Beginners Guide To SEO 1: Web Page Titles

Like me, I expect most website visitors hardly notice the title of most pages they visit, but page titles are still important for SEO, for two reasons:

  1. Search engines such as Google use the title as an indication of the content of the page.
  2. When your page appears in search engine results, the title is used as a clickable heading got your listing, and so can be decisive in getting people to click and visit your website.

Crafting Web Page Titles For Good SEO

To be effective, the web page title must be:

  • unique for every page
  • descriptive and relevant to the content of the page
  • concise (only the first 60-70 characters are significant)
  • consistent with the main heading of the page, because this re-enforces with search engines what the page is about.

In spite of this, many websites have the same title on every page. Embarrassingly, it is often left set to a default value from a website template, such as “web page title goes here”—oops!

This happens because the title is easily overlooked. It’s not very prominent when viewing the page—across the top of the browser window if the browser has a title bar (but not all browsers have a title bar these these days). Or on a browser tab, but this is generally not wide enough to display the title so it will usually be truncated.

The other place your web page title will often appear is in Google and Bing search listings. Here’s an example:

Google search listing showing a good web page title for SEO

Despite the importance of this, few website owners think to search for their own pages to see how they appear in search listings. If you care about SEO it is worth doing this because what appears in the search listing will affect how likely someone is to choose your link, and visit your website.

SEO Tip: Check your web page listings in Google search—otherwise you could have a great position in Google but very few people clicking on it, and a lot of wasted effort on SEO.

Summary

So, web page titles are important for SEO for two reasons. Because they tell search engines what you page is about, and when they appear in a list of search results they tell your potential customer or client what the web page is about. A good web page title is relevant, descriptive, consistent with the main heading on the page, and up to about 60-70 characters in length.

I’d be interested to hear if you’ve found any interesting or amusing uses of page titles, or any questions about this topic.

Get in touch if you’d like some help with the titles and SEO on your website.

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