Why are page titles important?
Page titles often appear without context. When someone sees your page title in Google, RSS reader, Facebook or Twitter, it may have no photos, no lead, no publication name, etc. So the page title needs to get the point across and make the reader want to click.
What makes a page title effective for the web?
- Brevity. Online readers are page scanners, and search engines may shorten your page title in their results page. Put important keywords in the first 40 characters of your page title.
- Clarity. Don’t be punny!
- Keywords. Using words people will search on.
- Verbs. People go online to do things.
Can you show me some examples?
Sure. Notice how short and focused these are:
- Pull Ups and Potty Training
- Choosing a Summer Camp for a Child With Autism
- Keeping Your Teen Safe Online
Why can’t I just use a print publication’s headline as my page title?
If it meets the guidelines above, then by all means, use the original headline as your page title.
But if it’s more clever than informative, or relies on context to be understood, you’ll need to revise it for the online environment. The page title needs to make sense, even without context.