The page title is among the most contentious of all issues for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Why? Everyone wants to control it-- online marketers, programmers and designers. Often, even corporate executives with no real knowledge of SEO significance weigh in with their preferences. (Sometimes they even push these opinions well after someone has to explain where the title appears on the screen in the first place.)
Page titles are recognizable as the links you read within search engine result pages or as the words in the ubiquitous but quiet blue bar at the very top of the browser screen. Don’t confuse the page title with the page or file name. Also, it’s not the page header, like a headline for the visible text.
Officially, the information in page titles guides search engines. Think of these titles as signals. With page titles, you’re basically telling the search engines, "This is what our page is about and our content is going to prove it. In fact, if you follow links to our website, they’ll also reinforce what we’re trying to tell you through the page title."
In some cases, we can get clients ranked without doing much else besides placing the right keywords in the right position in the page title.
It gets dicey, however, when you start to discuss what actually goes into a page title. Here are five key factors you should consider when framing page titles.
Editor's Note: What is SEO?
If you're not sure of the basics -- not sure what Search Engine Optimization is in the first place -- please skip to the "About SEO" page of this In Focus, then come back.
Next: It's about content