Plain Language Page Titles: More Important than Ever

Government Web pages are found mainly through search engines. Google recently redesigned its search results page and there are quite a few small, but impactful, changes in this latest redesign. Specifically, it affects how page titles are displayed.

Many experts now recommend even shorter page titles. Below are a couple of articles (plus tools) to see how the change may affect your page titles:

Page Title & Meta Description By Pixel Width In SERP Snippet

New Title Tag Guidelines & Preview Tool

In addition to the suggestions offered in our previous article on Achieving Good SEO, here are a few specific tips for page titles:

  1. Place page titles in a

tag within the</p> <p><head> .<br /> 2. There’s no magic number, but around 55 characters or less is good.<br /> 3. There’s no set syntax, but “Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name” is good.</p></p> <pre><code><p> Below are a few articles on optimizing title tags for search engines: </p> <p> <a href="http://searchengineland.com/nine-best-practices-for-optimized-title-tags-111979">Nine Best Practices For Optimized < title > Tags</a> </p> <p> <a href="http://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag">Title Tag</a> </p> <p> <a href="http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/good-titles"> <title> : the most important element of a quality Web page</a></p> <p> <em>If you’re interested in learning more about search, register for our Search Is the New Big Data (in-person training) on April 10.</em> </p></code></pre></div><div id="page-data" class="branch-master" name="page-data"> <p class="feedback-copy"><i class="fas fa-question-circle"></i> Have feedback or questions? <a target="new" href="mailto:digitalgov@gsa.gov?subject=Feedback%3A%20Plain%20Language%20Page%20Titles%3a%20More%20Important%20than%20Ever&body=%0D%0A---enter%20your%20feedback%2Fquestions%20here---%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0A-%20-%20-%20-%20-%20%0D%0APage%3A%20Plain%20Language%20Page%20Titles%3a%20More%20Important%20than%20Ever%0D%0AURL%3A%20https%3A%2F%2Fwww.digital.gov%2f2014%2f03%2f28%2fplain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever%2f%0D%0A-%20-%20-%20-%20-%0D%0A%0D%0A%0D%0AWe%20value%20your%20feedback%20and%20open%20questions.%20Thank%20you%20for%20helping%20to%20make%20our%20pages%20better.%0D%0A%0D%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fwww.digital.gov%0D%0A%40digital_gov%20on%20Twitter">Send us an email »</a></p> <div class="edit_file hidden"></div> </div> </div> <div class="grid-col-12 tablet-lg:grid-col-3"> <div class="authors-list"> <div class="author grid-row"> <div class="grid-col-auto"> <div class="photo"> <img src="https://github.com/afeijoo.png?size=50" alt=""> </div> </div> <div class="grid-col-9"> <div class="details"> <h5> <a href="/authors/ammie-farraj-feijoo/" title="Posts byAmmie Farraj Feijoo" rel="author">Ammie Farraj Feijoo</a> </h5><p>GSA | Washington, DC</p></div> </div> </div></div><div class="meta"> <div class="date"> <a href="/2014/03/28/plain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever/" rel="nofollow" title="Plain Language Page Titles: More Important than Ever">Mar 28, 2014</a> </div> </div> <section id="related_communities"> <header> <h3>Join a Community</h3> </header><div class="promo"> <div> <h4><a href="/communities/multilingual/?promo" title="Multilingual ">Multilingual </a></h4></div> <a href="?dg" title=""><span></span></a> </div><div class="promo"> <div> <h4><a href="/communities/plain-language/?promo" title="Plain Language">Plain Language</a></h4></div> <a href="?dg" title=""><span></span></a> </div><footer> <p class="more"><a href="/communities/"><span>See all 29 communities</span> <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i></a></p> </footer> </section> <section id="related_services"> <header> <h3>Get Started Building</h3> </header><div class="promo" data-edit-this="/edit/services/?page=https://digital.gov/services/service_opm_labs/"> <div> <h4> <a class="external-link" href="https://lab.opm.gov/our-services/?=dg" title="OPM Labs"><span>OPM Labs</span></a> </h4> <img src="https://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=https://lab.opm.gov/our-services/" alt="logo"/> </div> <a class="overlay" href="https://lab.opm.gov/our-services/?=dg" title="OPM Labs"><span></span></a> </div><div class="promo" data-edit-this="/edit/services/?page=https://digital.gov/services/service_open-opportunities/"> <div> <h4> <a class="external-link" href="https://openopps.usajobs.gov/?=dg" title="Open Opportunities"><span>Open Opportunities</span></a> </h4> <img src="/logos/open-opps-icon.png" alt="logo"/> </div> <a class="overlay" href="https://openopps.usajobs.gov/?=dg" title="Open Opportunities"><span></span></a> </div><div class="promo" data-edit-this="/edit/services/?page=https://digital.gov/services/service_plainlanguage/"> <div> <h4> <a class="external-link" href="https://plainlanguage.gov/?=dg" title="PlainLanguage.gov"><span>PlainLanguage.gov</span></a> </h4> <img src="https://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=https://plainlanguage.gov/" alt="logo"/> </div> <a class="overlay" href="https://plainlanguage.gov/?=dg" title="PlainLanguage.gov"><span></span></a> </div><div class="promo" data-edit-this="/edit/services/?page=https://digital.gov/services/service_federalist/"> <div> <h4> <a class="external-link" href="https://federalist.18f.gov/?=dg" title="Federalist"><span>Federalist</span></a> </h4> <img src="https://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=https://federalist.18f.gov/" alt="logo"/> </div> <a class="overlay" href="https://federalist.18f.gov/?=dg" title="Federalist"><span></span></a> </div><div class="promo" data-edit-this="/edit/services/?page=https://digital.gov/services/search/"> <div> <h4> <a class="external-link" href="https://search.gov/?=dg" title="Search.gov"><span>Search.gov</span></a> </h4> <img src="/logos/searchgov-icon.png" alt="logo"/> </div> <a class="overlay" href="https://search.gov/?=dg" title="Search.gov"><span></span></a> </div><footer> <p class="more"><a href="/services/"><span>See all 32 services</span> <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-right"></i></a></p> </footer> </section> <div class="list-topics"> <a href="/topics/big-data/" data-topic="big-data">Big Data</a> <a href="/topics/content/" data-topic="content">Content</a> <a href="/topics/search-engine-optimization/" data-topic="search-engine-optimization">Search Engine Optimization</a> <a href="/topics/writing/" data-topic="writing">Writing</a></div> <section class="share_tools"> <div class="grid-row"> <div class="grid-col-4"> <a class="twitter" href="http://twitter.com/share?url=https://digital.gov%2f2014%2f03%2f28%2fplain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever%2f&text=Plain%20Language%20Page%20Titles%3a%20More%20Important%20than%20Ever"><i class="fab fa-twitter"></i></a> </div> <div class="grid-col-4"> <a class="facebook" href="http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=https://digital.gov%2f2014%2f03%2f28%2fplain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever%2f&t=plain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever"><i class="fab fa-facebook-f"></i></a> </div> <div class="grid-col-4"> <a class="linkedin" href="https://www.linkedin.com/shareArticle?mini=true&url=https://digital.gov%2f2014%2f03%2f28%2fplain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever%2f&title=plain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever&summary=government-web-pages-are-found-mainly-through-search-engines.-google-recently-redesigned-its-search-results-page-and-there-are-quite-a-few-small-but-impactful-changes-in-this-latest-redesign.-specifically-it-affects-how-page-titles-are-displayed.-many-experts-now-recommend-even&source=digital.gov"><i class="fab fa-linkedin-in"></i></a> </div> </div> <div class="grid-row"> <div class="grid-col-6"> <a target="_blank" title="Email this page" class="email" href="mailto:?subject=Plain%20Language%20Page%20Titles%3a%20More%20Important%20than%20Ever%20%7C%20Digital.gov&body=%20%20%0A-------%0APlain%20Language%20Page%20Titles%3a%20More%20Important%20than%20Ever%0Ahttps://digital.gov%2f2014%2f03%2f28%2fplain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever%2f%3Fem%0A-------%0A%0A♥ Sign-up%20for%20the%20Digital.gov%20newsletter%3A%20https%3A%2F%2Fdigital.gov%2Fsubscribe%2F"><i class="fas fa-envelope"></i> Email</a> </div> <div class="grid-col-6"> <a class="print" href="javascript:window.print()" onclick="window.print();return false;"><i class="fas fa-print"></i> Print</a> </div> </div> </section> </div> </div> </div> </section> </article> </main><div id="overlay" class="page-details display-none"> <div class="contents"> <h6>File name</h6><p>2014-03-28-plain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever.md</p><h6>File path</h6><p>news/2014/03/2014-03-28-plain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever.md</p><h6>Link Shortcode</h6><p>{{< link "news/2014/03/2014-03-28-plain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever.md<p>" >}}</p><button class="close" type="button" name="button">close</button> </div> </div> <section id="newsletter-signup"> <div class="grid-container grid-container-desktop"> <div class="grid-row tablet-lg:grid-gap-6"> <div class="grid-col-12 tablet:grid-col-7"> <div class="usa-sign-up"> <p class="blurb"><strong>Join 60,000 others in government</strong> and sign-up for our newsletter — a round-up of the best digital news in government and across our field.</p> </div> </div> <div class="grid-col-12 tablet:grid-col-5"> <div class="usa-sign-up"> <script charset="utf-8" type="text/javascript" src="//js.hsforms.net/forms/v2.js"></script> <script> hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "1962994", formId: "f8c8ff73-dbc9-4242-90e4-e8cbcee02f6a" }); </script> </div> </div> </div> </div> </section> <section class="return-to-top"> <div class="grid-container grid-container-desktop usa-footer__return-to-top"> <div class="grid-row"> <div class="grid-col-auto"> <a href="#"><span>Return to top</span> <i class="fas fa-arrow-circle-up"></i></a> </div> </div> </div> </section> <footer class="usa-footer usa-footer--big" role="contentinfo"> <div class="usa-footer__primary-section"> <div class="grid-container grid-container-desktop"> <nav class="usa-footer__nav"> <div class="grid-row grid-gap-4"> <div class="mobile-lg:grid-col-6 tablet-lg:grid-col-3"> <section class="usa-footer__primary-content usa-footer__primary-content--collapsible"> <h4 class="usa-footer__primary-link">Learn</h4> <ul class="usa-list usa-list--unstyled"><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/news/">News</a></li><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/events/">Events</a></li><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/resources/">Resources</a></li><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/communities/">Communities</a></li><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/services/">Services</a></li></ul> </section> </div> <div class="mobile-lg:grid-col-6 tablet-lg:grid-col-3"> <section class="usa-footer__primary-content usa-footer__primary-content--collapsible"> <h4 class="usa-footer__primary-link">Contribute</h4> <ul class="usa-list usa-list--unstyled"><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/contribute/">Write for us</a></li><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/digitalgov-university/">Host an event</a></li><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="https://github.com/GSA/digitalgov.gov/">Edit on GitHub</a></li></ul> </section> </div> <div class="mobile-lg:grid-col-6 tablet-lg:grid-col-3"> <section class="usa-footer__primary-content usa-footer__primary-content--collapsible"> <h4 class="usa-footer__primary-link">About</h4> <ul class="usa-list usa-list--unstyled"><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/about/">About Us</a></li><li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><a href="/policies/">Site Policies</a></li></ul> </section> </div> <div class="mobile-lg:grid-col-6 tablet-lg:grid-col-3"> <section class="usa-footer__primary-content usa-footer__primary-content--collapsible"> <h4 class="usa-footer__primary-link">Social</h4> <ul class="usa-list usa-list--unstyled social-links"> <li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><i class="fab fa-twitter"></i> <a class="text-ink hover:text-ink text-no-underline hover:text-underline" href="https://twitter.com/digital_gov">Twitter</a></li> <li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><i class="fab fa-facebook-f"></i> <a class="text-ink hover:text-ink text-no-underline hover:text-underline" href="https://www.facebook.com/digitalgov/">Facebook</a></li> <li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><i class="fab fa-youtube"></i> <a class="text-ink hover:text-ink text-no-underline hover:text-underline" href="https://youtube.com/digitalgov">YouTube</a></li> <li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><i class="fas fa-rss"></i> <a class="text-ink hover:text-ink text-no-underline hover:text-underline" href="/index.xml">RSS</a></li> <li class="usa-footer__secondary-link"><i class="far fa-envelope"></i> <a class="text-ink hover:text-ink text-no-underline hover:text-underline" href="mailto:digitalgov@gsa.gov">Email us</a></li> </ul> </section> </div> </div> </nav> </div> </div> </footer> <section class="anchor" data-uswds="1.0"> <div class="component-anchor"> <div class="usa-accordion"> <div class="grid-container grid-container-desktop"> <div class="grid-row tablet-lg:grid-gap-4"> <div class="grid-col-12"> <div class="org-short"> <div class="org-copy"> <a href="https://www.gsa.gov" title="U.S. General Services Administration"><img class="org-img" src="/img/gsa-logo-w100.png" alt="U.S. General Services AdministrationLogo"></a> <p><a href="#" title="Digital.gov">Digital.gov</a> is a product of GSA’s <a href="https://www.gsa.gov/tts/" title="Technology Transformation Services">Technology Transformation Services</a>, and managed by the <a href="https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/organization/federal-acquisition-service/technology-transformation-services/tts-solutions" title="Office of Solutions">Office of Solutions</a>.</p> </div> <button class="btn-learn-more usa-button usa-button--outline usa-button--inverse usa-accordion__button" aria-hidden="false" aria-expanded="false" aria-controls="org-details"> <span>Learn more</span> </button> </div> </div> </div> <div class="org-expanded" id="org-details" hidden> <div class="grid-row tablet-lg:grid-gap-2"> <div class="grid-col-12 tablet-lg:grid-col-6"> <div class="org-copy"> <p>As part of GSA’s Technology Transformation Services (TTS), we apply modern methodologies and technologies to improve the public’s experience with government. We help agencies make their services more accessible, efficient, and effective with modern applications, platforms, processes, personnel, and software solutions. <a class="more" href="https://www.gsa.gov/tts/" title="Learn more aboutTechnology Transformation Services">Read more</a></p><p>TTS Solutions is a portfolio of products and services that help agencies improve delivery of information and services to the public. <a class="more" href="https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/organization/federal-acquisition-service/technology-transformation-services/tts-solutions" title="Learn more aboutOffice of Solutions">Read more</a></p></div> </div> <div class="grid-col-12 tablet-lg:grid-col-5 tablet-lg:grid-offset-1"> <div class="org-links"> <p><i class="fas fa-envelope"></i> For questions about this website, email <a href="mailto:digitalgov@gsa.gov">digitalgov@gsa.gov</a>.</p> <p>Additional information about the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) can be found at <a href="https://www.gsa.gov/about" title="More about theGSA">https://www.gsa.gov/about</a></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.gsaig.gov/" title="Report fraud, waste, or abuse to the Office of the Inspector General">Report fraud, waste, or abuse to the Office of the Inspector General</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.gsa.gov/reference/freedom-of-information-act-foia" title="Submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request">Submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.gsa.gov/reference/reports/budget-performance" title="View budget and performance reports">View budget and performance reports</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.gsa.gov/website-information/accessibility-aids" title="View accessiblity statement">View accessiblity statement</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/organization/office-of-civil-rights/notification-and-federal-employee-antidiscrimination-and-retaliation-act-of-2002" title="View No FEAR Act data">View No FEAR Act data</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="component-anchor-support"> <div class="grid-container grid-container-desktop"> <div class="grid-row tablet-lg:grid-gap-2"> <div class="grid-col-12"> <div class="usagov"> <p><i class="fas fa-comment fa-flip-horizontal"></i> <span>Have a question about government services?</span></p> <a class="usa-button usa-button-sm" href="https://www.usa.gov/contact?ref=Digital.gov">Contact USA.gov</a> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </section></div> <div id="clicks_iframe" class="display-none"></div> <div class="edit_tools"> <a class="edit edit-open" href="#"><i class="far fa-edit"></i></a> <a class="edit edit-issue" target="_blank" href="https://github.com/GSA/digitalgov.gov/issues/new?body=%0D%0A%2A%2APlain%20Language%20Page%20Titles%3a%20More%20Important%20than%20Ever%2A%2A%0D%0Ahttps%3A%2F%2Fdigital.gov%2F%2f2014%2f03%2f28%2fplain-language-page-titles-more-important-than-ever%2f%0D%0A%0D%0A---%0D%0A%0D%0A%2A%2APlease+describe+the+issue+clearly.+Include+a+screenshot+if+needed%2A%2A%0D%0A"><i class="fas fa-bug"></i></a> </div> </body> <script src='/dist/jquery.min.js'></script> <script src='/dist/uswds.min.js'></script> <script src='/dist/common.js'></script> <script type="text/javascript"> var root_url = "/"; var all_images_json = "/images/v1/json/"; </script> </html>