We’ve discussed the need to have great title tags for pages on your website, and how you should prioritise the pages to examine. (If you’re still unsure about what a title tag is, read this, and if you want some creation tips, read this). However, even if your title tags are good, there’s still one potential problem lurking, and that’s “duplicate titles”. Why is it a bad thing to have the same title on more than one page? Well, the title is a very important signal to the search engines as to what the page is about, and what it should rank for. If you have the same title on more than one page you’re diluting your efforts, and the search engine will spread its attention. It’s almost certain that there are more terms which you’ll want your site to rank for than there are pages on your site, so it makes sense that each page should focus on a different search term.
How do you check to see if you have any duplicate titles? If you’re one of our Google AdWords management clients, you’re automatically a member of our Insider Programme so you only have to ask us and we’ll take a look for you. However, it’s not hard if you have Google Webmaster Tools installed on your site*. The importance of duplicate titles (or not having them) is emphasised by the fact that Google includes a specific report on them in Webmaster Tools. That’s a pretty strong hint.
You’ll find the report under Diagnostics > HTML Suggestions. The chances are there will be some duplicates, as with our site (below), but as long as they’re on unimportant pages (or even pages which actually are versions of the same thing), that’s fine. Otherwise, it’s time to get rewriting.
*If your website was set up in-house and you haven’t got Google Webmaster Tools, that’s forgivable. But if an external agency set up your site and didn’t include it, I despair how these people can stay in business.