9 Real Examples of SEO Titles (And Why They Work)

You just finished writing an amazing article and can’t wait to share it with the world.

But first, you need to come up with a great SEO title. The kind of SEO title that’ll not only help you rank in Google but also make people excited to read your article.

Following the advice I gave a few months ago is a good start. 

But you may wonder: how does a good SEO title look in the real world? 

I looked at the SEO titles of articles ranking for 3 competitive keywords in the finance, producitivity and food ncihes to find out!

Is the SEO title the same as the headline?

The headline is the title visitors see on your blog whereas the SEO title is what people see in search engines. It’s often identical but there are cases when your SEO title will be different from your blog post title.

If you look at the examples of SEO titles in this article, you will notice that most of the blogs I looked at use their headline or a shortened version of their headline as an SEO title. The only change is usually the addition of their brand name in the SEO title.

If you use a SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or The SEO Framework, your page title will automatically be used as a title tag unless you specify a title tag yourself.

Search engines will then take your title tag and display it as a SEO title unless they decide it’s not a good fit and decide to generate one automatically instead.

SEO title examples for “Cheesecake recipe”

Blueberry cheesecake on ceramic plate

With 228k monthly searches according to Ahrefs, “cheesecake recipe” is one of the most competitive keywords in the food niche.

It’s the kind of keyword that can bring you thousands of monthly visitors…provided people click to read your article instead of your competitor’s.

Hence the importance of a great SEO title.

What I like and don’t like about these titles

Here are some of the SEO titles that show up when I Google “cheesecake recipe”:

BBC title tag example
Sallys Baking addiction page title example
GoodHousekeeping SEO title example

Can you identify a few problems already?

  • The BBC title is descriptive and doesn’t give you any reason to click. Although they do include their brand name (BBC) which certainly helps their CTR (Click-through rate) since they are a respected brand.
  • Sally’s Baking Addiction’s title is pretty good. It highlights a difference (no-bake) and the adjective “perfect” makes it more appealing than the hundreds of SEO titles that simply say “cheesecake recipe”.
  • The Good Housekeeping title suffers from an obvious problem: it’s too long. More importantly, it doesn’t include a picture. This is a huge problem for such a competitive result in the food space and probably hurts their CTR a lot.

What I would change about these titles

BBC SEO title

The BBC result is for a page that lists 57 cheesecake recipes. The first thing I would do is mention this in the SEO title so people know what to expect.

I would then add a few adjectives or sensory words to make it more appealing.

This could be something as simple as “57 irresistible cheesecake recipes.”

Throwing in a benefit wouldn’t hurt either. Something like “57 irresistible cheesecake recipes for the whole family.”

Finally, I would add a picture to make the title more visible and appealing.

Sally’s Baking Addiction SEO title

The Sally’s Baking Addiction SEO title already includes a difference (no-bake) and the adjective “perfect” makes it slightly more appealing than the existing BBC title.

The problem is that “perfect” is quite vague and not super exciting.

The intro paragraph before the recipe says the following:

“This is truly the most perfect and easy no-bake cheesecake. By following this no-bake cheesecake recipe, you’ll be gifted with a smooth and creamy dessert that sets up beautifully in the refrigerator. Unlike regular cheesecake, no-bake cheesecake isn’t overly heavy. It’s lightly sweet and perfectly refreshing!”

Sally’s Baking Addiction cheesecake recipe

I don’t know much about cheesecakes or the food niche so I could be wrong but it seems to me that the main advantages of this recipe are that:

  • It’s “no-bake”
  • It “isn’t overly heavy”
  • It’s “easy to make”
  • It’s creamy

The challenge here is to be able to mention the advantages without making the title too long.

Since the title already mentions “no-bake” plus the brand name, there is only space for one more word.

So the SEO title could be:

Creamy No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe -Sally’s Baking Addiction

Light No-Bake Cheesecake Recipe -Sally’s Baking Addiction

It’s hard for me to tell which adjective will work best because I don’t know what readers care about the most. Do they want a light cake? A creamy cake? Is the no-bake part important?

These are questions you will want to answer when deciding on an SEO title because matching people’s expectations is essential.

Another possibility would be to delete the website’s name (Sally’s Baking Addiction) and use the extra space to write a more catchy SEO title.

This can be a good idea if you are not well-known and seeing your brand name is unlikely to nudge people to choose you over other websites.

Good Housekeeping SEO title

The Good Housekeeping title starts well.

“36 easy cheesecake recipes” sounds appealing. There is a key advantage (easy) and the number indicates that there will be several options.

Unfortunately, the title is too long so I would start by deleting the “How to make a simple…” part since it doesn’t add anything useful anyway.

I would also add the brand name since Good Housekeeping is a well-known brand and mentioning it is likely to make people want to click;

36 easy cheesecake recipes – Good Housekeeping

I would also update the number since the SEO title says “36” but the page actually lists 40 recipes.

40 easy cheesecake recipes – Good Housekeeping

Which leaves us with enough space for one or two more words.

Taste is essential for a cheesecake so using a sensory word like “delicious”, “yummy” or “creamy” is likely to work well.

40 easy and delicious cheesecake recipes – Good Housekeeping

Highlighting the fact that the page lists unusual recipes (gin-covered) could also work well:

40 easy and unique cheesecake recipes – Good Housekeeping

Knowing your readers is the key to success and you will be able to make much better guesses than me if you know the exact words they use.

SEO title examples for “best credit cards for travel”

credit cards in brown leather wallet

The finance niche is another blogging niche known for its competitiveness.

There are thousands of finance blogs competing against each other and big names such as Inc., Entrepreneur, and Bloomberg dominate the search results.

In the finance niche, a catchy SEO title is not good to have, it’s essential.

What I like and don’t like about these titles

Here are 3 SEO titles I found when Googling “best credit cards for travel”:

The Points Guy title tag example
Nerd Wallet SEO title example
CreditCards page title example

The first thing I notice is that these 3 titles are almost identical. They all contain the keyword “best travel credit cards”, the year 2020 and the brand name.

The only difference is that NerdWallet’s title also contains the number of credit cards compared (8) and that NerdWallet and CreditCards.com both mention the month (April.)

This makes sense because generally the more precise the SEO title, the more likely it is to convert.

If you look at the other results for “best travel credit cards”, you will notice several out of date titles such as:

Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards of March 2020: Top offers

This is a huge disadvantage in such a competitive niche because people are overwhelmed and won’t bother reading an older article.

Nobody is going to click to discover last month’s best credit cards when so many results promise to reveal this month’s best credit cards.

What I would change about these titles

These 3 SEO titles probably convert well simply because they match people’s expectations.

People expect to see a comparison of the best travel credit cards and that’s exactly what these 3 titles promise.

But while these titles match people’s expectations, they could stand out more from each other.

There are several ways I would try to do that:

  • Add curiosity

Best Travel Credit Cards of April 2020 revealed – CreditCards.com

  • Add authority

best travel credit cards for April 2020, according to experts

This SEO title could work well for a little-known blog that wouldn’t benefit much from highlighting its brand name.

Here “according to expert” offers the authority that an unknown brand name wouldn’t offer.

SEO title examples for “how to work from home”

designer home office

“How to work from home” is a trendy keyword and I was curious to see whether websites ranking for it already updated to it to reflect the current crisis or not.

What I like and don’t like about these titles

HubSpot SEO title example
BBC SEO title tag example
Reed SEO title example

“How to” keywords are for informational searches. People have a problem and want a solution.

So the SEO titles should offer a clear benefit and promise a solution in order to work well.

All 3 examples match the search intent but the BBC one is the only title to reflect the current situation and deeper searcher’s intent.

In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, it’s likely that most people working from home are not traditional home workers but people forced to work from home.

So it makes sense to adapt the content and SEO titles to target this new demographic.

What I would change

The Hubspot title is pretty catchy and the only real change needed is to shorten it by deleting the unnecessary dots.

How to Work From Home: 20 Tips From People Who Do It – Hubspot

Mentioning coronavirus could also make it convert better since that’s what many people searching this in April 2020 have in mind. But this would require a complete rewrite since the SEO title is already quite long.

The BBC title is excellent. The word “coronavirus” at the beginning indicates that it’s a recent article with a particular focus on the current crisis.

This gives it an advantage over other articles that seem to target traditional work from home people rather than people forced to work from home.

It could convert better by targeting a more precise problem than “work well” but this would probably require a longer title so I would keep the title as is.

The Reeds title is the worst of the 3. In fact, it looks like it was autogenerated by an SEO plugin. A shame considering they rank so high for such a competitive keyword and could benefit hugely from even a modest increase in CTR.

Their article is a listicle so a classical list headline could work well:

7 tips to work from home in the age of coronavirus – Reed.co.uk

A “how-to” headline would also work well and offer a clear benefit:

COVID19: How to work from home without going crazy – Reed.co.uk

Both SEO titles are likely to convert much better because they are more precise and offer a clear benefit. The mention of “coronavirus” would also help them stand out.

Takeaways

As you can see from these SEO title examples, writing a great SEO title is no easy task because you have limited space.

Whereas you can get creative with your headline and use proven headline formulas, coming up with a short and catchy title tag isn’t always possible.

In fact, you may sometimes feel that the only SEO title you can come up with is incredibly boring. And that’s okay.

Your SEO titles won’t always be amazing and it’s better for your title to be boring but relevant than catchy but irrelevant.

So do the best with what you have, and remember that matching search intent is more important than sounding fun.

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