Do your Page Titles, Headlines and URLs Match?
Think back a few years ago, back to when websites were not run by Content Management Systems (CMS) platforms such as Blogger and WordPress. Did the page title, article title and HTML file name of the pages on your Web site all match? No, probably not. There are a couple possible reasons why they didn’t, but the most likely is that your web designer/creator was “lazy” and just plugged in what they thought made sense and was easy to code.
Fast forward a few years and now we are ALL lazy. The CMS tools have made it too easy for us to just plug in a post title and move on without a second thought to the page title or file name/URL. We know that WordPress will use our carefully crafted, keyword rich, attention grabbing text in all three places, and many are content to leave well enough alone. So what’s the big deal? We all know the importance of properly optimizing our page titles, but post titles (headlines) and URLs are also great places to insert your keywords – and all three do not have to match.
In this screen shot of a recent AG article, we can see that the Page and Post titles are the same, but the URL has been modified. Hooray!
While the specific affects of optimized URLs and post titles (H1s) is a never-ending debate among SEOs, most agree that in the big picture it is helpful to have them. Big picture is where long-term results are found.
If you are in a competitive market – like real estate – you need every ounce of help you can get. Take a few minutes and tweak your pages a bit, use alternate key words or phrases in each of the three places. Think about how people will be searching for your content. For example, if you look carefully at this post, you’ll notice that while the page title, post title and URL are related (and therefore also relevant to the search engines), they are also somewhat varied – increasing the likelihood that it will rank well, and actually be clicked on. A word of caution, page titles MUST be treated with respect, as they are among the most powerful places to put your keywords – put your best one(s) there and never, ever stuff them.
It does take a few extra clicks and a couple minutes to come up with good text to be used in titles and URLs, but do it well and additional traffic (and dollars in your pocket) will be your reward.
July 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm
This is a great SEO tip, thanks for sharing. Makes sense to mix it up a bit to see how different keywords work.
July 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm
Thank you Jack. I had not thought of varying the words like home and house between the title and the URL. I guess I thought they needed to be the same, but I don’t know where my idea came from so it might just be an assumption on my part. So this is part of the semantic linking idea right? Thank you again for sharing. Great stuff.
July 22, 2009 at 12:19 am
Nice tip Jack! I’ve spent time discussing this issue with a development company over this same issue as their content management system did the exact same thing. After I started to go through and manually make some changes to titles and headlines, it did have a nice impact on my rankings. So this is definitely a great tip to consider.
July 22, 2009 at 7:37 am
yep, “Big picture is where long-term results are found” kind of says it all.
Appreciate the “ounces”!
July 22, 2009 at 8:29 am
Thanks Jack – I was among the “lazy” ones you mentioned. Anything to squeeze an extra ounce of SEO!
Navy Chief, Navy Pride
July 22, 2009 at 6:04 pm
Augusta Real Estate
March 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm
Hi Jack, 8 months later since I read and commented on your article. Still great stuff. My websites have continued to climb in the rankings. I started new blog with more SEO features than the last few and it is climbing in the google rankings. I appreciate you and the rest of the AG writers. Great stuff.