There are actually several different elements that could be mistaken for a Page Name, so let’s start by clarifying what these are:
What you call the page and typically what you would use as the Anchor Text for that page if it were to appear in a navigation menu. Often this is a short version of the page title, and if you can use the main keyword that the page is optimized for as the page name, do it.
The Page Title is a meta tag that does not actually appear on the page in a way that is visible to the visitor. The meta title will typically appear as the name of the browser window tab, and it is also what becomes the blue link in Google’s search results. The page title is what will appear as the blue link to the page in Google’s search engine results. Therefore, this is one of the most important SEO elements. Google now places a 512pixel limit on the size of the page title, as opposed to a character limit. This means that if your title uses more wide letters, you will have less characters to play with, if your title uses more narrow characters, you will have more room to play with. The average character count is 57 characters, but it can be as low as 42 and as high as 71 based on analysis of thousands of titles.
This is what typically appears to be the title of the page to visitors. It is usually the biggest, boldest line of text on the page and will typically appear at the top of the page, just below the global navigation. It’s the headline. However, sometimes for the sake of page design, a designer or developer will choose to not make the largest heading on the page the H1. In this case it is still very important that you find a way to incorporate the H1 into the page, even if it’s just as a breadcrumb.
When initially creating a sitemap for a new website, the page names are basically placeholders. The actual final page names should only be decided after the appropriate keyword research has been done. Keyword research is thoroughly covered in the Keyword Analysis course. However, here are a few simple rules to keep in mind.
- The most important keyword for the page should be incorporated into the Page Name.
- The page name should be unique in that no two pages on the site should be optimized for the same term and no two pages should have the same page name.
- The page name should be both descriptive and enticing. A page name should set the tone and compel the reader to continue reading.
Creating great page names is an art and science that we will dive further into in the course on Highly Optimized Content.