The discussion of Page Titles can often lead to a heated disagreement between different search engine optimization professionals. Some like SEO Pros like to include a lot of information in the title, some like to include several associated keyword phrases, and some prefer to keep them short and sweet.
My personal preference is to keep them short and sweet and only to use them to name exactly what the page is about. I prefer to avoid multiple keyword phrases in a page title. If you read my Daily Nugget from Monday this week you would see that short and sweet page titles play an important role in establishing Sitelinks.
On the other hand I'm also a big believer in testing your website until you can achieve the best results. Perhaps using multiple keywords in your page titles will help you gain that higher search ranking. With that said, let me give you some basic understanding of how to use different keyword phrases in your page titles.
Here are 5 examples of page titles:
1. Perosi Jewelers | Our History
2. Perosi Jewelers - Our History
3. Perosi Jeweler, Our History
4. Perosi Jewelers Our History
5. Perosi Jewelers Our History
It always seems like the Google algorithm will ignore the comma (,) and the hyphen (-) and the em-hyphen ( ) during search, but it will treat the pipe (|) character as a real phrase separator.
In the example above, numbers 2 through 5 would all be indexed by Google as being a "history page for Perosi Jewelers." On the other hand, the title of example 1 is telling Google that the page has information about "Perosi Jewelers" and about "Our History" but not specifically the "history of Perosi Jewelers."
I intentionally chose a non specific example, but here's another one that might make more sense in terms of achieving higher ranking.
1. Jewelry Totowa | Jewelry Totowa NJ | Jeweler Totowa NJ
2. Jewelry Totowa - Jewelry Totowa NJ - Jeweler Totowa NJ
3. Jewelry Totowa, Jewelry Totowa NJ, Jeweler Totowa NJ
4. Jewelry Totowa Jewelry Totowa NJ Jeweler Totowa NJ
5. Jewelry Totowa Jewelry Totowa NJ Jeweler Totowa NJ
In this example you can see that #5 looks like a jumbled string of repetitive words. This is hard to read for any person, and even a novice SEO Pro would tell you that it was an example of "keyword stuffing."
What's not so obvious in this example it that #2 through #4 are also keyword stuffing because Google will ignore the hyphen, comma, and em-hyphen during.
The goal of this example is to appear in search results when users look for "jewelry totowa," or "jewelry totwa nj," or "jeweler totowa nj" and therefore the only valid page title would be the first one.
If I wanted to target the local town name along with "engagement rings" I would write the page title this way:
Engagement Rings Totowa | Engagement Rings Totowa NJ
You might want to add your slogan or some other trust indicator into the home page of your website, in which case it would be better to use the more aesthetically pleasing hyphens and commas than the pipe. Here's how:
Jewelry Store in Totowa, NJ - Happy Engagements Guaranteed
Jewelry Store in Totowa, NJ - Since 1965
In this last example, the phrases "Happy Engagements Guaranteed" and "Since 1965" probably have zero ranking value in Google, which is why I used a hyphen to as the separator instead of a pipe. The hyphen allows the slogan and date to be associated with the more important phrase of "jewelry store in totowa."
Use this information as you take a quick look over the page titles of your website and find where it makes sense to separate words and phrases into different units with a pipe and where it's better to join them with commas and hyphens.