Can Fiddling With Too Many Title Tags Negatively Affect Rankings?

WebmasterWorld , Monday, August 25, 2008 12:45 PM
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What happens when you tweak title tags across a swath of pages on your Web site at the same time? Apparently, tumbling rankings, a decrease in the number of pages indexed and an ensuing slowdown in traffic, according to one Webmaster's account. Internetheaven, a WebmasterWorld forums user,explains that organic traffic to his site dropped by 65% in the wake of him changing the title tags for about 60 of the site's 250 pages.

"Last week I went through about 60 of them and adjusted the title tags to something I thought would be more appropriate," he said, "E.g. from: 'CompanyName - Get your keyword1, keyword2, keyword3 & keyword4 Quote Now from Company Name' to CompanyName.com ¦ Company Name Keyword1 & Keyword2 Quotes'." And while it wasn't a drastic change, as the site wasn't generating much traffic from the deleted terms, the ensuing results were awful. So the discussion focuses on whether Internetheaven fiddled with too many title tags at once and sparked Google's "excessive optimization" radar. As one reader says: "Unless you are a super trusted authority site (ie you can throw up a page on a long tail and rank Top 3 in an hour), then Google is very cranky about title changes lately." The reader suggests that Internetheaven should change the bulk of the title tags back to their original setup, leave one "optimized" and see how/when the rankings fluctuate.

Another reader suggests that including "Companyname.com" as the first word of every title tag was likely the culprit. Google weights the first words of the title more than later words," says Steveb. "Putting Companyname.com as the first words of every page is suicide, and odd anyway. Change is not a problem, literally completely useless duplicate content is."

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