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Writing Appropriate Titles

The title is designed to provide a short piece of text that should stand for the document in cases such as:

  • window title bars
  • bookmark lists
  • result lists from search engines

Choosing an appropriate title for your Office document is crucial for both optimizing the page for our search engine and making that document stand out from other search results.

The title is used/displayed in our search engine in two ways. First the search engine catalogs the titles of all documents and uses this data to retrieve pages based on a user's query. Secondly, the title of the document is used on the search results page as both the title of the document and the clickable link.

We recommend a title meet these criteria:

  • Use unique words and key phrases in your title, to facilitate users finding your document amongst thousands of others.

  • Use a clear, understandable and meaningful title, so that when your document is displayed on the search results page, it will speak for itself.

  • Use trigger words and plain language to stimulate the interest of the reader.

  • Keep it short, about 60 to 80 characters. Most search engines truncate the title after about 100 characters, (including spaces), and follow it with an ellipsis (the "…" symbol).

  • But not too short as to remove all meaning from the title.

  • Avoid excessive punctuation, as this uses up characters.

  • Do not use ALL CAPS! Our convention is Title Case for headings and electronic titles

  • Consider: Does the title makse sense on it own? will it attract the target users?

Examples

Not So Good Title Good Title Why?
Board Documents January 2014 Meeting Agendas - Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education too vague
Overview MCAS Overview - Frequently Asked Questions overview of what?
2010 AYP Data Chocksett Middle School - 2010 AYP Data Which school's report is is?
l.doc Bureau of Grants Management Fund Codes List file name is not descriptive
SUMMER CONTENT INSTITUTES OFFERED FOR EDUCATORS Summer Content Institutes Offered for Educators ALL CAPS
Massachusetts Cultural Council Executive Director, Mary Kelley, Announces Opportunity, "Creative Schools Grant Program" Cultural Council Director Announces "Creative Schools Grant Program" too long and wordy
June 2014 - Updated BPIP Model Plan no highlights Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan (no highlights) Updated June 2014 Jargon- What is BPIP?, list keyword first


Last Updated: June 16, 2014
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