I had no idea about the importance of duplicate title tags until I started using Google Webmaster tools and Analytics. In Google Webmaster tools, users can check HTML suggestions were they will find a list of issues Googlebot found upon crawling their Website. While these issues will not prevent a Website from appearing in Google search results, it is important to make necessary adjustments wherever possible to improve user experience and site performance.
Duplicate title tags are repeated lines of text contained in (HTML) title tags of more than one Web page of a Website. The title tag is important because when properly chosen in terms of relevance and description of Web pages, can result in a high click rate in search results. Having duplicates of a single title therefore has the potential of making it impossible for Googlebot to differentiate title descriptions for separate pages thus limiting their appearance in search results.
A good way of avoiding duplicate title tags is by using clear, unique and detailed descriptions for page titles, in which case it will be difficult to repeat exactly the same title twice. However, there are some cases where this is just not possible particularly when several pages are involved at the same time for example,single, comment, tag and archive pages.
When I encountered the duplicate title tag problem, I decided to tackle it with the Platinum SEO pack (WordPress) by following the steps listed below. Note that the these steps can be carried out with other plugins or indeed by other means especially for non-WordPress users.
- Use noindex for Categories.
- Use noindex for Data-based Archives.
- Use noindex for Tag Archives.
- Set up Canonical URLs for your homepage, single post, category and tag pages.
Using the above technique is useful for excluding pages from being crawled to avoid duplicate content and also helping Googlebot differentiate pages that should be crawled from those that should not. If done properly, you will observe that your duplicate title tags will reduce drastically after a few days and will be nowhere to be found soon after.
What other methods can be used to remove duplicate title tags?