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How To Set Page Titles In Craft CMS

10 min read
How To Set Page Titles In Craft CMS

Struggling to optimise page titles in Craft CMS? Proper title tags are vital for on-page SEO and user experience. This comprehensive guide will show you how to configure, customise and optimise page titles directly within Craft for maximum visibility, traffic and conversions. Learn strategic tips for Craft title settings, overrides, SEO best practices, formatting tactics and advanced configuration with SEOmatic.

Craft CMS enables full control over SEO page titles with built-in settings to define site-wide title formats using variables and Twig logic. Titles can be overridden on individual entries for targeted optimization. Best practices include 50-60 character length, prominent keywords, compelling wording, separators for long titles, and testing variants. SEO plugins provide additional advanced customization.

Introduction to Setting Page Titles in Craft CMS

Defining Page Titles

Page titles, commonly referred to as title tags, are critical HTML elements that specify the title of a web page. They appear in two key areas - the browser tab and search engine results pages (SERPs). The page title serves the dual purposes of indicating to users what a specific page is about while also signalling to search engines the topic of the content on the page.

Crafting descriptive page titles is crucial for both user experience and on-page SEO. An accurate, concise title provides visitors with a solid understanding of the content they will find on the page. This improves click-through rates from search listings as visitors are enticed by titles that clearly summarise the information they are seeking.

Page titles also present opportunities for keyword optimization by naturally incorporating relevant terms that concisely describe the content. Search engines analyze page titles as one of the ranking factors, as pages with titles optimised with target keywords tend to better match searcher intent and queries.

Overall, diligently optimizing page titles by making them informative but succinct, on-brand, and keyword inclusive is imperative for driving qualified organic traffic, improving search rankings, and enhancing the user experience. Titles that are overly lengthy risk getting truncated in SERPs, while titles that are vague, dull, or stuffed with keywords can actually deter visitors. A strategic balance is required when crafting page titles for SEO success.

Page Title Importance for SEO

Optimized page titles are one of the most crucial elements for effective on-page SEO and should never be overlooked. The title tag provides tremendous opportunity to improve organic search traffic, click-through rates from listings, and search rankings. There are several key reasons why properly structured page titles are so important for SEO:

Firstly, compelling titles with strategic keywords increase click-through rate from search engine results. Titles that accurately convey the topic of the content and highlight the benefit the page offers entice searchers to click and visit the page. This metrics directly impacts search rankings.

Secondly, page titles present a prime real estate opportunity to organically incorporate your target keywords and phrases. Including these terms signals relevance to search algorithms during crawling and indexing. This strengthens keyword targeting and improves rankings for those terms.

Additionally, pages with strategically SEO optimized titles stand out more in SERPs and tend to achieve more prominent rankings for their keywords compared to pages without keyword-focused titles. Making your title tag count goes a long way.

Another reason is related to crawlability. Descriptive, informative page titles using relevant keywords help search engine bots better understand the content and subject matter of the page. This facilitates improved indexing and ability for the page to rank for those terms.

Lastly, compelling titles aligned with the brand name and identity boost brand visibility and awareness in SERPs. A unique but descriptive title effectively differentiates the brand.

Overall there are immense SEO benefits to be gained from dedicating time to perfecting page titles. Well-optimized title tags directly impact organic traffic quality and quantity, click-through rates, brand visibility, and conversion rates.

Setting Page Titles in Craft CMS

There are many features of Craft CMS which can be used. Craft CMS provides built-in functionality to easily set and configure SEO-optimized page titles across an entire website. One major advantage is the ability to specify unique title tags for each entry and page directly from the Craft CMS admin dashboard.

The title field enables full control over the structure and contents of the title tag. Craft offers web developers several different options when setting page titles:

The first option is manually typing static title tags customized to each entry or page. While more time intensive, this allows complete freedom to craft distinct, keyword-rich titles across all content for maximum optimization.

Another option is using Craft CMS tokens to dynamically pull in specifics like the entry headline or slug to auto-populate titles. This can save effort in using existing content to build titles. Additional keywords or branding can still be manually added.

For advanced control, Craft CMS enables creating custom title tag formats using Twig templating syntax, variables, and logic. This allows implementations like programmatically generating titles based on categories, entry types, url segments, and more.

Additional enhancements like appending site name or separating title tag elements with pipes can be incorporated right in the title format. The possibilities and customization Craft CMS affords for intelligently generating SEO-friendly page titles is immense.

The flexibility and power of Craft's title configuration settings makes it easy to optimise titles across website content for improved click-through rates and search rankings. For developers, the ability to dictate the title structure right within the CMS rather than needing to hard-code titles in templates is a huge SEO advantage.

Proper SEO-focused page title creation improves findability, drives qualified organic traffic to websites, and enhances user experience. Craft CMS puts the control over optimizing titles for every page in the hands of web developers.

Accessing Page Title Settings in Craft CMS

Navigating to Page Title Settings

Craft CMS enables full control over page titles directly within the intuitive control panel interface. Accessing the settings to configure page title rules across your site is simple and straightforward.

To begin, log into the Craft CMS control panel using your administrator credentials. This launches the dashboard from where all settings can be accessed.

Along the left vertical menu, click on “Settings” to expand the section. Then click on “Sites” from the list. This will open up the Sites page.

Within the Sites settings area, scroll down until you see the “Site Settings” section. Click on the “Edit” button for your site.

This will open the Edit Site modal. Across the top horizontal menu bar, click on “SEO”. This will display the SEO-related settings.

Under the “Site-wide Title Format” section, you will find the Page Title Format text field. This is where global title tag rules can be defined.

So in summary, the path is: Dashboard > Settings > Sites > [Edit Site] > SEO > Page Title Format

Following these simple steps gives you access to the crucial page title configuration settings for your Craft CMS website.

Page Title Format Syntax

The Page Title Format text field accepts a variety of syntax options and patterns to control page titles site-wide. This enables enforcing a consistent, optimized title structure across all pages.

Some common syntax examples include:

Site Name - {siteName} will output your brand name in titles across all pages.

Entry Title - {title} dynamically pulls in the entry headline or page title.

Category - {cat1.title} adds the category to titles on category pages.

Custom Text - Plain text can be manually added anywhere in the format.

Pipes - Vertical bars like {title} | {siteName} separates title segments.

Conditionals - Twig if statements enable custom logic, e.g. only adding category for certain sections.

Truncation - {{ entry.title[:50] }} truncates titles over a certain length.

These are just a few examples of the powerful functionality the Page Title Format enables. Consult Craft's documentation for more syntax options.

Previewing Page Title Changes

Craft CMS provides a Preview Mode that allows previewing frontend changes like page title updates prior to the changes going live. This is useful for testing new title formats.

To access Preview Mode, first make sure you are editing the desired entry or page in the Craft control panel.

In the top right corner, change the “Live” dropdown to “Preview”. This will launch a separate preview window.

Now when you edit the entry’s custom title tag, the change will be visible on that page in the preview window. You can toggle back to Live view to see the current production title.

This makes it easy to test variations of page titles to compare which option is most SEO-effective.

Here are some tips for previewing and A/B testing titles:

  • Try titles with and without keywords to see impact on click-through rate.

  • Test different variations of keywords used in the title.

  • See if segmenting the title with pipes improves clarity.

  • Check if including the brand name improves performance.

  • Assess titles of varying lengths to find the optimal character count.

The Preview Mode is invaluable for perfecting page titles through real-world testing before publishing changes. Craft CMS streamlines title optimizations with robust preview capabilities.

With the power to access page title settings, leverage the flexible syntax options, and preview changes, Craft provides unparalleled control over fine-tuning title tags for SEO success.

Optimized titles help better attract search traffic, boost rankings, amplify click-through rates, and enhance the overall user experience.

Global Page Title Rules in Craft CMS

Page Title Format Patterns

One of the most powerful capabilities Craft CMS provides is the ability to set global sitewide page title rules using the Page Title Format syntax. Rather than needing to manually configure titles page by page, developers can define reusable patterns that enforce a consistent, optimized title structure across all site pages and entries.

Some common examples of Page Title Format patterns include referencing the site name so it prominently appears in all page titles across the site. Dynamic tokens can pull in the specific entry title or headline to populate relevant keywords for each piece of content. Default custom text can be added to output in all page titles. Segmenting different elements like title and site name with pipe separators improves scannability. Categories or other taxonomy can be programmatically appended to relevant pages using tokens and conditionals. Truncation ensures long titles are optimized for display.

The Page Title Format field enables full control over sitewide title tags with these types of reusable patterns tailored to the brand and SEO strategy.

Best Practices

When defining global page title rules in Craft CMS, there are several best practices to follow:

First, keyword optimization should be applied strategically, by including primary or topic-specific terms where they fit naturally without over-optimizing. Keeping titles concise and under 60 characters prevents awkward truncation in search listings.

Prominent branding can be achieved by always leading title formats with your site name. Dynamically pulling in page-specific entry titles and headlines brings in descriptive keywords. Separating title segments with pipe separators | improves quick user scannability.

Readability should also be considered. Avoid capitalizing every word, using sentence case instead. Minimize repetition of keywords across pages. Set logical fallback defaults for empty fields and error handling. Use conditional logic in formats to account for differences across site sections and structures.

Adhering to these best practices ensures default global title rules are both SEO-optimized as well as provide a polished, consistent user experience.

Considerations by Site

Additional factors come into play when configuring sitewide page title rules across multi-site setups within a single Craft CMS instance.

For example, the title should reference the current site's specific domain name rather than the overall brand. Keywords can be tailored to that site's unique content scope and focus areas. Formats should maintain reasonable consistency across sites for uniformity while allowing customization to match site tone and purpose.

For multilingual sites, titles need translation into each language edition. Rel=canonical tags indicate duplicate content, while redirects eliminate outdated translated title formats. Regional sites may specify location. Optimizations adjust based on the site's target audience and users.

With planning, global title rules can work cohesively across multi-site properties while still optimizing for local search intent. Evaluating the purpose and audience of each site guides intelligent configuration of default title formats.

The Page Title Format syntax empowers developers with immense flexibility to set optimized sitewide title tags that cover diverse use cases. Consistent rules reduce the need for heavy manual title configuration page by page. Craft CMS removes the complexity from implementing SEO best practices across all page titles.

Overriding Page Titles in Craft CMS

Using Entry Title Fields

While Craft CMS provides the ability to set global default page title rules sitewide, it also makes it easy to override these on a per-entry basis. By expanding the SEO section when editing an entry, developers can access the dedicated Title field for that entry. Simply entering a new custom title here will override the global format and allow granular control of the title tag specifically for this page.

For example, the global title rule may output {siteName} | {entry.title}. But for high priority entries, a strategic SEO-optimized title like Guide to UK Holiday Destinations can be manually set in the Title field. This accepts plain text, markdown, or Twig syntax for advanced customization. So the entry Title field enables easily overriding default titles with page-specific versions optimized for search and conversion.

When to Override Titles

Overriding global title rules should be used judiciously and strategically for specific pages where customized titles would significantly improve SEO performance, clarity for users, or conversion rates.

Some examples are promoting priority pages by leading titles with important target keywords instead of the site name, fixing improperly truncated titles from lengthy entry names, adding location details not in the entry title, re-ordering title segments for better flow, and optimizing titles for top ranking keyword opportunities. The goal is providing enhanced titles for key pages without compromising consistency across average content. Sparingly overriding default rules with strategic custom titles on high-priority pages can make a big difference.

Limitations of Overrides

However, excessive title overrides can introduce pitfalls like inconsistent optimization across pages if not managed carefully. For example, duplicate generic titles could appear if many entries lack custom titles, or sections may become misaligned if overrides are too disparate.

Manually optimizing numerous titles also burdens developers more than bulk global rules. It's possible to over-optimize as well, raising spam risks. Changed overridden titles previously optimized also require redirects. The best practice is relying primarily on strong global title rules, with selective custom entry titles to boost rankings for certain keywords and pages. Maintaining some consistency and analyzing override performance identifies gaps. Overall, while powerful for SEO, strategic planning prevents problems from excessive custom title overrides.

Example Optimization Workflow

A balanced approach is defining a default global title format covering most pages, with {entry.title} fallback to populate titles. Analyze priority pages needing better optimization, and override just those entry titles with strategic custom formatting. Regularly review performance data, identifying new optimization opportunities or underperforming titles to enhance. This workflow ensures targeted title overrides only where beneficial, without sacrificing consistency.

Craft CMS truly empowers developers to leverage the strengths of both customized and consistent titles for maximum SEO impact. With robust global defaults and surgical overrides, it’s possible to balance optimization with consistency.

Choosing Page Title Fields in Craft CMS

Entry Title Fields

One of the flexible capabilities Craft CMS provides is allowing developers to choose which field should be used when auto-generating the default page titles for entries. This is configured on a per-section basis within the advanced section settings. By expanding the "Entry URI Format" settings for a section, developers can set the "Title Fields" dropdown to specify the field that will provide the title text across entries in that section.

Common options to select as the title field include the actual Entry Title field, the Heading field, a custom SEO Title field, or None to disable auto-generation. The ideal option depends on which field makes the most sense as the default title in both the templates and search results for that content type. For example, blog posts may select the Entry Title field, while more structured content could use the Heading field. This ensures the most relevant field is controlling page titles per section.

Page Title Fields

A parallel setting exists for configuring the default page title field for pages across the entire site, or per-structure. Within the Sections settings, selecting "Globals" will set the site-wide default page title field across all pages and structures. Choosing a specific structure allows customizing the title field just for pages belonging to that structure. The same options like Page Title, Heading, SEO Title or None can be set in the "Entry Title Fields" dropdown.

Evaluating the content model and fields determines which contains the text that should define titles for pages by default. Keep in mind this can still be overridden per entry or page while setting intelligent defaults.

Troubleshooting Title Fields

If the incorrect title field seems to be populating titles, there are a few common issues to investigate:

First, verify the field handle exists and matches - rename if needed. Confirm the field type is configured as a Title type. Check that the field is not blank, disabled or hidden. Try re-saving affected entries and clearing caches.

If issues persist, disabling plugins like SEOmatic eliminates potential conflicts. Testing by outputting the {{ entry.title }} variable directly can help identify the culprit. As a last resort, titling can be disabled and set manually. Enabling Dev Mode provides visibility into which values are being output.

With systematic tests and process of elimination, any title field misconfigurations can be identified and resolved. Craft provides developer flexibility while making it straightforward to customize which fields populate titles across different types of content.

Page Title Length Guidelines in Craft CMS

Recommended Length

When optimizing page titles in Craft CMS, one of the most important considerations is title length. The ideal title length for maximizing click-through rate from search engine results pages (SERPs) is 50-60 characters. More precisely, titles around 50 characters tend to achieve higher click-through rates because they succinctly convey the core focus of a page. On the other end, titles longer than 60 characters will get truncated with an ellipsis on most search engines.

To condense lengthy titles, tactics like removing unnecessary words, using strategic abbreviations, shortening verbose category names, and replacing phrases with more compact synonyms can help streamline titles without losing meaning. Trimming redundant words brings titles closer to the 50-60 character range for ideal impact.

Strategies for Long Titles

For page titles that exceed 60 characters, there are a few key strategies developers can use to condense them: removing redundant words, intelligently abbreviating terminology, truncating trailing less-important words, breaking the title into segments using separators, shortening category names, and including only truly essential information.

For example, verbose category names may be reduced to just the first or two most relevant words. Pipes can split long titles into scannable chunks. With a refined truncation approach, long titles can highlight priorities within the ideal compact length.

Truncation Tips

In terms of programmatic title truncation, best practices involve truncating after the primary keywords appear, breaking at natural phrases, adding ellipses to indicate truncation, maintaining logical sentence structure, and truncating full category names to their main segment.

Truncation should avoid mid-word breaks or chopping names awkwardly. The character length for truncation requires testing - starting with 60 characters is recommended. Intelligent truncation ensures seamless, natural-reading titles without sacrificing critical keywords and meaning.

For a lengthy title, first removing unnecessary words brings it closer to the target length. Then precise truncation after key segments ensures all core keywords are retained within the concise title. With optimization best practices, Craft CMS enables crafting page titles with maximum impact. Keeping titles in that 50-60 character sweet spot improves click-through rate from SERPs and prevents awkward cut-offs.

Prominent Keywords in Page Titles in Craft CMS

Keyword Placement

Proper keyword placement plays a crucial role in on-page optimization when crafting page titles in Craft CMS. Some core best practices include prioritizing the primary keyword early in the title, ideally within the first 1-3 words. This ensures keywords that identify the focus of the page are prominently visible. When truncating lengthy titles, critical high-priority keywords should remain intact. Segmenting titles using pipes can also maintain keyword prominence in each chunk.

Targeted secondary keywords that fit naturally should be worked in, while trademark keywords warrant capitalization to stand out. Repeating keyword variations like singular and plural forms also boosts clarity for users. Overall, strategic keyword placement improves click-through rate from search listings while clearly communicating relevance.

Keyword Frequency

In terms of optimizing keyword frequency and density, titles should aim for a natural integration that avoids awkward over-optimization. For short titles, the primary keyword can be used 1-2 times without forcing repetitive stuffing. Longer titles have flexibility for more repetitions or synonyms if needed for clarity.

However, readability should not be sacrificed just to increase frequency - keywords should fluidly fit within compelling title text. Usage should be evaluated in the context of surrounding pages as well to prevent over-targeting any single term. With careful density strategies, pages can attract highly relevant search traffic without raising spam flags.

Avoiding Over-Optimization

Excessive keyword loading should be avoided, as this risks penalties and degrades user experience. Titles overloaded with keywords often read unnaturally and do not provide a meaningful preview. Including branding, descriptive details and compelling messaging beyond just keywords makes titles scannable. Both user experience and SEO must be evaluated holistically when optimizing titles. Usage should seem natural as if written solely for a human audience. Previewing titles in context within SERPs also reveals any readability issues from over-stuffing.

In summary, prominent yet seamless keyword integration for page titles strikes the right balance for Craft CMS SEO. Thoughtful placement, strategic density, and avoiding awkward repetition or stuffing helps maximize titles for both search engines and users.

Page Title Formatting Guidelines in Craft CMS

Title Case vs Sentence Case

When formatting page titles in Craft CMS, two common formatting options are title case and sentence case. Title case capitalizes the first letter of each word except articles, prepositions, and conjunctions. For example, "How to Format Page Titles in Craft CMS". This provides prominent capitalization that improves scannability, but can seem unnatural or robotic.

Sentence case only capitalizes the first word and proper nouns, such as "How to format page titles in Craft CMS". This reads more naturally but lacks emphasis from capitalization. Sentence case does better highlight proper nouns though.

There are pros and cons to each approach. Title case aids scanning but looks formulaic, while sentence case is more conversational yet de-emphasizes keywords. Evaluating the context should determine the ideal case for page titles in Craft.

Using Separators

Separators like vertical pipes | and dashes - are useful when formatting lengthy page titles in Craft CMS to compartmentalize chunks and improve digestibility. For example, "Beginner's Guide to Fly Fishing | Craft CMS Tutorial" or "Craft CMS SEO Guide - Optimizing Page Titles".

Separators can isolate logical segments of long titles, helping users scan and digest the pieces. They also provide the ability to emphasize keywords, branding, categories or other elements in their own distinct sections. Pipe separators add visual structure while dashes more subtly divide title segments. Of course, separators should be used judiciously and avoided for already short titles. But they bring helpful clarity to complex lengthy titles.

Testing Formats

The optimal page title formatting can be identified through A/B testing variations in Craft CMS and analyzing performance data. For example, title case and sentence case versions could be tested to see which style resonates more. Including or excluding separators like pipes and dashes could be experimented with. Different keyword placements and numbering/structuring tactics could also be tried.

Previewing titles across SERPs reveals which formats attract the most clicks and attention visually. Craft CMS makes it easy to efficiently test a range of title formatting approaches and quantify the impact on click-through rates and other metrics. Applying those learnings can greatly improve page titles site-wide.

In summary, properly formatting page titles plays a key optimization role by enhancing scannability and comprehension. Craft's flexibility enables implementing and experimenting with various title case, separator, keyword, and structure options to determine the ideal approach.

Tips for Optimized Page Titles in Craft CMS


Creating accurate page titles is crucial in Craft CMS to represent entry content well for users. Titles should clearly summarize the topic and information covered using precise keywords and details relevant to that content. Vague or exaggerated wording that misleads should be avoided.

When truncating lengthy titles, the most descriptive parts should remain intact. Proper grammar, spelling, punctuation are important, along with double checking accuracy of names, brands, products etc. Outdated or no longer accurate titles should also be updated. Overall, accurate titles set proper user expectations, driving higher engagement and satisfaction.

Unique Titles

Unique, distinct page titles are also vital for optimized Craft CMS sites. Relying solely on default auto-generated entry titles often creates boilerplate duplicate titles across pages. Where possible, titles should be manually customized with unique details like locations, brands, products etc. Strategic use of pipes and dashes to segment titles can differentiate them as well.

Any popular duplicate titles still in place should be analyzed for optimization opportunities.

Category and section archive pages in particular need custom titles instead of just outputting the category name. Adding site branding to titles also makes them more distinct. Existing duplicate titles can 301 redirect to consolidated pages with optimized names. Overall, unique titles make pages stand out clearly in SERPs and improve click-through rates.

Compelling Wording

Optimized titles should also employ compelling wording to capture user attention. Emotional keywords like "guide" and "tips" and actionable phrasing with "how to" elicit interest. Asking relevant questions, using strategic numbers and lists, highlighting branding, and focusing on user benefits creates intriguing titles. Power words like "expert" and "proven" and specifics like locations improve click appeal. Excessive filler words however should be avoided. Crafting titles with compelling phrasing piques user interest and directly improves click-through rates. The right potent wording makes a tremendous SEO difference.

In summary, carefully crafted page titles considering accuracy, uniqueness, and compelling wording are vital for both user experience and SEO success in Craft CMS.

Advanced Page Title Configuration in Craft CMS

SEOmatic Plugin

The SEOmatic plugin provides powerful advanced page title functionality in Craft CMS that goes beyond the built-in configuration options. Key features include the ability to auto-generate titles across entries based on customizable templates, create custom title formats tailored to specific sections or entry types, leverage dynamic variables and tokens, control title structure in templates, utilize Twig code capabilities, and provide per-page title overrides. This granular control empowers developers to optimize page titles for SEO without needing to hard-code titles.

Auto-Generated Titles

One of SEOmatic's capabilities is auto-generating page titles by selecting specific fields to pull into the titles dynamically. For example, the entry title, categories, author name, date, and other elements can be incorporated into title templates. The order, inclusion, and truncation of title segments can be fully configured as well in the template. This auto-population from defined templates provides an efficient way to optimize titles across sections while still allowing custom overrides where needed.

Custom Templates

Additionally, SEOmatic enables creating custom title templates that will output for particular entry sections or types within Craft CMS. For example, blog post titles could utilize a format like "{entry.title} | {category.title} | {siteName}" to include dynamic category information. Case studies may warrant a different template like "{entry.companyName} {entry.benefit} Case Study" that pulls in custom fields. The custom template capability allows tailoring title structure and elements specifically based on the content type and its data model.

Other notable features include defining separate title formats per site, configuring sitewide fallback formats, setting a default template for brand new sections, and more. Together these provide immense power for advanced SEOmatic page title customization to handle any needed use case within a Craft CMS implementation.

In summary, SEOmatic delivers robust advanced configuration capabilities for optimized, custom-tailored page titles across a Craft CMS website or complex multi-site implementation.

Shape April 2022 HR 202
Andy Golpys
- Author

Andy has scaled multiple businesses and is a big believer in Craft CMS as a tool that benefits both Designer, Developer and Client. 

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