What is it?
The Page Title (proper noun) is a HTML element that appears in the invisible <head> area of your webpage and contains that page’s official document title! It’s typically mistaken for the <h1> element, which is usually the actual title that you physically see on the screen.
You can find your Page Title for a given page in 3 places, typically.
- Use your browser to “View Source” of your page and search for the “<title>” tag.
- It will be rendered in the tab of your browser. You’ll probably have to hover over it to see the full thing.
- It will be pulled through as the big blue text if your page should appear as a result in Google*
*Sometimes Google will rewrite this if it thinks a different title will better reflect the query you searched for.
Does it matter?
A word is a word is a word – right? Wrong. A word in a document’s title tends to be a reflection of the overall subject of the page moreso than a word pulled from the second paragraph. As a natural consequence of this, you should really think about your word choice in your Page Title. This is a prime place to use the search terms that you want the page to be relevant and visible for.
It’s also functionally the same as the ad title in a PPC campaign. You’d never let your CMS auto-generate your PPC ads – why would you let it do the same for your organic listing?!
A good page title uses the right search terms to reach your target audience, and attracts the click with a clear indication of what the page is about.
What influences it?
In theory, you can give your page any Page Title you want. In practice, there are some limitations. Google will truncate any title longer than 512 pixels wide. Bear in mind that if a user enters a search term that appears in your Page Title, Google will bolden those words where they appear in the title – and bold characters are thicker than regular letters.
Further, it tends to stop counting the words towards the relevance of the page after the 9th word.
This means that the Page Title is best kept short and sharp. This actually lends itself to a good structure – your page title shouldn’t need to be too long because it should be focused around a reasonably tight topic.