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What Does a Title Tag, Title Tag and Title Tag Have In Common?

This is one of those Basic SEO posts, that I feel silly writing about because “everybody knows” this information already. But then I look at websites of prospects and I realize that not everybody really does know. Or maybe they do and they just forget. In any case, this will be a quick reminder/refresher.

Most duplicate content issues have to do with on-page content. Mass page/content duplication can often have a negative effect on how the search engines spider and index your site. While I believe the title tag is the single most important piece of real estate on your site, duplication here is likely to have the least effect on the search engine crawlers. It will, however, have an effect on rankings, but that’s another discussion. Even still, it’s a duplicate issue that absolutely must be addressed for tactical SEO performance.

Duplicate titles is something we often see on newly developed websites or content management systems that don’t allow proper control of individual pages. While I get how when developing new websites the title tag can get overlooked, I’m amazed that people who develop web software that still doesn’t take title tag customization into account.

Duplicate Title Tags

In some cases, it’s just a matter of some creative programming to fix. In others, it might require some significant reworking of the system or a scraping of the system altogether. And, of course, other times it’s just a matter of taking the time to get into your HTML or your CMS and writing unique title tags for all your products and content pages. If you have a lot of products or pages, this can be time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort.

If you can pull it off with your CMS allow Titles to be automatically generated based on on-page criteria, but also give yourself the opportunity to overwrite the defaults with your own customization. This is especially handy for product pages. The default can display essentially the breadcrumb trail of categories down to the products as the default. This will ensure all your title tags are unique, to a degree. But at some point, you may want to get in and create a unique title tag for more punch and better search engine rankings. Having both options will give you the greatest degree of control without having duplicate titles until you get around to customizing them.

Duplicate Title Tags

All said and done, your titles should:

  • Short, 65 characters max
  • Unique for each page
  • Accurately reflects page content
  • Contains main keywords

Related posts on duplicate content:

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

10 Responses to What Does a Title Tag, Title Tag and Title Tag Have In Common?

  1. Shell Harris says:

    Well said, Stoney. It never hurts to learn or review the basics. Keep it real. If you don’t mind I would like to piggy back on this post with one of my own. It goes into some different ideas so it isn’t a repeat of your valuable information.

  2. Shari Sultana says:

    This is an excellent post.

    The ladies at the Virtual Assistant forums will love you for it.

    There are still a great many people who don’t know about title tags. Thanks for making it simple.

    I’d like to post a link to this at the forum if I may.

    Shari Sultana
    Internet Marketing Virtual Assistant and marketing mod at the Virtual Assistant forums.

  3. Barry Wheeler says:

    Thanks for the great article. I just finished developing some SEO tutorials for an ebook that I’m writing and found this extremely helpful.

  4. Lana says:

    My question is –on an e-commerce site with multiple pages (like nail polishes page one, page two, etc), each page has the same title tag, which shopping cart programs allow you to manage these title tags? Likewise — if a product is found under two different categories — in my shopping cart program they will still have the same title tag. Any suggestions?

  5. Stoney G deGeyter
    Stoney deGeyter says:

    you’ll have to shop around for the best ecommerce cart for your needs. As far as your second issue, if your cart does that you either need to scrap it or change. Every product should have only one URL regardless of which category it was found under.

  6. Lana says:

    I wonder if you could give a top 5 in shopping cart programs? I am finding that none of these programs allow you to manipulate search results page title tags or allow manipulation of title tags for these category differences.

  7. Benivolent says:

    Nice post. In Seo on page optimization title tag is important. Its a basic thing in seo . But using same title tags in multiple pages will affect the traffic of the site in search engine….

  8. Uptrendhits says:

    Never seen them dropped from the index, but surely not ranking to their fullest potential. I have taken on many clients in the condition of duplicate titles/description and simply made them unique and seen an enormous jump in rankings.