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Web standards for page titles

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Page title length

Keep your page titles short by using fewer than 80 characters, including spaces. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Titles of less than 50 characters have more impact on readers
  • Shorten a long title by using words which describe the page content best.
  • Have part of a long title as the first heading (H2) on the page instead.

Example

  • Too long - "Road Safety Forum agenda and minutes of the meeting held at the Runnymede Centre on 12 October 2017"
  • Better - "Road safety forum meeting 12 October 2017".

Reason for this web standard

Long titles are cut short by browsers. Google only displays the first 64 characters of a title and considering over 50% of our customers find us through Google, a short title means your page will be found easily.

Long page titles also reduce our accessibility rating and hinder users with disabilities.


Unique and meaningful page titles

Meaningful titles convey the main subject of the page and act as a teaser for users.

Tips to help you create a good page title:

  • Think of words our customers put into search when trying to find your page - use these in your title.
  • Avoid jargon, abbreviations and acronyms - never assume everyone knows what you mean.
  • Read your title out to someone who doesn't work for the council. If they know what the page is about from the title alone, you got it.

Examples

  • 'Inspections' - this is too vague. How would someone know what is being inspected? Be more specific: eg 'Vehicle safety inspections'.
  • 'Contact SCC' – Surrey Cricket Club? Swedish Chamber of Commerce? Specialist Computer Centres (this is the top Google search result)? Spell it out: 'Contact Surrey County Council'.
  • 'Youth clubs in Guildford' – a good title. It's clear, concise and meaningful.

Reason for this web standard

Improve the usability of our site and help people find the information they want quickly and easily.

A good page title will also improve its ranking in search engine results and set people's expectations of what its about.

Use of capital letters in page titles (sentence case)

  • Use capitals letters only for the first word of a page title (sentence case) unless there are proper nouns (eg names of places or people) or publications (book or article) included in the title.

Example

  • Wrong: Winter Maintenance Schedules
  • Correct: Winter maintenance schedules

Reason for this web standard

The British Dyslexia Association recommends using lower case in page titles and headings as it is easier for users to read.


Symbols and punctuation in page titles

Only include the following symbols or punctuation in your page titles:

  • Apostrophe '
  • Brackets ( )
  • Comma ,
  • Colon :
  • Exclamation mark !
  • Full stop .
  • Hyphen -
  • Pound , dollar and euro symbols
  • Question mark ?
  • Quotation mark "

Reason for this web standard

Punctuation and symbols in page titles can cause problems with a web address (URL) as they use different computer codes or are not recognised by all browsers.

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