Best Practice for Page Titles – Maximise Your Search Engine Visibility
There’s much misconception surrounding the format and approach for page titles. Some believe that cramming them with your keywords (keyword stuffing) is the best opportunity for higher rankings in the SERPs, others will repeat the same page title across multiple pages (or have limited opportunities to change this within their CMS platform) and others don’t even create page titles or use relevant titles for the pages in question.
Rewind ten years, and repeating multiple keywords in your page titles would have had a much more positive effect than today. Over the years, and certainly over the past two years, the likes of Google have really stepped up their algorithm in determining low quality content on the web along with being able to reward naturally genuine content with appropriate rankings. The ability to manipulate search engines is becoming increasingly difficult (thankfully) and I’d like to think that in the next year or two, it will be almost impossible to game the system as so many, even SEO agencies try to do.
A year ago, we would have recommended something such as the following for your page titles:-
Keyword 1 | Keyword 2 | Keyword 3 :: Brand/Website
With the advice that keywords (or key phrases) should be semantically relevant.
Now however, recent research has showed that more naturally written page titles appear to be performing better in the SERPs and this has always been Google’s intentions and how the web should be; Naturally written, quality, unique content for the benefit of the end user; The reader.
Something such as the following (and see below examples) is now more likely to perform better in the search engines as it is more naturally written and descriptive to humans reading rather than a variation of keywords qwhich more often than not, will be what the website owner is wanting to rank for.
Primary Keyword | Summarisation/Slogan :: Brand
Blue Widgets | The Most Effective Blue Widgets On The Web :: Widget Company
Urban Clothing | Leading UK Supplier of Urbanwear & Streetwear :: Reprebate
Boys Gadgets | Over 1000 Awesome Gadgets for Boys & Men :: The Gadget Company
Search Marketing | Effective Search Marketing at Competitive Rates :: Search Marketing
Whilst it is always recommended to keep page titles less than 70 characters in length as any more than this will not be visible in the search engines, it’s not to say that any words after the 70th character will not have any benefit/influence in rankings. The complete page title will be crawled, indexed and taken into account when Google’s algorithm ranks web pages but the page title should ultimately be highly relevant to the search query and descriptive for the searcher – The more the algorithm scores your page titles on this, the more chance you have of ranking your pages better in the SERPs.
As with anything you do to optimise youe website, always ensure you are catering for your target audience. This will naturally result in a natural looking website when bots, spiders and crawlers index your content – you will be doing yourself no harm in maximising your potential in the search engines.
Geoff Jackson is director of search and technology at Clubnet Search Marketing, a UK based search marketing and creative design agency specialising in digital marketing solutions for businesses.