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I had a question regarding usability of my website, content, search engines, etc...
When you add your title tag to every page, do you find it standard to include your site name first and THEN the page name? Do you find this is easier to do across your entire site, and easier for users as well?
Just wondering what you do for your own site. If you could, could you give an estimate of how many pages are on your website as well?
My guess is that users rarely look at the browser title bar, so they only see the page title when looking at search results. I always aim for a short meaningfull title, and would usually only put the site name in the meta description tag, and sometimes not even there.
I put it in there for branding purposes. I put it at the end of the title so that the actual page title is what somebody sees first and that is what they see if they create a bookmark. I find that when I create a bookmark to a specific web page, I almost always edit the link title to remove the site name if it comes first.
Putting your site name in the titlebar, then, will help your users find and manage minimized windows.
WebmasterWorld doesn't do it. So, right now, next to the icon in the Windows Task Bar it says "post message" Acces...". OK, post message WHERE?
Depending on your site, it may make sense to either put the site name or the page name first, as there usually isn't enough room for both in the Task Bar (or equivalent in other OSs).
If users are likely to have a lot of your windows open, you might put the page title first, and of course it may elicit the "where" question I previously cited. But if they are going to have a bunch of pages open on your site, they probably already know "where".
If users are more likely to have one of your pages open, as well as other sites, then put the site name first. (Which is more conventional, as well.)
And, of course, a tabbed interface throws a monkey-wrench in the works. But, again, the same titles appear on the tabs in that case.
Once again, I see SERPs dragging webmasters around like they have a ring in their nose. Don't worry about SERPs. Good content will take care of them. Worry about making things easy for your users, so that they come back again and again.
Of course, something as subtle as page titles is almost subliminal. It's a small tweak. But I think it's the things that aren't so obvious, and make one site easier to use than another without being obvious that can make all the difference.
In my case I want people to be interested in each individual article and I can write more about it in the title if I skip the name.
IMO your title tags should be treated like your content as far as SEO, just on a smaller scale - keyword density is important, keywords/phrases closer to the top (or in the case of the title, closer to the beginning of the title) are more important, etc. In almost all cases, the title tag should contain 1,2, maybe 3 keywords and/or keyword phrases for which you want that page to rank with the most important keyword/phrase appearing 1st in the title, followed by the 2nd most important keyword, then, if applicable, followed by the third most important keyword.
If you don't think people are going to be searching Google for your sitename then it shouldn't be in every title tag. This is why people say only 'brand' sites should have their company or site name in the title tag. For non-brand sites, it will only dilute the keyword density within the tag.
However, if you still insist on advertising your site name in the title tag, include it only in the title tag of pages like the home page, about us page, contact us page... pages you're typically not ranking for keywords. If you further insist that it be included in every title tag then at least put it at the very end of the title tag so that the SEs know it is one of the less important things your page is 'about' (although in most cases I'd venture to say the page is almost never about the site, and more about the content or products you're selling).
[edited by: ZydoSEO at 6:25 pm (utc) on Jan. 1, 2008]
If the company name has no meaning from a keyword perspective, then use it wisely and only in those areas where it is natural to use it e.g. Company, Contact, Privacy, etc.
SERP's only show about 65 characters if I am not mistaken, and tabs even less depending on how many tabs you have open. If EVERY tab reads "widget.com ¦ widget.com ¦ widget.com" then it can be really confusing. But, if the page titles start with blue widgets by widget.com, green widgets by widget.com, red widgets by widget.com, then at a quick glance, both SERP's and tabs, the person know exactly what is there. As for the company name, once they know it, does it really need to be repeated a dozen times. Plus, you are more interested in organic search results. If someone knows your company name, they will probably just enter it.
Just my .2 worth.