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Page titles

Posted in Content, Meta-data and Search

A page title is thought to be one of the most important things on your page for being found on search engines. Page titles are another one of those things that do most of their work behind the scenes on a website.

But what is a page title!? Well, you’ll have come across them in a few places:

  1. If you look at the top of your web browser, you’ll notice a snippet of text across the top of the window. If there’s nothing there (if you’re using Google Chrome, for example), you’ll probably spot it in the tab of the webpage you’re looking at, next to the small ‘x’ that closes the page.
  2. When you search on Google or Bing, the results that appear have a title. That’s the page’s page title!
  3. When someone links to a site on Facebook or LinkedIn, for example, a summary of the page that’s being linked to appears. The title that’s used is the page title.

Unique and descriptive

Each page in your website should have its own unique page title. This is because search engines return pages from websites in their results, rather that the whole website.

The title should describe the page. You don’t want to confuse searchers or people that come across a link to your site on Facebook with a title that doesn’t match the contents of the page they arrive on when they click though to visit your site.

Keep it snappy

You’ve got a limited number of characters. Anything beyond that number will be ignored, so be careful! The number will differ, depending on who you ask, but keeping under 70 characters is generally considered to be safe enough.

Be up front

The first few words of your page title are the most important. Not only will only the first few words be visible in that tiny tab at the top of your browser, but search engines give them more weight.

An example of front loading would be something like “Best pies in London – visit MegaPie!”. Ok that’s a terrible example—the pressure got to me—but it shows that ‘best’, ‘pies’, ‘London’ and MegaPie are important to the website owner, in that order. ‘Best’, ‘pies’ and ‘London’ are more important to the website owner than the brand itself, ‘MegaPie’ as searchers are more likely to be looking for “the best pie in London” or “London pies” than MegaPie itself.

Over to you

When writing or preparing your website, make sure you give less obvious areas like page titles as much attention as you do the contents of the page itself and—you never know—you could fly straight to the top of the rankings!

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More resources

Here are a couple more resources for you to enjoy. If that’s not enough, have a look at the full list.

  1. Images as the first thing in a button or link

    If the text of an interactive element like a button or link is preceded with an accessible image, we’ve probably got an accessibility problem.

  2. Alt text for CSS generated content

    There’s an interesting feature in Safari 17.4 that allows content added with CSS to have ‘alt’ text. I’m not sure how I feel about this.