A breadcrumb trail is not a page title

I hope that everyone is aware of the importance of web page titles. Get them right, and these few words, hidden in the code of every web page, can double or triple the clickthrough rate of your Google results. Yet so many websites allow the page titles to be created manually by their content management system, with no thought put into them whatsoever.

Many sites include ‘breadcrumb trails’ on their pages to help visitors navigate around. So you might see something like this at the top of the page:

breadcrumb-trail

This is a useful feature. However, it’s not appropriate for a page title. But if you let it, that’s just what a content management system will produce. And the results in Google will look uninspiring, to say the least.

blue-widget-results

Which of the above looks better to you? Which is more likely to get clicked on? I’ll give you a clue: it’s not the first one.

It takes a lot of effort and expense to get pages to rise in the Google results. For each place you rise, you might see between 10% and 100% more clicks. Yet just by hand-crafting a really good title, you could produce the same results as being positioned several places higher up the page. Additionally, a good title is likely to be considered more favourably by Google’s algorithms, and there’s some evidence to suggest that a higher clickthrough rate for a given position will also provide a benefit in the rankings. So it’s a win-win.

Don’t be controlled by blanket settings built into your content management system by website designers who didn’t pay any attention to SEO.

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