Title tags (<title>My Website</title> for example) are a HTML element that defines the title of a specific page of your website. These titles appear in the “title bar” of your web browser (for this website it’s “PixelSheffield – Home” or “PixelSheffield – Effectively Titling Your Website” depending on which page you’re viewing this article on!) and are also visible when you view your website in a search engine results page. Since users first interaction with your website is very likely what they see on this search engine results page, it’s vital that you title your webpages effectively.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re titling your web pages:
- Make Sure EVERY Page Has a Title: The worst mistake you could make is to forget to even give your webpage a title at all! This may be difficult to ensure on a very large website with hundreds and hundreds of pages, but it’s vital that each page has one. If your page doesn’t have a title it won’t show up correctly in search engines (if at all), which will definitely result in a loss of potential visitors. Also make sure that each page has a different title and it isn’t using a default one provided by a WYSIWYG program.
- Utilize Relevant Keywords: If your website sells jewelry, you should definitely include jewelry-related keywords somewhere in your title tag. This could include relevant keywords like rings, necklaces, or even just jewelry! Having relevant keywords in your title will help users find you when searching for specific keywords, and the more people that can find you the higher your website will climb in the rankings. However, avoid keyword stuffing—most search engines can pick up on this and actually rank you lower.
- Be Accurately Descriptive: Your title tag should be descriptive of the page it’s representing. It makes no sense to title your page “Diamond Rings” if the page is all about sapphire necklaces. Make sure all title descriptions are accurate, while avoiding overly generic or verbose wording.
- Use the Optimal Length: If your webpage’s title is too long, search engines will actually truncate the title so that it fits on their results page. For Google the ideal title is between 50 – 60 characters long, and you should aim to for about this length. However, you should not sacrifice a good, descriptive title for the sake of squeezing under this character length.
- Don’t Forget to Include Your Brand: You should always include your brand name in the title tag somewhere; after all, you want to keep reminding visitors whose site they’re on! However, there is some debate as to where within the title tag you should include your brand name. A good rule of thumb is if your business is very well-known and the presence of that name can influence users to click the link to your website in the search results, put your brand name at the beginning of your title. Otherwise, add it onto the end.