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Previously I asked whether it would be a good idea to always put the important tags in the title, visible to Google. As Grace Note points out, something similar is already done, but only for the first tag (sorted by popularity of the tag).

Could important tags like programming language be included in the title of the question automatically, so that they would be visible only to google, but not on SE? I'm no search engine specialist, but I'm thinking of perhaps just hiding the 'tags' part of the title?

A similar question has been asked before. "Should language-specific questions contain the language name in the title?" This question IMHO correctly states a problem.

Placing e.g. the name of the programming language to which the question relates causes redundancy as the tags already should specify the same, but improves search engine results.

The opposite to my suggestion has been proposed as well: "Automatically move bracketed [tags] in the title to the tags field", but this doesn't solve the search engine issue.

In this case I'm still wondering whether it would be a good idea to reenforcing no tags in the title as a convention. Personally I find the tags clear enough, but as long as there is no convention to follow, some people will edit questions to remove the tags, and other could actually add them to the title.

Whether or not an algorithm could be found to reenforce (or suggest) a correct title is something which can follow later.

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Er, this already happens (except on Meta)? (And more details.) –  Arjan Apr 27 '11 at 15:23

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

This is already done. See here for details. The first tag on the question that isn't already organically in the title will be automatically appended to the title attribute of the question, which is used expressly to be seen by search engines in an optimal fashion.

I think with this functionality, we don't need to add it to the natural titles themselves.


To address your revision, let me bring up a question from Game Development, which asks about the same thing. I'll quote the answer and Jeff's comment on it.

Personally I hate this. If it's important, work the tag into the question grammatically, e.g. "How do I color my model in OpenGL?", "How do I change the color of a texture in Cocos2d?". If you're just going to slam ungrammatical tags on it, well, we have tags for that.

Joe Wreschnig

And then Jeff's comment...

correct, this is my guidance -- if the tag works "naturally" in the title, use it there. If it does not, then the most popular tag is added to the HTML on the page anyway, so you're covered in either case.

Jeff Atwood ♦

That's a basic policy of incorporating important tags in the title: do it if it fits organically, don't slap it in the front like some categorical element. The title is for being a title, not for categorical elements. Let the tags do the categorizing, the title should be a quick description of your problem.

Basically, if your question has important tag [Y], your question title should incorporate it in a fashion such as "How do I do X in Y", not "Y: How do I do X", if you are inclined to include an important tag in it.

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The problem with not having it in the title is that you have to read all the way to the very end of the question to find out what language/framework/etc. that the question involves, rather than seeing it in big letters at the top. –  Gabe Apr 27 '11 at 16:10
    
Nice! I've checked some questions to see whether it would be useful to add more than 1 tag, but one tag seems to be sufficient. I've updated my question with a follow-up question about convention. –  Steven Jeuris Apr 27 '11 at 16:10
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@Gabe It's fine to put it in the title organically. Ask "How do I do X in C#", for example, not "C#: How do I do X?". –  Grace Note Apr 27 '11 at 16:11
    
@Gabe: In general I look at the tags in the question overview before clicking on the question to read it. Furthermore, you could argue the tags should be placed on top of the question and not at the bottom, but that would be a different discussion. –  Steven Jeuris Apr 27 '11 at 16:13
    
Your update answers my question, thanks! Perhaps it would be useful to add this to the faq as a general guideline so this can become a more widespread convention. –  Steven Jeuris Apr 27 '11 at 16:22
    
You shouldn't have to read to the end of the question to see what it's about, @Gabe. Important information should never be solely in tags. Tags are for categorising information: they're metadata, not data. The entire question should be readable and understandable without reference to the tags. That doesn't mean it all needs to go into the title, of course, but it should be in the body. –  TRiG is Timothy Richard Green Oct 18 '13 at 13:17
    
@TRiG: Even having it only in the body is problematic because you may have to read through the entire question, just to figure out if the question is something you're qualified to answer. I might suggest putting the tags at the top rather than the bottom. –  Gabe Oct 18 '13 at 14:04

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