Grow your CSS skills. Land your dream job.

Poll Results: Favorite Page Title Structure

Published by Chris Coyier

This was an interesting poll because there is no clear consensus on "the best way" for sites to handle page titles. It varies quite a bit even among similar websites. To keep things more focused, I put forth a very specific page: a blog article in a specific category. The choices were:

  • 17%[Site Name] - [Category] - [Article Title]
  • 17%[Article Title] - [Category] - [Site Name]
  • 8%[Article Title]
  • 37%[Article Title] - [Site Name]
  • 17%[Site Name] - [Article Title]

And the winner, with 37% of the vote, [Article Title] - [Site Name]. This was a relief to me, as that's what I use on this site and what I personally like the most. Also: that may have influenced the vote a bit but I like to think of regular readers here as being independently minded.


The winning page title style, in use here on CSS-Tricks

Full, real time results for this poll and all post polls in the polls archive.

These are the things that I think should be considered when choosing a site title structure, in order of importance:

  1. Human understandability & usability - The title useful for humans
  2. SEO value - Title clearly summarizes and correlates to content on page, looks enticing to click, and no funny business
  3. How it bookmarks - The specific page is easy to find again in social or local bookmarks

We should consider the fact that we don't get much room for the page title when it's displayed as a tab (all desktop browsers have tabbed browsing by default). We get about 26 characters at a maximum per tab. So if your website's name is really short, like "NBC", starting with site title might be OK. If it's long, like "Smashing Magazine", you are probably chewing up too much of that valuable tab room starting that way.

The usage of the site in question also bears consideration. I like that the site title at Gmail always starts with "Gmail". I only ever have one tab open of Gmail and I want to be able to find that quickly I don't care what "state" it is in at the moment. Whereas I often have multiple CSS-Tricks tabs open and it's more valuable to me to know the title of the article on that page.

I can't imagine a site where the category would be essential for human usability to be included in the title, but if it's near the end and add some SEO juice, I can't imagine it hurting either.

I'm not overly surprised with the #1 outcome, but I am by last place. [Article Title] was last with only 8% of the vote. With the limited number of visible characters in a title, the limited usefulness of the site title being at the end of the structure, and the "cleanness" of it, I'm surprised there aren't more proponents of it.

Comments

  1. Permalink to comment#

    From SEO point of view better option is: [Article Title] – [Category] – [Site Name] :).

    • I agree Article Title should always first, although I think a potential issue here is the title may become too long.

      Not sure if I would drop the Site title or the category though, probably the latter.

  2. I chose [Article Title] because I don’t think it’s necessary to really display the name of your site on every blog post. I say that because titles can be lengthy in nature therefore, why add to it? Also, I think if you’re reading an article you probably have an idea on what site you’re on.

    On pages, I don’t think it’s such a big issue.

  3. Permalink to comment#

    I like [Article Title] – [Site Name] mostly for the reasons you described here. I’d guess that one of the reasons just [Article Title] was unpopular is because of SEO. It’s true that you get limited space in a tab, but chances are that you’re going to use all that up with the article title anyway. Anything else is just for the Google.

  4. Permalink to comment#

    For SEO purposes, I’m using an alternative title (or two) and then my site name. Your point about the tabs is well taken, though, so I may have to rethink my strategy. Thanks for the insights!

  5. Permalink to comment#

    I can’t believe anyone thinks it’s a good idea to put the site title first, not only is it bad SEO but it’s horrible for usability.

    • Justin
      Permalink to comment#

      I was going to say the same thing. I can’t believe nearly just as many people (34%) choose site title first. That’s SEO 101.

  6. Permalink to comment#

    “I like that the site title at Gmail always starts with ‘Gmail’.”

    There’s a setting that lets you change it to “(n) Inbox”, where n is the number of unread messages you have. There’s also a Labs (I think) setting that makes it show the number of unread messages as part of the favicon, which I find really useful as I have Gmail as a pinned tab.

  7. Permalink to comment#

    I am using the title and then my site’s name !
    I guess it is really good and helping !
    My tweets clearly show the name of site too!

  8. Arlene
    Permalink to comment#

    Is is just me? In firefox, the whole top of your website is black. Fine in other browsers.
    6.02 is the version, its been this way for awhile now. Just a heads up. Covers up your header, the poll…the first thing I see is the comments, everything above it is black.

This comment thread is closed. If you have important information to share, you can always contact me.

*May or may not contain any actual "CSS" or "Tricks".