Just as you wouldn’t publish a book or a scholarly article without a title, webpages should not be published without page titles for the same reason-- without titles, they won’t be indexed or found by people looking for information. 

Webpage titles are used in a number of ways:

  • Appear in the title bar of a web browser window
  • Appear as the hyperlinked text in search results
  • Are used when pages are saved in browser favorites or bookmarks
  • Are used to create the history list that shows users their recently visited pages

Expectations for Page Titles

1. Each page should have a unique title and contain keywords when possible

A unique, keyword-rich page title increases the chances that people will find that specific page at the top of their search results list. 

Titles will ultimately follow this format: Page Name - Winona State University. 

2. Titles should be no longer than 70 characters

If a title is longer that 70 characters, it will get cut off in the entry on a search results page. This makes it harder for people to understand what the page is about and decide whether it's worth their time to visit the page.

3. Page titles should match the breadcrumb and reflect the URL name

Humans and search engine bots both appreciate matching page titles, breadcrumbs and URLs. It shows consistency and reinforces the relevance of keywords.

4. Titles should accurately and succinctly describe the information provided on the page

Misleading page titles are frustrating to people who clicked on a link in the search results or from another webpage looking for specific information. 

If they don't find the answers they expected, they will have a bad impression of WSU. Similarly, search engine bots will penalize a webpage if the page title doesn't connect to the content.

For example, https://www.winona.edu/international-services/next-steps.asp

  1. It has the page title: Next Steps for Admitted Students – Winona State University
  2. The page title is 58 characters total.
  3. The page title is similar to the URL and is reflected in the breadcrumb
  4. The page title does describe the content of the webpage