Page titles

To find or re-find content online, users rely heavily on page titles (the HTML title tag) . Why? Titles usually act as links to your page in search results and on social media channels. They label pages in browser tabs, bookmarks, favorites and the browser history. And terms used in the title play a role in search engine optimisation.

10 tips for web writers

  1. Identify the page content or purpose
    Ensure the title is sufficient to allow users to identify the content before seeing the page.
  2. Be clear, not clever
    Cute or catchy titles don’t always work. If a user can’t understand what the page is about, they may never bother looking at it.
  3. Use the right topic terms
    Try to use terms that people will recognise immediately, or would search with. Avoid jargon and abbreviations unless well known to your target audience.
  4. Start with the most meaningful words
    Because titles are sometimes only partially displayed (in browser tabs, for instance), and users are often skim-reading them, make sure you start with the most meaningful words.
  5. Add the site or organisation name
    Help users identify the source of the content by including the site name at the end of the title.
  6. Be concise
    Limit titles to 60-70 characters. Titles get cut short in most contexts, including search results.
  7. Ensure each title is unique
    No pages should share a title.
  8. Clearly distinguish pages with similar or related content
    Add enough context to the title to allow users to choose the right page.
  9. Know how your CMS generates titles
    Since content management systems usually generate the title, make sure you know how yours works and whether you can edit the title after it’s been generated.
  10. Write titles for non-HTML documents
    Ensure all PDF and Word documents published online have a title that follows these tips.