The title of a page, included in your web page’s HTML code between the <title> and </title> tags, is an important yet often overlooked part of your website. The title isn’t an obvious and clearly visible part of a page, so it’s easy to think it’s not something you need to put a lot of effort in to.
That would be a wrong assumption to make, because the titles of the pages on your website are very important:
- The title determines how your page is listed on search engine results.
- The title is the name a page is saved under when someone bookmarks it.
- The title is the first thing a search engine spider looks at.
So page titles are important and you need to make sure every page on your website has a good title.
What makes a good title? There are many different ways of writing good titles for your pages. Here are my tips:
- Be descriptive and meaningful. Make sure a page’s title is a reflection of its content. When that page shows up in a search engine results list, a user needs to be able to quickly see if your page’s content is relevant. A good, meaningful title will encourage users to click on that result and you’ll get additional visitors on your site. Write your title in the form of a short sentence that accurately describes what that page’s content is.
- Keep it short. Search engines limit the amount of text they show in a search result page, and long titles also get cut off in bookmark lists. Try to keep your title at 63 characters or less, as Google will cut off the text there in the search result list.
- Include your site name at the end of the title if there’s space for it. By making your site’s name a part of the title you help visitors who bookmark your site to find that bookmark again. However if your title becomes too long with your site name included, leave it out.
- Capitalize Your Words. Make sure every new word starts with a capital letter. This helps with readability and makes your title stand out a little bit more in a long list of search engine results. DON’T WRITE IN ALL CAPS as that is the internet-equivalent of screaming, and people don’t like being screamed at.
- Segment your title. You can use your title to reflect the structure of your site, and this helps in giving that page proper context and relevancy. An example:
Linear Retail Scanner – Handheld Barcode Scanners – BarcodeShop
The first part of the title shows that this page is about linear scanners for retail, and the second part makes clear it falls under the category of handheld barcode scanners. The title finishes with the website’s name (which is fictional by the way). All this takes up no more than 63 characters, so it won’t be cut off in search engine results.
- Don’t overuse special characters like asterisks, hashes, dots or exclamation marks. This trick is often used to attract attention to a page, but it usually ends up annoying your users and risks making your site look like an amateurish spam site.
Writing good titles for every page of your website takes some effort, but it definitely pays off in the end. It will help you get found through search engines, and that traffic will be relevant for your site.