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Brand Keywords in Titles Too vs. Only in URL

Is there a trade-off between user-friendliness and SEO?

     
8:37 pm on Feb 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I've read a lot about the importance of both keywords and URL structure in SEO, and I wonder if I'm shooting myself in the foot with my current title conventions.

Each brand gets a page: "/AcmeBrand". This has an overview of the brand and links to the sub-pages in the section: "/AcmeBrand/Models", "/AcmeBrand/News", etc.

There's a Table of Contents on each page that shows the user he's looking at the AcmeBrand section and lists all the titles in that section (highlighting the one he's on).

Using short titles like "News" means that the Table of Contents isn't overly cluttered. Users seem to like it.

However, this also means that while the URL and the content contain the keyword "AcmeBrand", the title does not.

Would it be a lot better, from an SEO perspective, to change those titles to "AcmeBrand Models", in which case the URL would be "../AcmeBrand/AcmeBrand-Models"?

Many thanks.

8:55 pm on Feb 7, 2008 (gmt 0)

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URL is important in a perfect world. My focus would be on the title.
1:17 am on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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prfb, let's get our terminology right. I believe that in using the term "titles" you are in fact referring to the "anchor text" of the links pointing to "target pages"...correct?

Typically it's good in a site's internal nav to use keywords in the anchor text. However, some, inlcuding me, believe it's also possible to overdo it, and in any case, as you suggest, the added kw's in the anchor text are probably of little or no use to site users and even appear a bit cluttered or spammy.

If your site is nicely organized as it appears to be, the combination of the kw's in URL's, and logical hierarchical site structure, already give the SE's a decent understanding of what each page is about (directories are a wonderful thing).

Assuming also that your "page titles" carry the brand name and relevant keywords for that page, i.e., "AcmeBrand Models" ... then you should be in great shape.

10:21 pm on Feb 8, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Caveman, thank you, you've pointed out a major area where I was (am) ignorant.

I was referring to "title" generically because for every article or picture my CMS (Drupal 5) asks for a name of the article or picture, which is labeled "title". This is then used for automatically-generated anchor text in the table of contents and throughout the site. I thought this was the title.

But now I think what you're saying is that the "title" that matters is the thing that's between the <title> tags when I look at the source. Is this correct?

(Somehow I'd never noticed that tag before....)

Right now the stuff between the tags is "[article name] [site name]", and [article name] is just "News" not "Acme Widgets - News".

Since [site name] is getting put into the title I suppose I can put other things, too. Looks like I need to figure out how...

Please let me know if I'm still misunderstanding.

Thanks again!

5:48 pm on Feb 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yes, page titles are found between the <title></title> tags in the <head> section of the document.

Page titles are among the most important of all on-page/on-site/off-site SEO-related elements.

7:31 pm on Feb 11, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Thank. Caveman, you rock. =)

(It's a bit disconcerting to realize I've misunderstood something so fundamental. But I am glad to know better now.)

 

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