<Title> tags are critical. You must write one for every page you create. This is because the <title> tag clearly identifies a page - most importantly, for search engines, that help people find your page.
It is the single most important way to tell search engines what your page is about and so get highly ranked for relevant searches.
It also helps users identify content on screen, being the name shown in:
- the search engine results page, as the link to your page
- the browser title bar (or window tab), indicating the content each is displaying
- Bookmark/Favourites menus
For these reasons, it is important to follow certain guidelines below when writing them.
Where to find the <Title> tag
You define each page’s <title> tag in the page's metadata - it is the text that appears between these tags:
<title>Fisheries - European Commission</title>
Do not confuse the <Title> tag with the “title” that you use as the top heading or H1 of your page.
How to write <Title> tags
- The title must be in the language of the page.
- Always start “EUROPA -", if you are on europa.eu domain and end "- European Commission" if the domain of your website is ec.europa.eu, followed straight away by the subject of the page (e.g. EUROPA - Cutting European farm subsidies - public consultation). If the title of the page is not too long, it is recommended to include also the thematic classification or the main name of the site (e.g. Lisbon treaty agreement - President Barroso - European Commission). See below for more examples.
- Pack it with words your readers are likely to enter in search engines - i.e. unless your users are exclusively specialists, avoid jargon and use more common terms.
- Describe the subject by placing its most important keyword phrases as close to the beginning as possible. On search engine results pages, users scan by reading just the first few words of each title, so words at the end may be missed - or cut off and not displayed - see next bullet).
- Keep it short - maximum 70 characters, including spaces. To avoid being truncated in the small spaces (limited characters) where the title will appear, search engine hit lists, Favourites, browser title bars, etc. Limit filler words like “the” - use a telegraphic headline style.
- Make it unique to each page, describing the specific content it contains.
- Try to include in your <title> tag the main descriptive words from the page's H1 heading. Readers clicking on your <title> tag in a search results page will be easily able to see that the page they land on is the correct one, as it has a similar label to the <title> tag. This is particularly important for usability / accessibility.
- Make it meaningful / relevant - reflecting the page content and making sense out of context. Titles only ever appear as stand-alone text and are often used by external sites as a link to reference your site.
- If you need to add more information, you can do this in the .
- Use lowercase characters for better legibility except for EUROPA.
Examples of <Title> tag format
|Regulatory framework - History
- no mention of page subject (the new audiovisual directive) - too general
|EUROPA - Audiovisual regulation – Why update the rules?|
|European Commission – Enterprise – Second chance policy
- no mention of page subject (advice services for start-ups)
|Starting your own business - national advice services - European Commission|
|European Commission - President José Manuel Barroso - In Focus - Summit agreement on EU Lisbon treaty
- too long - In search results page, this title is truncated after “Focus”, so reader doesn’t even see the subject (agreement on Lisbon treaty).
- Wastes space with less-important words that people will not be searching with.
|Lisbon treaty agreement - President Barroso - European Commission
- Starts with the subject, to avoid truncation.
- “Barroso” and “EU” should be enough keywords to get a hit – no need for full titles or little-known "brand" names like "In Focus".
|EU drugs agency releases report on drug use in Europe||EUROPA - Drug use in Europe - EU drugs agency releases report
- Readers more likely to be interested in/searching for facts on “drug use” than the body reporting on it.