Page titles are probably something most web users take for granted. And that’s fine for the user, but it’s not something a business should take for granted. Titles are the last chance you have to persuade a user to click on your website. Don’t neglect them and hope for the best; while page titles aren’t the most glamorous portion of your website, it’s important to have them for both the user experience and for SEO.
If you take a look at the Google search engine page results of anything you’ve searched, you’ll see a variety of ways in which businesses have chosen to write their page titles…
…some businesses like to keep it simple and clear. Some prefer the pipe, some prefer the dash:
…some want to shove everything in there:
…some are so excited they don’t pay attention to suggested max length:
…some aren’t relevant but since they didn’t include any other keywords you’d never know:
As you can see from above, there are so many different ways to write page titles that you might be confused on how, exactly, you should be writing them. There’s no absolute solution or formula, but here are some ways you might consider for your webpages.
General Page Formula
If you just want to write some page titles and go, this general formula will work for you. It includes mostly everything you’d want in a description for people and search engines: keywords and your business name. If you’ve followed the best practice for page naming (using clear page names that include keywords), this will give you a chance to include two keywords in your page title. You can certainly rearrange this formula to suit your needs, but search engines read the first word as having the most weight and relevance, and the last word as having the least weight and relevance, so you want to put your most important terms first. Remember, the allotted space for a page title is around 50-60 characters, so you should have that restriction in mind when writing (if you use the Yoast SEO plugin, it will let you know if you go over).
Keyword | Page Name | Business Name
Tip: Frequently used punctuation in page titles include the pipe (|), hypen (-), comma (,) and ampersand (&). It doesn’t really matter which one you use as long as it’s easy to read and understand. Since you only have so many characters in a page title, the pipe might serve you well since it takes up very little space.
The home page will, most of the time, be how people enter your site. You want to give a general overview of your website as well as your business name. If you offer one main service that’s concise and fits in the allotted space for a page title, include that. If you have several services of equal importance that won’t all fit into a page title, you may want to use your tagline or something that signifies a benefit to your customers, like Zappos does.
Business Name | Tagline
Business Name | Main Service
Business | Benefit to Customers
When you write a blog post title, you have to take a few things into consideration: the search engine, your reader and the social media platform you’ll share it on. Typically, you will want to use the title of the blog post, even if it may not have your keyword in it, because that will give the most clue to your reader when they try to figure out what a page is about. When sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter scrape your link, they’ll pick up the page title and display that. If you use the general page formula above, readers may not even realize it’s a blog post.
Blog Post Title | Business Name
In the image above, the page title was written using the general formula. It works for a general purpose, but you miss out on the catchy title of the blog post, which was “Headless Body in Topless Bar”.
Pages that are Optimized for Location
Not every page title should have a location. Sometimes a business serves customers across the country. But if you do want to target a specific location, it’s important to include the location in your page title. You can go for a general region (the Midwest) or drill down to a specific neighborhood (Carmel, IN). The more specific a location you can target, the better.
Keyword + Location | Page Name | Business Name
Remember, you never want to repeat your page titles. It’s confusing to your customers because it looks like every page contains the same thing. Even if you have 100+ pages to write, you need to create specific page titles for every one of those pages. Even worse than repeating, though, is not having page titles at all–so get writing!