December 28, 2004

Fix Your Titles for Better Search and Use

Lose the ego already! Since I have been using del.icio.us I have been noticing how backwards so many site's header titles are these days. The header title should be specific to general information.

You are saying "huh?" Okay, take CNN who uses the header title like <title>CNN.com - Dog Bites Man</title>. The better way is <title>Dog Bites Man - CNN.com</title>.

Why? Search engines, browser headers, and bookmarks are why. Search engines use the words to give preference and the words closer to the beginning have higher preference. A browser header will only show the first so many letters (depending on the browser and how wide the browser window is open). Lastly the title is used in browser bookmarks. If a person has four bookmarks to items in a site they would see the site name and then the bit that is important to the user.

Now look at the pages you build are they built for search engines and for people to actually use and come back to? It may be your site management tools that have mangled your titles and they need to be fixed, but they will not be fixed if you do not ask. The other reason titles are broken is because somebody who does not understand the web want only to have their ego stroked, but they made their information less valuable by doing so.



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