Having duplicate title tags on your WordPress site can negatively impact your SEO and user experience. Title tags are HTML elements that appear in the browser tab and are used by search engines to understand what a page is about. Duplicate titles mean pages don’t have unique descriptions, making it harder for search engines and users to distinguish them.
Fortunately, there are a few simple ways to find and remove duplicate title tags in WordPress. In this beginner’s guide, I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process so you can improve your site’s SEO and usability.
Why Duplicate Title Tags Are Problematic
Before jumping into the how-to, let’s briefly go over why duplicate title tags are an issue that needs to be addressed:
Duplicate title tags violate the concept of uniqueness, which is an important ranking factor for search engines.
Having the same title tag on multiple pages dilutes the relevancy signal and may result in lower rankings or traffic.
When users see the same title for different pages, they may get confused about the content on those pages. This could lead to a poor user experience and higher bounce rates.
Indicates Thin Content
In most cases, duplicate title tags imply that the content on those pages lacks depth and uniqueness. Search engines may interpret this as low-quality or thin content.
Difficult to Differentiate Pages
Duplicate titles make it harder for search engines to understand the topic focus of each page and determine which page would be most relevant for a search query.
Now that you understand why duplicate title tags can be problematic, let’s look at how to detect and fix them on your WordPress site.
How to Find Duplicate Title Tags in WordPress
There are a couple ways to find duplicate title tags in WordPress:
Use a WordPress SEO Plugin
One of the easiest ways is to use a WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or Rank Math. These plugins have tools to detect duplicate titles:
- Yoast SEO – Go to SEO > Site Analysis. Any issues with duplicate title tags will be flagged.
- Rank Math – Go to Titles & Metas > Titles.
So if you already have one of these installed, you can quickly find duplicate title tags under the respective sections.
Use a Site Audit Tool
Another option is to use an external site audit tool like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Screaming Frog. These crawl your site and provide reports about duplicate page titles.
The process would involve:
- Run a crawl to index your site’s content.
- Check the site audit report for duplicate title tags.
While site audit tools require more setup, they can thoroughly scan and flag all duplicate title tag issues.
Manually Review Titles
You can also manually look through page titles in your WordPress backend:
- Go to Pages > All Pages and open each page.
- Look at the title tag in the SEO section of the page editor.
- Open other pages and compare title tags to identify duplicates.
While tedious for larger sites, this can work for smaller WordPress sites. Ctrl/Cmd + F to search titles can also speed things up.
The key is using any of these methods to get a list of pages with duplicate title tags impacting your site.
How to Remove Duplicate Title Tags in WordPress
Once you’ve audited and found the duplicate title tags, here are a few tips for removing them:
Make Titles Unique
The most direct solution is to simply make the duplicate titles unique. For example:
Duplicate Title: My WordPress Site
Page 1: My WordPress Site – Home
Page 2: My WordPress Site – About
Page 3: My WordPress Site – Contact
Try to amend the duplicate title by adding location, page name, or focus keywords to distinguish each one.
Adding a location or page type can also differentiate duplicate titles:
Duplicate Title: WordPress SEO Guide
Page 1: Beginner’s WordPress SEO Guide
Page 2: Advanced WordPress SEO Guide for 2022
Make the location or type clearer in the title.
Include Primary Keyword
Incorporating the primary keyword into the title tag is another option:
Duplicate Title: Social Media Marketing Tips
Page 1: Social Media Marketing Tips for Facebook
Page 2: Social Media Marketing Tips for Twitter
Include the main focus keyword of that page into the title tag.
Delete Unnecessary Pages
For lesser important pages that are light on unique content, consider deleting them altogether to consolidate duplicate titles.
Redirect Duplicate Pages
If you want to keep duplicate pages for analytics or tracking purposes, redirect to the primary page to avoid duplicate content and cannibalization issues.
This makes the duplicate page redirect to the primary page so it remains only one in search engines.
Create Title Templates
For sites with many pages, use title tag templates that dynamically include the page name, location, brand name, etc. This makes your titles scalable.
Plugins like Yoast SEO allow you to set title templates that insert titles dynamically.
The key is to implement a strategy that systematically makes your duplicate titles distinct and unique for each page.
How to Automatically Generate Unique Title Tags
Manually creating unique title tags for hundreds or thousands of pages can be tedious. Here are some pro tips for auto-generating unique titles:
Use an SEO Plugin
As mentioned earlier, SEO plugins like Yoast SEO and Rank Math have auto-generation features.
For example, in Yoast SEO, you can set a title template like
%page_title% %sep% %site_title% and the plugin will insert page-specific titles across your site.
Try a Title Generator Plugin
Plugins like Unique Title by CyberNetikz can automatically generate unique titles for all your pages. Simply set rules and templates for the titles.
With each edit, it will create distinctive titles based on page content.
Use Spreadsheets for Bulk Changes
For bulk title tag edits, export your WordPress content into a spreadsheet using plugins like WP All Export.
Edit the titles column in the spreadsheet, then re-import to apply the changes across your site.
This allows bulk title updates across hundreds of pages easily.
The key is using Title Tags authentically in a scalable way, rather than manually updating each page.
Common Title Tag Issues to Avoid in WordPress
When updating your title tags, be sure to avoid these common issues:
Avoid jamming multiple keywords into titles. This looks spammy. Keep titles under 60 characters with 1-2 primary keywords.
Duplicate Titles on Other Pages
When changing a title, check that the new title tag doesn’t already exist on another page. Use site audit tools to catch this.
Missing Brand Name
Unless it’s your homepage, page titles should typically include your brand name for consistency.
Title Tags That Are Too Long
Long title tags get cut off in search results. Keep them less than 60 characters.
If your new title tag performs worse in search, it may need tweaking. Check Google Search Console data.
By being mindful of these issues, you can craft title tags that engage both users and search engines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did my title tags suddenly duplicate across my WordPress site?
This is usually caused by a buggy SEO plugin that malfunctioned and applied the same title everywhere. Try disabling plugins to isolate the cause. Revert to a previous backup if needed.
Is it bad to have a few duplicate title tags out of hundreds of pages?
Ideally fix all duplicates as it violates uniqueness. But 1-2 duplicates out of hundreds likely won’t significantly impact SEO. Monitor search performance.
How often should you check WordPress sites for duplicate title tags?
Ideally monthly. Many SEO experts recommend checking for duplicates and other technical issues each month via site audits. Fix issues as they emerge.
Can I automate fixing duplicate title tags in WordPress?
Yes, through SEO plugins or dedicated title generation plugins. These can dynamically populate unique titles across all pages based on templates.
How do I check for duplicate title tags in WordPress without a plugin?
Export your pages to CSV using WP All Export, then scan the Title column for duplicates. Or manually look through page titles in the WP editor. A bit tedious but works.
Duplicate title tags can hamper your WordPress site’s SEO and user experience. By auditing titles and using plugins or bulk editing, you can efficiently eliminate duplicate titles.
Remember to make each title unique, incorporate page names/keywords, and avoid stuffing or overly long titles. Automate title generation whenever possible.
Stay vigilant in monitoring your WordPress titles each month. By fixing duplicates, you can improve click-through rates, increase organic traffic, and avoid search engine filter penalties.