Monday 3 March 2008

Your brand vs what you offer - whats more important?

Whenever I consult with a client about search engine optimisation we always have a debate about whether their company name should appear at the beginning of the title tag. This is the heading that appears at the top of every page and more importantly, in the search engine results.

The title tag is critical as it allows you to summarise the page and provide the potential visitor with a reason to visit the page.

Normally we say to the client that unless you are a well know company, concentrate on describing what the page does and the value it offers a visitor as your company name will mean nothing to them (yet).

In the example above, our client is number 1 in Google for the phrase microsoft project hints and you can see the title tag clearly tells people what the page does, which results in lots of traffic for our client Project Learning Limited. At this stage, potential visitors are looking for some very specific information, so we need to give them a reason to come to the site.

Jakob Nielson has written a good article on when you should and shouldn't use your company name in the heading and titles on your site.

His tips include:

  • Within your own site, deemphasize your company name
  • Research results and where junk appears, make sure your's are clear
  • Make your title tag obvious so that the benefits are clear.

You can read the whole article at Company Name First in Microcontent? Sometimes!

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