Customizing Title Tags in Wordpress Without Using a Plug-in
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Wordpress is an awesome content management system, which is one reason it is so popular among bloggers. However, it is notoriously bad at search engine optimization, which could lead to your posts not being found by people looking for exactly what you have to offer. Fortunately, there is a way around that, if you're prepared to do a little work on your title tags. This article explains how.
The underlying reasons for customization
Wordpress has become the best content management system written in PHP. When starting a website, if you love blogging, Wordpress offers great advantages for customization and it is free. In fact, Matt Cutts of Google uses Wordpress as his blog publishing platform.
Title tags are the most important part of any web page. Even before search engines became very popular among people searching for vital information on the web, many rely on title tags to search for immediate information about your website. This is analogous to a headline in a newspaper, or chapters in a book that you will read.
When Google came along, as well as other search engines, title tags became the most influential factor in their determining relevant content. The complex algorithms in their database analyze title tags with so much priority that if your targeted keyword is not in the title, your page will not receive as much attention in ranking, and therefore you will receive less traffic.
In the default installation of Wordpress, you will get annoyed with the way title tags are shown. Currently, it will show your blog name in the most prominent position of the title, the followed by other unimportant information and finally your exact topic title.
If you do not customize the titles, your Wordpress site will end up having highly similar title tags across the pages that will confuse your blog readers, as well as the search engines trying to find relevant information for their users. Worse will happen if your topic title is too long; Google can only show up to 66 characters in title tags. In search results, this will be truncated and show the unimportant information first (such as the blog's name) which will affect how many people will click to your site from the search engine results. Remember that relevant and descriptive title tags will attract clicks from any links, including in the search engine results or in a social book marking site such as Digg.
If you are fan of SEO plug-ins in Wordpress, even these do not give you the best results. Often these plug-ins are complex to customize for any blogger that does not understand FTP, plug-in customization and SEO.
Another problem with using Wordpress plug-ins related to SEO title tags relates to compatibility issues. Some will not work for different Wordpress versions and may create fatal errors.
This is why, when customizing title tags, it is best to work through simple codes found in Header.php in Wordpress files.
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