Useful, Easy to Read Titles

Published on September 20, 2005 at 11:50 AM EST
In the Tutorials category.

A clear title let’s the search engines find your site. Served with baked or mashed potato.

I’ve just recently changed the contents of the <title></title> tags on this site. After seeing some search results and recognizing how unhelpful the title appeared, I knew I had to make a change. For example, Googling for something I knew was on this site, I found the title: “Computers > Movable Type> Alternate Temp…” Not readable. After a few changes, a search now shows this result: “Alternate Template Collection, in the Computers > Movable Type …” Much better! A default MT installation can show just as useless titles by first specifying the site name. It’s easy to change, though.

A new MT weblog’s title tag starts simply:

<title><$MTBlogName encode_html="1"$>: <$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1"$></title>

First off, I’m not sure what the point of using “encode_html="1"” is. Regardless, adding the category title can greatly improve search engine results by improving relevancy. And a little reorganization can improve readability of those search results for the viewer. It’s as easy as replacing the above with this in your Individual Entry Archive template:

<title><MTEntryTitle remove_html="1">, in <MTEntryCategories glue=", "><MTCategoryLabel remove_html="1"></MTEntryCategories>, on <MTBlogName remove_html="1"></title>

Rebuild and you’re done! I should point out that this isn’t always going to be a necessary change. If your blog’s name is short or if you always use short Entry Titles this may not make a difference. If you don’t use categories, it also may not matter. But I suspect those cases are more rare than we realize. Try Googling for something on your site and check how useful the title appears.