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Creating Bookmarkable Titles

December 12th, 2008 by mdmcginnis

The title of a Web page determines what users will see when they bookmark it. If the title is informative and attractive, the bookmark (or “favorite,” for IE users) may prompt a return visit. If your page is called “Visit for Research – Cushing Library“, that’s what students and researchers will remember you by. They’ll know exactly what to expect when they choose that bookmark. On the other hand, if your page is called, “Page Title“, well…

Perhaps more importantly, if you don’t choose a memorable and accurate title for each page, you’re probably torpedoing your search engine rankings. When your content management system automatically uses the same title on every page of your site, Google automatically assumes that every page of your site is a duplicate of the first one, and doesn’t bother to index the rest.

When it comes to improving your findability on search engines, no other page element benefits you so quickly as a good title, yet requires so little effort. Just as keeping unwanted visitors away from your Web site can attract the visitors you want, the titles that make the best bookmarks also promote the best search engine positions.

Delicately balancing several elements, a good page title:

  • Describes the contents of the page briefly yet accurately.
  • Can stand alone as a bookmark – it ends with the name of the site so visitors can remember where it came from.
  • Includes the keywords that a visitor might search for to reach that page.
  • Interests visitors and makes them want to visit it again.

The Bookmarks folder isn’t the only place that your title appears. What pops up when you start typing into a Firefox location bar? The titles of similar pages you’ve visited. Not that good bookmarks in themselves are anything to sneeze at. Search may still be the most powerful force drawing visitors to your website, but large numbers of Web visits begin with a bookmark, not a search. Many people, weary of useless search results, are turning to social bookmarking instead of search. And social bookmarking also begins with good titles.

Friday, December 12th, 2008 Search
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