A year or two ago, we asked our content experts to create “Top Picks” pages on a number of topics. Creating sets of useful links was a great idea (and a big shout-out to our experts for making them!), but we made one big mistake. Can you guess what it was?

Google weights the first few words in the page title heavily when creating search results, so titles should start with topical words like “Religious Education” and “Social Justice.” Each page title started with “Top Picks” (for example, “Top Picks for Safe Congregations”), so at a glance, all our search results looked the same!  We’ve since removed “Top Picks” from the page titles.

When you write a page title:

  • Keep it short. (People won’t read the whole title if it’s long.)
  • Put the most important words in the first few words. A person who stops reading will have seen the most important part, and Google is more likely to display your page when people search for those words.
  • Make your titles specific. Specific but short can be hard, but Google downgrades pages that have the same title as other pages.
  • Use terms people know. Don’t use UUA-specific program names if they aren’t widely known, or acronyms.

The page title shouldn’t assume that people know what area of the website the page is in. They may have arrived via a web search. Check out this Google search result:

Google search result showing page with a vague title

 

What’s the page about? We can only guess from the URL. UUA.org has a lot of pages with vague titles, like “Minutes” or “Further Reading,” that we need to fix.

Read more on writing great page titles.

About the Author
Margy Levine Young
Margy Levine Young is the Manager of the ITS Web Team, part of the Information Technology Service staff group of the UUA.

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