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Importance of Page Titles
How important are page titles

 12:03 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Hello, I was rereading an article on Page titles which said that they are on the onramp to reach any page.

I am just wanted some information on that. From what I understand, the title is the story about your page. So if you had many pages, you need many different titles, correct?

The search engines would pick up on those titles as time went on, is that correct too?

thanks and have a good day



 12:57 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sounds like a good understanding. Titles are displayed in the SERPS so you want a title that makes people thinkg that they have found the page that they want.

Not something like "page 1" but rather "Blue Widgets - How to Configure"
That will make sense to the visitor and will help your position for searches about blue widgets and their configuration.


 1:02 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

yes thanks and for each page, lets say blue widgets, i should have blue widgets - how to configure

yellow widgets - what can they do for you



 3:25 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Also, lets say I have the main page for blue widgets

can I say <title>Purchase Blue Widgets for Manufacturing Cable Assemblies/title>

then I have a subcategory page, called White Widgets:

could I say <title> Buy our White Widgets - to build cables with MIL-Spec connectors</title>

similar to that?



 8:54 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Titles are the most important real estate on your site..

You have it right, like a level 1 heading, they should be a description of the topic of the page, and they SHOULD make sense to the user, but in terms of SEO, you need to be cautious about wasting words here. Each one is a keyword opportunity, and the number of characters slurped by search engines differs. So don't waste words on and, to, for, is, . . . another very bad approach,

keyword 1 | keyword 2 | keyword 3 | keyword 4 | keyword 4

This is as spammy as can be, plus, you're wasting characters on |.

SE's will read left to right, and stop when they feel like it. The company name will be gathered from other areas. Don't plop this in on every page.

Company Name - about us
Company name - product 1, product 2, product 3

If you must put company name in the title, put it off to the right.

Hinted at above, resist the urge to keyword stuff. Remember this needs to be human-readable and make sense.

Buy widgets green widgets blue widgets large widgets

Though it's a bad example, the message is clear, buy widgets.


 10:04 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

rather than

yellow widgets - what can they do for you

say what they do for you.

yellow widgets - better ...


 11:00 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh ok rocknbill, so I won't waste words and I won't put keyword1, keyword 2 and so on

and DavdV, thank you too, so I should say

yellow widgets produce green cheese

like that?


 11:03 pm on Mar 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

Also, Rocknbill, if I say, Buy widgets green widgets blue widgets large widgets

yes the message is clear, buy widgets, but is it ok to use the word "widgets 4 times in the title as you wrote it?


 1:30 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

The title certainly is very important, some times just looking at your page will give you ideas of what the page should be. From there remove anything from the title that is not of great importance...

"Photographs I took in May when I visited Paris"
could easily be shortened to...
"Photographs of Paris"

That is a very direct title and with the example I user it might be hard to go after that term. You can choose to narrow your title down a bit, this can sometimes be referred to as "long tail"

The thinking behond being more specific is you will have less sites going after the same term. The search volume may be less, but it can lead to more traffic...
"Photographs taken in south Paris"

The examples I used aren't very good, but I hope they give you some ideas. You may also want to think about alternative words..A few years who one of my sites sold "UK widgets" the term had pretty high search volume, but it was tricky to stay on the first page.

I decided to target an alternative "word" and optimized for "British widgets". Much lower search volume, but consistently in top 3. It paid off and traffic rose 25%.

Sometimes you need to work out the balance. popular search term, but lower rank or less popular term but higher rank.

Hope this gives you some ideas.



 3:11 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Amy, have you ever had time to kill at an airport and wandered over to the newspaper stand to maybe pick up a magazine from the rack there? What titles on the magazine cover caught your eye? That's what a <title> page title </title> is.

If you are skillful enough to get a page into a SERP, then you want to crane your neck and wave your arms and punch the computer screen to get that surfer to click into your website.

Make it catchy, make it sizzle -- snap it up -- "Widgets, What You Didn't Know" ; "Yellow Widgets: They are NOT all the same!" ; "Green Widgets : Are All Brands Healthy?" ; "Blue Widgets : The Little Known Effect of Size" and so on.

Craft the first paragraph of the landing page to address the headline, then head into your core data. I am not suggesting you trip up your reader with a scam, but every product or service can be dressed up with great -- if unusual -- headlines (read: <Page Titles>).


 4:29 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

yellow widgets produce green cheese

Yes those interested in green cheese will know find you, it may not be a popular search, but you have a chance at getting a good share of all "widget green cheese" type searches.


 5:18 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

rocknbil posted a good overview. The title is displayed bold in the SERPs so the keywords used in the query will draw the eye if they are in there. THEN use the meta description (which is not known to be used for ranking) to incite the searcher to click on your listing.

Title is for search ranking and catching the searcher's eye.

Meta description is for inciting that searcher into clicking through to your site.

They both work together.


 5:39 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Wild Widget Romp
Into the Widget
What's Up, Willy Widget?
The Wily Widget and Clever Coyote
Widget Farm: Milking It

The title is the first place to get attention. Craft this as carefully as you do your HTML or JS... pays off big time and can make or break your success. The keyword (once) is almost required so get that in there, but don't over do it... find those adjectives/adverbs which call to action to make that page title sing.


 6:50 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Tangor, that is an interesting suggestion. Do you use a call to action in your title tags? If so, do those pages rank for competitive phrases?

I have always assumed that calls to action would dilute the meaning of the key words, which is why I put the call to action in the meta description. Maybe I'll give it a try and see what happens.


 6:57 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

martinibuster... I always call to action in the title... that is the FIRST place that any SE or searcher sees. It is where you get the first bite. It is what makes one visit. As for meta description, I don't use them on any of my sites. I depend on page title and what the SE takes from my first paragraph.


 7:23 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>>that is the FIRST place that any SE or searcher sees.

That's why I don't use it there. I don't want the search engine to see it. A call to action is not relevant to a user query. That is to say, users won't be querying, "batman action figure click here." If the search engine is analyzing the title tag for relevance, then the common assumption is that it's best to keep non-relevant content out of the title tag.

I put the call to action in the meta description, because the SE won't use it for ranking, thus it's a safe place to put it in. Publishing the call to action in the meta description allows you to control the message in the SERPs. Allowing the SE to display a ransom note instead of a Meta Description seems like a wasted opportunity. Why not put a Meta Description in there with a call to action?

I'm not disputing that it won't work, I haven't tried it. But I will give it a shot and see what happens. Regarding not using the meta description though, that seems like a wasted opportunity.


 8:43 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Call to action means different things to different folks. Your example of "batman action figure click here" is krap. I use something like "batman in action, full figure". The keyword is "batman" adjective is "figure", adverb is "action", and I never use "click here"---that's so 1990s! Give the adverb first, adjective second. That is the call to action I use in my titles. Hoping the user will click. Those interested in the site will do that. Logs reveal that as well.

Play with meta, but in my experience meta is discounted by the goog. Just my hill of beans. Stacked as high as I can, but you know how beans stack!


 9:19 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Call to action does not mean different things to different folks. A call to action is a commonly understood term. Even wikipedia gets it right:

Call to action
All sales letters include a call to action which is intended to get the customer to commit to purchasing the product or service, typically without any further intervention.

And here is something from About.com: [email.about.com]

Create a Clear Call to Action in Email Marketing Campaigns
One of the crucial elements of an email marketing campaign is a clear call to action.

•Lay out exactly what you want the recipients of your message to do, and
•design the message to make that path clear for the recipient, and easy to follow.

What you are citing as a call to action is not a call to action. Take a look at this discussion, [webmasterworld.com] and this discussion, [webmasterworld.com] and this discussion [webmasterworld.com] for more information about what a call to action is and how to write one.

The way you structure your title tag is the same way I structure mine, without a call to action. We agree on this issue, we are doing this the same way. :)

Play with meta, but in my experience meta is discounted by the goog.

I agree with that, too. We are in agreement. :) That is why I am advocating the placement of the call to action in the meta, where it won't be used to rank the site. ;)

A call to action is a phrase that incites someone to click, buy, order, phone, to take an action that leads to a conversion. Your example does not ask the reader to take an action, that is why it is not a call to action, and why your example is the way I am suggesting that a title should be written, without a call to action. ;)

The following title does not explicitly ask the reader to take an action:
batman in action, full figure

I agree with you, that is the way to write it, without explictly inciting an action.

Now here is a title written with a call to action, with the call to take an action bolded:
batman action figure click here

I agree with you, tangor, that is a "krap" title. However it is important to have the point of what is a "call to action" clarified because what you were unwittingly advocating was the "krap" title, and I'm sure you would agree with me that we wouldn't want others to misunderstand your post and create an SEO rumor that adding call to actions in the title tags is the proper way to craft them.

Can we agree that we agree with each other? :)


 11:44 am on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Okay, no misunderstanding of over the top and out in the atmosphere call to action. I just keep it KISS. Works for me! I avoid the "click here" and keep it simple. We are on the same wavelength. Call to action works in subtle ways, I hope we can agree on that, too. Meta tags deliver no action so I don't worry with that, all others can do as they please.

martinibuster... we are in the same ball park, we might speak in different tongues, but we do agree. As I said earlier, different stokes for action... and in the long run we still aren't sure what is "action", else we'd all be making a ga-zillion. :)


 6:03 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Ok, yes, I've seen magazines in airports, sure, I think I get it and am on the right track

very good, I will carry on


 6:24 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)


I am still not clear about these title tags, if I put, let's say

Buy fruit, apples, oranges, tomatoes, green grapes

would that be ok?


 8:51 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

Sorry, can't let this one go . . .

batman action figure click here

Don't waste words on describing how to use the document. :-)

buy batman action figure here

Amy lots of good info in this thread by talents greater than I, your last concept is OK, but here's another way to think about it when building title and page content.

If you were searching for information on apples, what would you enter into Google to find that information?

Oooh. Apples gave me too much, and a lot of it was off topic (apple computers, apple juice . . . ) I want to know about vitamins in apples. (Or nutritional content. Or percentage of water. Or apple strains.....)

apple vitamins?

This approach is always a very good place to start.


 9:15 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

>>>Sorry, can't let this one go . .

That was meant to illustrate for tangor what a call to action is, not to illustrate how to craft a call to action. ;) The post includes several links to posts within WebmasterWorld and outside of WebmasterWorld to show that what tangor was referring to as a call to action is not what is commonly known as a call to action. It was not meant to illustrate how to craft a call to action. Only to show what a call to action is. ;) Didn't mean to take the discussion off topic, but it is important to clarify that point so that subsequent readers are not confused.

If you were searching for information on apples, what would you enter into Google to find that information?

That goes back to the point I made about not using a call to action in the title. Amy, I don't recommend using BUY in the title tag unless you are specifically targeting "WHERE TO BUY" queries. Then it makes absolute sense to use the word buy. As I stated in a previous post, and rocknbil restated, for purposes of ranking well, use words in the title that a person entering a search query would use. Then to get people from Google's SERPs to your site, drop the call to action (to click on the serp listing, to visit your site, to browse your site, to shop your site, etc.) into the Meta Description.

I know this discussion is about Titles, but the introduction of words like BUY into the title introduces the issue of where to put the call to action- which is generally in the meta description. The meta description and the title tag work together. They should never be worked on apart. They appear together in the SERPs and so must be constructed together.

If you are interested in maximizing the amount of visitors to your site, then use the Meta Description to lure those visitors to your site. You can allow the search engines to create a non-sensical description taken from words from your web page, but it doesn't make sense if you are concerned at all about getting the most visitors to your site.


 11:10 pm on Mar 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I use something like "batman in action, full figure". The keyword is "batman" adjective is "figure", adverb is "action", and I never use "click here"---that's so 1990s!

I think you're missing what a "call to action" is.

We aren't talking parts of grammar, we're talking about directing people to act now.

A call to action is a statement that for the shopper/visitor to do a specific thing such as CLICK HERE, ADD TO CART, BUY NOW, PAY NOW, etc.

Without calls to action on a page, pages don't perform so well.

Therefore the first call to action to be seen will either be in the title or the meta description shown in the SE results, then the next call to action needs to be in the page to help direct the visitor to your intended goal - MAKING THE SALE

"click here"---that's so 1990s!

I made a lot of money in the '90s so that's a good thing.

If you were talking to someone person to person you would point to the spot on the screen and tell them "CLICK HERE" would you not?

Being too subtle allows the slow thinkers to just wander off willy nilly.

Make it simple, straight to the point, done.


 6:01 am on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Guys and gals, I bow to your definition of "call to action". All I remember from Mrs. Crabtree's English class in 1956 is "call to action" is get 'em hooked.

Use no crappy titles, because the title is the "call to action" to read the story. That I continue to use. Sorry for the confusion with the latter day def of "call to action".


 9:04 pm on Apr 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

Rocknbil, you make me laugh.

If I were to search for apples, I would be specific. such as I would want to know , let's say, different types of apples

or the nutritional value of an apple, but I already know that,

it's an apple a day keeps the doctor away hahah


 6:39 pm on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

Well, OK. Let's say I have a site about (surprise) widgets. In researching keywords I see that "electric widget sharpener" draws 4,800 monthly Google searches. So, in theory, that precise phrase gets about 160 searches daily on G. Also, I see that various widget sharpener brands also draw a fair number of searches. With one of the analysis tools I use, I see that competition for the phrase is relatively low and that it won't take very many back links to the page in order to rank well for it, at least in theory.

With that information, I might do a page with a title along these lines:

<title>Electric Widget Sharpener, Brand#1, Brand#2, Brand#3</title>

In the meta description I might go with something like this (please understand I'm sort of dashing this off):

"Find your Electric Widget Sharpener here, including Brand#1, Brand#2, Brand#3 - discount prices - read reviews and info about widget sharpening."

I'm sure some may find this approach deficient in some respects, but I find it works well more often than not, as long as the page also includes some original content employing the keywords along the lines of LSI.


 7:06 pm on Apr 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

it's an apple a day keeps the doctor away hahah

Only if your aim is good.


 10:18 pm on Apr 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

hahhahah, I have a good aim!


 4:37 am on Apr 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Be cautious about changing titles. Big changes, esp. to entire sections of websites, can cause SERP problems. I make minor changes (e.g., adding the year) without problems.

Sometimes you're better off creating a new page with old content than keeping the old page and changing the title.

I like putting the site domain at the end unless it's a short or kick-@ss domain name!


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