Titles (web pages)

Date adopted: 
August 14, 2018
Last update: 
August 26, 2020

Identify keywords

Most people who use Yukon.ca start with a search engine. Use the same vocabulary as your audience so they can find your content. This begins with your page title and summary.

If people cannot find your page or understand the content, they will not be able to act on it or know it’s for them.

Find out what the public calls your content by using search tools to identify these keywords. Your fund, organization or process’s official or internal name may not be what the public calls it.

  1. Check searches on Yukon.ca for any related content. This can tell you what people are searching for and what they call it.
  2. Once you know the most popular keywords, place them at the front of your page titles, summaries and headings. This positioning will make your content more visible to search engines and more helpful to users.

    For example: “Health and safety regulations for the hospitality industry” can be rewritten to “Hospitality industry: Health and safety regulations.”

Title length

Your title should be 70 characters or fewer (including spaces). You can use more than 70 characters if it’s essential for making the title clear or unique, but do not do this routinely because:

  • Google cuts off the rest of the title after 70 characters
  • longer titles are harder to understand
  • your title will be translated into French which will add more characters

If you must have a long title, break it up by using a colon: Smaller chunks of text are easier to scan.

Example

“Local food strategy for Yukon: Encouraging the production and consumption of Yukon-grown food” works better than “Encouraging the production and consumption of Yukon-grown food local food strategy for Yukon.”

Make your titles clear and descriptive

When writing a title consider if it makes sense:

  • by itself – for example "Regulations" does not say much but "Regulations for landlords" does;
  • in search results; and
  • in collections of topics.

Web page titles do not have to reflect the official publication title. Make them user focused, clear and descriptive so that users can distinguish if it’s the right content for them.

Publications uploaded to document pages should use the official publication title.

Cut out as many adjectives and prepositions as possible (and, the, a, of).

Avoid puns and wordplay.

Example

Good title example: Apply for a child care subsidy

Good summary example: The child care subsidy helps families who may not be able to afford to pay for their child to attend a licensed child care centre, family day home or school-age program – eligibility, application form, and process details.

The title should provide full context so that users can easily see if they’ve found what they’re looking for.

By being general about a topic, you leave the user asking "what is this in relation to?"

Example

Bad title example: Hazardous waste – new process

Give the user context around the topic and what this content will tell them:

Good title example: How to dispose of hazardous waste in your area

Avoid saying the same thing twice (tautologies)

Repeating yourself in the title uses up valuable characters that could be used to give more information.

Example

Bad title example: Using and submitting your business expenses

Good title example: Submitting your business expenses

Using ‘ing’ in titles

Use the active verb ("Submit") if you use the page to do the thing.

Good service title example: Submit your business expenses

Use the gerund ("Submitting:) if the page is about doing the thing, but you do it elsewhere.

Good page title example: Submitting your business expenses

Do not include the format type in the title

Do not include the name of the format type, such as "document" or "news article." This will free up space to tell the user what the content is about.

Example

Bad title example: Public engagement on recycling regulations

It’s better to use the title to explain exactly what the public engagement is for.

Good title example: Public engagement to update recycling regulations

Bad title example: Potato guidelines

It’s better to explain what the document is about, not its format:

Good title example: How to grow potatoes

Some content types have a specific style, such as:

Remove the date unless there are yearly versions

Put the year in the title if the page is part of a series that has the same title.

For example, a list of annual reports:

Title: Government annual report 2018
Title: Government annual report 2017
Title: Government annual report 2016

Do not include your department name

Only add your department or agency name to the title if the content is about your department – for example annual reports or corporate information.

Example

Title example: Highways and Public Works environmental strategy

On its own, "Environmental strategy" could apply to any department or agency. In this case, it’s better to add the department name to differentiate it.