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Unique Page Titles

Discussion in 'Content Management' started by danpadams, Mar 5, 2005.

  1. flawebworks

    flawebworks Tech Services

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    #21
    When I frst started seoing my site; I did use my domain name in the title. However; it was suggested to me by a very wise person to remove it. My rankings improved immediately. It was the first move I made and I stick by it. In one year of log files; my "site name" has been searched for exactly 2 times. My site titles; or some combination thereof; do appear. If I search my huge bookmark files; I'm not going to search for the domain name; I'm going to search for *what* I was looking for. Not who. If I need to remember who; they get put in a folder for who, but this is rare. I search for what; whether it's a search engine or locally. I don't remember who.

    You can always create a catchy favicon file for bookmark purposes, and use your title for keywords. People can and will remember Microsoft.com, the big guy. They won't remember lil bitty business.com, the little guy.
    SEMrush
     
    flawebworks, Mar 5, 2005 IP
    SEMrush
  2. J.D.

    J.D. Peon

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    #22
    There are three somewhat independent topics here (hence, the size :) )

    1. How titles affect your ranking
    2. What kind of titles are good for your site's visitors
    3. How each one of us deal with titles and bookmarks

    Each of the three may require a bit different approach and may be more or less subjective.

    #3 is really a personal preference - personally, I would like to know where the page came from and often I end up adding the source myself if the website fails to do this. For example, Microsoft is notoriously bad at this - many of MSDN pages have titles like "Objects" or "Properties". But, hey, it's personal and if "Objects" works for you, that's great.

    #2 I think is pretty obvious - the order of topics in the title should be more-general-to-more-specific. It works for everything where some sorting is involved (e.g. you usually would sort dates as y-m-d). Keep in mind, this isn't what you prefer (thinking of your remark about folders), but what is considered useful by the community.

    Finally, #1. Well, if you think having the search word as a first word in the title works for you, that's great. Do a simple experiment, though - search for something (e.g. acupuncture, carburator - anything) - you will see that half of the first-page entries will have the word acupuncture in the middle of the title.

    Moreover, many people consider SE's as a static mechanism - they learn how it works now and then religiously follow this pattern for years. Think about it this way. Software development cycle (in general) is about a half a year to a year, so it's likely that in 6 to 12 months many SE's will reconsider to some extent how they present results. What worked even a few months ago may simply not produce any results now. Why would they do this? Simple. If the location of the keyword in the title affects your search results, it is simply not a very efficient search engine.

    J.D.
     
    J.D., Mar 5, 2005 IP
  3. danpadams

    danpadams Peon

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    #23
    Very well said JD. On those 3 points, very well said. What I have been trying to get at is related to the idea of General to Specific or Speific to General in order for the title, NOT whether or not to have the General name as part of the title. As a matter of principal, I have decided that I want that in there.
     
    danpadams, Mar 5, 2005 IP
  4. wendydettmer

    wendydettmer Peon

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    #24
    General to specific is the best way to go. But your page titles are very long. I would suggest that if you insisted in keeping the infochi Christian Computing on the page title, that you dont' include the product design showcase as well.

    With the page titles being so long, there is a chance that search engines will not pick up the whole thing, and it will show to them, and the searcher, that there isn't a difference in the pages.
     
    wendydettmer, Mar 5, 2005 IP
  5. joshril

    joshril Guest

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    #25
    I think the site looks pretty good... The one thing I noticed was the information was pretty to the point... I knew what the purpose of the site was when I got there!
     
    joshril, Mar 5, 2005 IP
  6. danpadams

    danpadams Peon

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    #26
    I'm glad you agree with the idea of knowing the purpose of the site. There are basically two purposes behind it, to basically be a business starting point for myself, and also to have a couple links to projects I have done and my home page.

    As far as the titles, I think I will probably remove the part of the title that contains "Product Design Showcase" tomorrow or on monday. I appreciate all of the thoughts.
     
    danpadams, Mar 5, 2005 IP
  7. T0PS3O

    T0PS3O Feel Good PLC

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    #27
    Why?

    The majority seems to believe that the most important KWs should at least go to the beginning of the title.

    Did you guys read my post about he visual 'heatmap' of Google results? Based on that I would definitely put the specific KW's first.

    Imagine you hold the top 3 rankings. The searcher skims down the list for visual clues of relevance... The SERP:

    #1 infoChi Christian Computing - Product Design Showcase - Editor Help

    #2 infoChi Christian Computing - Product Design Showcase - Providers

    #3 infoChi Christian Computing - Product Design Showcase - Something Else

    Based on that research the are more likely to read the words to the left, not the right. So now they get the exact same 3 halves of titles to see. How are they going to interpret that? How are they going to identify they found what they are looking for?

    If you aren't going to dump the excess words from the valuable title then at least do it like this:


    #1 Editor Help - infoChi Christian Computing - Product Design Showcase

    #2 Providers - infoChi Christian Computing - Product Design Showcase

    #3 Something Else - infoChi Christian Computing - Product Design Showcase
     
    T0PS3O, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  8. wendydettmer

    wendydettmer Peon

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    #28
    I suppose I meant that sentence in context with the rest of my post - meaning I did advise he drop the product design showcase. If he's firm on keeping his name in there, then I think that:

    infochi christian computing - editor help

    isn't so bad. I suppose though i'm saying that more from a usability standpoint then a SEO one. Editor Help - InfoChi Christian Computing just looks strange and is counterintuitive to me.

    of course, if christian is one of the KW's he's targeting, then it wouldn't be so bad either.
     
    wendydettmer, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  9. T0PS3O

    T0PS3O Feel Good PLC

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    #29
    Wendy,

    I see what you mean yet I find being found in the first place more important than a meaningful title that people don't get to read because it didn't rank well...

    I guess a good combination of our proposals would be as follows:

    Change

    Editor Help - InfoChi Christian Computing

    into

    Editor Help from InfoChi Christian Computing

    Now it reads just fine and 'from' is discarded by Google so it doesn't eat away value.
     
    T0PS3O, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  10. danpadams

    danpadams Peon

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    #30
    First off, some of these posts were meaningless as I had clearly said that I was already decided upon changing it from "infoChi Christian Computing - Product Design Showcase" to just "infoChi Christian Computing".

    Also I think the word "from" is more likely to be penalized rather than a dash in the sense of seperating words in the title. The reason for this is that the word from is more characters than a dash is and that when the SEs store the stuff in whatever sort of db they use, space is most likely a premium.

    As a result of these two things, I will probably change the titles in my pages in 1 or 2 ways.
    1: Change the infoChi part as it says in the first paragraph
    2: Make some of the page titles more descriptive
     
    danpadams, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  11. T0PS3O

    T0PS3O Feel Good PLC

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    #31
    Meaningless for you perhaps because you don't seem to care about utilizing the title tag for ranking better. Do remember you posted a thread about titles of your site in a forum that has an SEO background.

    Discussing these things is far from useless because as you can see in this thread, opinions on this matter vary a lot and we can learn from each other's ideas and experiences.

    I guess we can expect another thread of yours in a few months about why you aren't ranking too well in Google, MSN and Yahoo (with the last two relying even more on Titles than Google).
     
    T0PS3O, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  12. danpadams

    danpadams Peon

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    #32
    What I had said was that it was meaningless only because stuff that was said was not read by those posting. Yes I have already begun to make some of the changes I have described making. I do care about how the SEs see the titles of my pages, yet the web is not targeted at robots but instead it is titled at people.
     
    danpadams, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  13. J.D.

    J.D. Peon

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    #33
    TOPS, it doesn't really matter what the majority thinks (once the majority thought that the Earth was flat). Can you show some proof that moving keywords to the beginning of the title makes any difference?

    Good point. Besides the obvious limitation SE's may have, depending on how they store titles and relevant indexes, there's also a general usability issue with excessively long titles - most browsers have limited space to display bookmarks and usually cut them off past about 60-80 or so characters.

    J.D.
     
    J.D., Mar 6, 2005 IP
  14. T0PS3O

    T0PS3O Feel Good PLC

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    #34
    It does when they base it on experience and informed guesses. People thinking the earth was flat had never seen it for themselves.

    I don't have any hard proof right now that moving it to the front does help. It's not too hard to test though. But I did provide proof that it helps in getting the people to actually click your page in the SERPs.

    Having read the relevant white papers, and assuming most of it is incorporated into their algo, I know they do factor in the actual placement and it only makes sense that a word occuring earlier in a document is more important.
     
    T0PS3O, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  15. J.D.

    J.D. Peon

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    #35
    People didn't see the inside of the Google's black box either. All people have to go on is the output. What many forget, though, is that this black box is changing inside every few months or so (obvoiusly, not talking about the data) and what even did work in the past may not necesserely work now the same way. I think what important here is how this box is changing, the trend.

    Ok, let's suppose, for the sake of the argument, that keyword position does matter and there's hard, undeniable proof that it does. Well, then billions of pages will be changed so that keywords are shoved to the front. Now, consider this from the technical point of view - you have to choose 100 pages from a few hundred thousand pages that match the criteria, all of them having their keywords first in the title. I think it's pretty obvious that keyword order in this case will be simply useless.

    Where keyword order does matter (or at least should) is the meta information on the page. Titles are for people, not for crawlers and should be made so that the page is easy to work with - easy to print, easy to bookmark.

    J.D.
     
    J.D., Mar 6, 2005 IP
  16. T0PS3O

    T0PS3O Feel Good PLC

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    #36
    For some audiences this is very true. In other cases the title isn't important at all.

    Let's conclude that it entirely depends on the situation. It's a trade-off between readability, usablility and perceived SEO value. Sometimes x title works best, in other environments title y works better.

    Agree?
     
    T0PS3O, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  17. J.D.

    J.D. Peon

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    #37
    While I do agree that there are several ways to create human-readable titles, I would like to make a note from the technical point of view. If the order of keywords in titles did matter, the best titles would look exactly as keyword-listing meta tags, which would be clearly against HTML paradigm:

    http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/struct/global.html#h-7.4.2

    J.D.
     
    J.D., Mar 6, 2005 IP
  18. T0PS3O

    T0PS3O Feel Good PLC

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    #38
    W3 and Search Engines don't necessarily have the same goals/vision when it comes to utilizing the various tags though.
     
    T0PS3O, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  19. wendydettmer

    wendydettmer Peon

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    #39
    That makes good sense to me. I think i'm going to go have a look and see what i'm doing for my page titles. I know i changed them awhile ago, but i think there is room for improvement. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on this topic :)
     
    wendydettmer, Mar 6, 2005 IP
  20. danpadams

    danpadams Peon

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    #40
    I run a CMS webhosting service for some of my friends, and also church and church ministry groups. The CMS that I use is one that I have created myself, this is partly because it is taylored to those church groups that I work with. I am trying to add some SEO stuff to the CMS engine, which might explain why I was asking aboutt the page titles, yet I said the changes may or may not be possible.

    If anyone is interested in the services I have, please feel free to check out my website and let me know of any interests or thoughts you may have. The goal of the SEO stuff I am doing for the CMS system is ultimately help those churches bring people to the Lord.
     
    danpadams, Mar 10, 2005 IP