If you thought of a website as a family, then the humble page title is the name for every kid. You wouldn’t name two of your boys “Mike” without risking the ire of your favorite aunt, right? In that same vein, page titles need to be unique and well researched and represent one page only.
But also like a family has two parents, a page title has two audiences: your hopeful customer and the search engine they use to reach that page.
Getting each page title right is critical to ensure your website is readable and searchable.
Here’s how to get there.
The Page Title in HTML
The page title meta tag should be your first concern. Generally, if you’re using WordPress or some other content management system, then it’s a no brainer. It’s baked in.
When starting a new project with an unknown theme, though, assume nothing. Review each page template in your theme or the “page.php” base template and ensure the tag exists.
It should look like this: <title>
Start with your keywords
Like you call a family member by their name, you start your page content (and title tag) with your keyword. This helps search engines understand your content and categorize your page. This is really important for ranking.
However, besides search engines, it’s also good for people. We’re taught to write with the most important ideas summarized first, followed by detail and summary content. Since your keyword should summarize your webpage, using your keywords first in your page title makes people who click on your link more committed to reading your content.
Think about length
You generally want to keep your title tag below 60 characters long. Most search engines and social sites start to cut off your content at that length, which means you’ll end up with “…” instead of text.
However, going longer is not bad. It just means humans won’t be able to read your content. Search engines, on the other hand, don’t have that problem.
Be readable and branded
While keywords are more for search engines, readability is more for people. So, write your page title to be engaging and worth clicking. How? Start your tag with your core keyword for the page and then follow up with either an action verb or noun that is incomplete. This is called a teaser and it forces readers to ask why or how and that drives a click.
Consider this page title: Toyota Repairs – Explore repair offers near you – Toyota.com
The keyword is “Toyota repairs”. It’s searchable and starts the title.
Next is a call to action that invites you to click since you were searching for “Toyota repairs” and this web page might provide discounts (note the word “offers“).
Finally, end your page title with branding. By confirming your brand, you build reader trust and that helps drive clicks.
The page title is one of the most important elements of a webpage. It summarizes your content, provides a placeholder for your keywords and quickly communicate what your page is about.
Make sure your page title is technically sound and ensure that the key phrase it holds is popular. If you do, your page traffic will rise.
Any more ideas? Give us a shout at VisualString.com/contact or comment below. We would love to hear from you.