Note that this screenshot and post is already out of date.
See related discussions about tags and titles at:
How do I write a good title?
When should we remove pseudo-tags from a title?
Please note my comment from July 29, 2009
To be clear, I think it is fine to duplicate the tags in the title, but only when they can be worked into the titles organically and conversationally.
Therefore, the "tag in title" code tries very hard to see if you already used the tags in the title organically, before it goes slapping them in there. It's tricky because we are asking users to do the same thing twice.
- tell us what your question is about... in the title
- tell us what your question is about... in the tags
This way we ensure the best of both worlds. Either you already organically have the most important (as judged by tags) words in the title.. or we add them for you. Since we kinda have to, because "how do I format a string?" is a LOT less useful than "c# - how do I format a string?" But yes, in a perfect world, people would write perfect titles like "how do I format a string in C#?" or Google would understand
rel=tag (which we've used for almost 2 years now) or some other blessed tag microformat.
This decision also highlights problem tagging IMO. If adding the 1st or 2nd tag to the title ruins the question, your tagging scheme is broken. Ideally, the 1st and 2nd tags should work organically in the title, and if they don't.. there is something wrong.
So, to the extent that "forcing 1st tag in title" is bad, it's because there is a deeper problem with tags. Of course you always have the occasional clueless user but that's a constant.
(that said, I'm really glad we don't have to do this in the
<h1> because that would totally suck.)
Does the order of keywords matter in a page title?