7 Page Title Best PracticesApril 21, 2010 By Heather Fletcher
Home. The word evokes feelings of warmth and comfort—a place to belong. It doesn't necessarily bring to mind the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Yet that's the page title the religious institution chose for its homepage.
By contrast, the page title for the green American Express card's main page is far better: "American Express Green Charge Card—Travel, Shopping, Dining and Entertainment Rewards."
While the page title for the Archdiocese of San Francisco could clearly use some work, the AmEx one isn't perfect, either. This is the advice from Jeff Jones, senior product manager for Barrie, Ont.-based search engine optimization firm gShift Labs. AmEx, for instance, might want to move its branding to the end of the page title, he says.
"Titles are really simple, right?" he asks. "I mean, right off the bat, that's your most important on-page factor."
Below, Jones and Nick Roshon, natural search analyst for Scottsdale, Ariz.-based digital marketing agency iCrossing, advocate best practices for improving page titles and thereby aiding search marketing efforts.
1. Describe. "Think of a page title like the title of a book chapter," Roshon says. "Your titles should be descriptive of the page's content and communicate to users what the page is all about."
But there's no need to make the page title and content identical. “When writing a blog post or article, your page title does not have to match your article/post headline exactly; however, both should contain the keywords or phrases you are optimizing for,” he says. “If you are writing a post on 'Tips for Writing SEO Friendly Page Titles,' you will want to reuse those keywords you are targeting in the page title, such as: 'SEO Optimized Page Titles|How to Write SEO Friendly Page Titles' for your page title.
“Typically, you can be more aggressive with inserting the keywords in the page title than the article headline, as the article headline should focus more on grabbing the reader's attention and convincing them to read the article once they're already at your website, whereas the page title is simply trying to get users to visit your website in the first place,” Roshon continues. “It is very common for article headlines to be coded in an <H1> tag, and words within an <H1> tag are given greater importance by search engines. So having your keywords appear somewhere in the article headline will be beneficial to SEO.”