than enough.

    By Nishadha on Oct 29, 2011

  4. Most of the small companies are still blissfully ignorant of twitter influence on customer choice of products/services. This should help them know that you can no longer ignore it.

    By Shilpi Singha Roy on Oct 29, 2011

  5. This is interesting point and honestly I have never thought about that, but my blogs are integrated with Twitter API and share the content automatically, actually the same apply for Facebook and LinkedIn. Dealing with multiple blogs and group blogs in my case can’t be helped.

    By Kal on Oct 29, 2011

  6. I’m glad you wrote this post. It opens your eyes to the optimization necessary for Twitter. I have to admit I just used ditto SEO techniques where it is not relevant in the Twitter world necessarily, or as necessary I should say. Thank you for the information.

    Aaron Siegel
    What are your options for business phone service within your budget?

    By Aaron Siegel on Oct 29, 2011

  7. Thanks for the post; I have never thought of, or read anyone else recommending, optimizing titles for twitter!

    By Tim on Oct 30, 2011

  8. @Ann
    Yes, Its Really Important to take an Advantage from Twitter.
    *Using #tag Mention that this post is in this Category and that post is in that Category.
    *Using @tag We Can Easily Mention Someone.
    *Yes,We can’t post in twitter more then 139 Character,So we Have to be selective “1. Am i Fulfilling my Point in the Post 2. Is this Post Summering my Article Topics?”

    Thanks For your Valuable Post.
    Keep Going,I am really Enjoying your Articles.

    By webuildlink on Oct 31, 2011

  9. Thanks for the optimize tips on twitter.

    By Carl S. on Dec 5, 2011

  10. Need to read this more than once I think, but good article. There are just sooooo many things to take into consideration these days when Social Marketing…To much, especially if you are new to it.

    By DJH on Dec 12, 2011

  11. That’s a very creative article Ann. We often get in the habit of utilizing all 140 characters to maximize our tweets, but as you pointed out, it doesn’t leave room for engagement opportunities. Thanks for sharing.

    By Matt Morgan on Dec 1, 2012

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