Metadata – Importance of the Title

In this series of blog posts we will be talking about how to make your article more discoverable by giving it rich, descriptive metadata. If you missed it, read our first post about what metadata is and how search engines use it.

The first piece of metadata that we are going to talk about it the TITLE and what makes a good title.

A good title should be descriptive – it should tell the reader exactly what the article is about. It should not use jargon, puns, or sarcasm. While humans may understand these figures of speech, the web crawlers that are reading the title, and ranking the article based on the words it contains, are not going to understand them.

For example, if an article about rats in New York City is titled “A very furry problem” a human reader might guess the topic, but there are no key words in this title to tell an internet crawler what the article is about. The article would therefore rank lowly in any searches on the topic of rats in NYC.

Your title should state what the article is about as simply and accurately as possible. If you have a pun, play on words, or joke you would like to use, be sure that it is only one part of your title, and that the other part meets the above criteria.

When writing the title for your article ask yourself – what is this article about? What makes this article interesting? If I were doing a search online for this article, what words would I search for? Does the title alone immediately tell readers what the article is about? The answers to these questions can help you come up with an informative title that will help your readers find it and boost your article in the right search rankings.

Takeaways:

  • Bad metadata will make even the very best article difficult to find, therefore affecting how many people read it and cite it.
  • A good title will boost your article in search rankings, making it easier to find for your readers and ultimately result in more readership and potentially citations.
  • A good title is descriptive and avoids jargon, puns, and sarcasm.

Next up – Abstracts!