Page Titles: Crafting A Critical Piece Of The SEO Puzzle

Page titles

Whether you are concerned about creating an SEO friendly website or just want a well-designed and professional site representing you, you need to devote time and energy to seemingly small details, such as page titles. Page titles appear in a number of critical places: at the top of the browser when the window is active, in tab labels, which is particularly helpful when someone has multiple tabs open, as the default text when someone bookmarks a page, and, most importantly, in search engine results. Page titles help search engines index your pages and allow people to find you. All of this may seem obvious, and the best page titles may seem like common sense, but keeping the following things in mind will help you reap the most benefit from this critical piece of the SEO puzzle.
  • While there is no set number of characters your title can have, Google only displays up to 70 title characters. The ideal is approximately 65 characters, give or take a few. Too short, you run the risk of not providing enough information to humans and search engines alike. Too long, and your title will become cumbersome and only partially displayed.
  • Avoid generic words. It is amazing how many page titles lurking around the internet are actually “Untitled.” “Home,” “Welcome,” and “About,” are similarly useless. You want your page titles to be specific, unique, and informative. Keep in mind that generic words can be appropriate if surrounded by other uncommon, descriptive words.
  • Find the balance between careful consideration and overthinking. The main elements of your page title should be obvious. If you are writing articles or blog posts, chances are high that your article’s title will also be your page title or something very close to it. Similarly, if your page relates to one product or service from a host of offerings, that product or service should be in your page title. While you want your titles to be dynamic, you do not want them to be abstract or obscure. Never forget that the primary purpose of a title is to describe what is on the page in a way that will make sense to search engines and people alike.
  • Use keywords appropriately. You do not need to be an SEO professional to understand that keywords are how people find you online. Your page title should include at least one primary keyword that would correlate with the online search that would hopefully lead people to this particular page. It is not uncommon to use a secondary keyword in a page title, as well, and if it flows nicely, by all means, feel free to do this. You should not, however, stuff your titles with keywords, anymore than you would crowd your content with redundant or excessive terms. It will dilute the impact of your writing, and will drive your rank down for using black hat SEO practices.
  • Use the most significant words first. While there is nothing wrong with common articles like “the” and “a,” and words like “how” or  “why,” it is best to lead with your most important words. Not only do search engines pay more attention to the first few words, but people scanning through a list of titles do, too.
  • There is no hard and fast rule about whether you should include your company or brand name, of if you do, whether it should be in every page title or only a few. If you think people will be searching for you by a particular name, you should include it, but you should also use words that remind people exactly what your company does and indicate what specifically is on the page. For example, if you own a restaurant, it would be smart to include your restaurant’s name, the cuisine you cook, your geographical location, and a description of that page’s contents, such as “dinner menu” or “directions,” but not necessarily in that order. That may sound like a lot of information to condense into 70 characters, but “Vegan Lunch Menu | Veganation Restaurant, Santa Monica, CA” is exactly 58 characters including spaces and punctuation. Before anyone becomes too excited, I should mention that currently there is not a vegan restaurant by the name of Veganation in Santa Monica, CA.
  • Do not use duplicate titles. Each page of your website should have unique content, and each title should be specific to that content. Duplicate content will hurt your search ranking, even more so with Google’s Panda update, and makes it difficult to navigate your website.
Page titles are a reflection of your website’s content. You should approach your 70 characters or less with the same consideration and creativity you devote to your content. As with all things SEO, a little extra time and attention even to seemingly small details will pay off in the long run.


Post a Comment