Make Blog Titles RSS & Search Engine Friendly

Following on from when i talked about blog title’s as ads, let’s make those titles more search engine friendly, human friendly and increase CTR on feed reader click throughs eh? It’s a simple enough thing to do, and makes sense when you think about it.

Both WordPress and MovableType come with titles that look like this out of the box:

My Blog Name : My Post Title

With some variation on what delimits the title from the blog title. It may well depend on what theme/skin you use as to what you end up with, but that’s a very common post title format, you’ll see it everywhere.

What’s wrong with it?

Well, lemme see now…

  • It’s widely held that keywords closer to the left of a title are deemed more important by search engines.
  • As usability guru Jakob Nielsen pointed out recently, people often read only the first 3-4 words of a title when skimming a list of titles. This of course means feed readers, but also search engine results, delicious bookmarks and more.

So we want to swap that title around so it looks like this:

My Post Title : My Blog Name

Or even drop the “My Blog Name” bit entirely if branding isn’t important too you. Personally I think the small benefit of a less diluted title is outweighed by the branding and credibility given by the blogs name in the title, but that may be just me.

How to Hack WordPress and MovableType Titles

Ok, so in WordPress, you want to do the following:


<title><?php bloginfo('name'); ?> <?php if ( is_single() ) { ?> » Blog
Archive <?php } ?> <?php wp_title(); ?></title>


<title> <?php wp_title(); ?> : <?php bloginfo('name');</title>

Or you could entirely remove everything past and including the semicolon.

And for MovableType, do this:


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


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

There, now you’re good to go for both readers and search engines!

If anyone can improve on the hacks above, do post the code, or contact me to let me know. And thanks to Chris for the techy bits 🙂

One thought on “Make Blog Titles RSS & Search Engine Friendly

  1. >>>the small benefit of a less diluted title is outweighed by the branding

    I disagree! Brand in the start of your description if you have to. Adding your blog name to the title, which is one of the strongest on-page factors, will hurt you ranking for the key phrase you put in your title. Also it will dilute your inbound links you get for RSS syndication.

    Also you need to change your code above. It is showing as ANSI.

    Here is link to the code I use to form my titles on WordPress so they produce

    <h1>Title</h1>: <h2>Subtitle</h2>

    on the blog post pages. The Title is hyper linked and the Subtitle is there to provide better desciption.

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