This is in connection with the descriptive hyperlinks that we discussed under Web Accessibility Tip #1. Although this is more of a usability than accessibility thingie, I still believe this is important. Besides there is a very thin line defining the difference between the two. Read the article made by our PWAG member Ms. Mel Pedley as she explained the overlapping of the two at Accessites.org website: Web Usability.
Titles are what you see on top of your browser everytime you open a web page. It is placed in between the ‘‹title›‹/title›‘ tag under the ‘‹head›‹/head›‘ part of the HTML file. Titles are also the ones being saved when you bookmark a page.
Descriptive titles simply mean putting the right title which describes what your page is all about. This is often neglected by web designers because they feel that it is cumbersome. It’s ok to put individual titles in say, 20 pages. But it would be a burden to put unique titles for around 1000 pages within the website.
However, putting descriptive titles have more benefits like:
- It increases your Google search rank. Although Google keeps its formula in ranking pages a secret, it is obvious that they give higher points on titles that are relevant to the page. The title “untitled” will not be enticing.
- Search engines index pages based on the words contained in them, and including descriptive titles helps search engines know what the pages are about. The biggest benefit here will be “the higher the ranking, the more your site will be seen, thus increased traffic and eventually improved business.”
- It helps people better understand your site. Users will immediately know if they’re on the page they want to be on. A clear title also helps users who’ve arrived to your site from a search and don’t know where they are in relation to the rest of the site.
- It helps categorize the bookmarks. The title is what the browser saves when the user bookmarks the page. If you use just “Welcome to my Site” on every single page it won’t help labelling the bookmarks. Try something like “PWAG – Web Accessibility Recommendations” or “Accessibleweb: Post Message”.
- The overused cliche, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” can easily be overshadowed by “A book with no title is not a book.” :-)
- Use Descriptive Titles with Well-chosen keywords – http://usability.about.com/od/quickwebusabilitytips/qt/desctitles.htm
- Official Google Webmaster Central Blog – http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2006/10/target-visitors-or-search-engines.html