A current work in progress at PlusNet, Force9 and Free Online is to update our meta content on the pages, from an SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) point of view.
You'll find that pretty much any site explaining or teaching SEO will mention page titles. Optimising your document title one of the simplest changes you can make to help your site achieve a better rank. It's also one the most important factors in SEO, partly because it becomes the text that your searcher clicks on. This means a good title can increase click-through rate. It is also used to indicate whether your document content is relevant to the search performed by the user. Below are some general guidelines for writing a successful page title:
Use dividers for brand and page titles. “|” and “>”
Length should be no more than 70 characters
Incorporate keyword phrases
Let searchers know where they're going, be relevant
Target longer phrases where relevant
Re-use in the content headline for increased relevancy
Experiment with click-through rates
Dividers help your title make sense to the searcher, rather than being one long sentence you can divide the title into brand, page hierarchy and key-phrase/description. This also helps with consistency when making titles from pages lower down your site structure, and splitting it from other essential information so the title makes sense.
The guidelines on the length of your title is negotiable! But it should be just long enough to include your brand, the page heading and/or a prominent key-phrase thats relevant to the document's content. Any longer than 70 Characters in there and your probably stuffing keywords in, or your not getting to the point quick enough. It is best practice to use your brand at the beginning or end of the title to aid the searcher when navigating pages.
Keyword phrases in your title are obviously important for the result pages, as long as they are relevant they will do the task of persuading the searcher to click and helping your page rank for your most important keyword/key-phrase. You should also take into account the keyword proximity, changing it based on your most valuable key-phrases.
Longer keyword phrases are beneficial in bringing your document under a larger group of keywords used by the searcher. It's also easier to make the title more relevant to the content when using long key-phrases
Remember titles are used differently to navigation. In fact they're backwards, so try placing the document name or title at the beginning and working backwards through your site heirachy. In the way that a breadcrumb trail would work, backwards! If you're wondering why or how it works like this, check your bookmarks or if your browser supports it, the arrow next to your back button. All you see is the start of the title, this should be the most relevant to your document.
Branding your traffic lets the searcher know what sort of document they will be going to, and hopefully this will be relevant to your content. It also re-enforces your brand with the potential customer, as we know most people like to buy branded products, which may help your click-through rate if a user is searching for you specifically.
It's great, and easy to experiment with titles. There's no one way to make a good document title so try different approaches for a week or two and watch for changes in your analytics. Of course it depends on which converts better, your title may attract more visitors from the results pages but do they want to be there?
some live examples for plus.net:www.plus.net
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