I need to bring a strange trend into the light in hopes that we can obliterate it from the world of B2B ecommerce. This trend has to do with the titles of the pages on a website. In recent days I’ve noticed that all too many page titles on B2B sites are:
- Obscure (e.g. “Product Page 1″ GAH!)
- Less than descriptive (e.g. “Tennis Shoes Page” Doh!)
- Repetitive (e.g. “Repeat page titles here page” on every page. Or even more than one page. Sigh.) or worse yet,
- Veritably empty (e.g. “Title” on every page. Bangs. Head. Against. Desktop.)
Page titles–or the meta title tags–on each page are not something you can successfully opt out of. Why?
Search engines care about page titles. Google Bot–and the other search engine crawlers–actually considers the title of the page when indexing your site. If the words in the title correlate highly to the text on the page (read: effectively describe the contents of the page), Google will reward you with a higher ranking. If your page title and page content have little to do with one another, Google looks at this as suspect. Likewise, if every page has the same title, Google will assume that your site is not professionally created and that you don’t know what you are doing. Never a good thing.
“But Rachel, what if our B2B ecommerce site is private and the crawlers don’t visit our pages anyway? Then what does it matter?”
Good question. You may not realize it, but your meta title for each page appears in the tab in your browser window and serves as the “You Are Here” sign for your customers. You know, these things:
They help your customer know, at a glance, where they are in your site.
These page tags are also helpful for when your customer bookmarks a page on your site as they are the default name of the bookmark. The bookmark for the Insite Case Study Downloads page above looks like this in my bookmarks manager:
Without a descriptive title, your customer won’t be able to tell one bookmarked page from another. In short, page titles make it easier for your customers to get right to where they want to be on your site without having to recreate the search.
Check your site–do you have errant page titles? The good news is that this is a relatively easy fix. Just make sure that your titles are:
- Unique. You don’t want two pages named the same thing on your site.
- Descriptive. Describe the contents of the page using key words your customer might use to describe the content.
- Concise. Notice that I don’t say “short.” Just make every word count because long titles get truncated in search results and run off the tab at the top of the screen.
Once you have fixed those problem page titles, remember to resubmit your Sitemap to Google and Bing, if appropriate.
To learn more about how you can maximize the effectiveness of your B2B ecommerce site, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Consider When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.