Here are three similar ways to title a question:

  1. how to concatenate lines into one string
  2. bash: to concatenate lines into one string
  3. how to concatenate lines into one string in bash

Since the question is tagged I used to assume the second and third are redundant. But since google probably doesn't look at the tag, maybe I should include some explicit reference to bash. What's best practice?

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    The correct answer can be found here. – Cody Gray Apr 24 '12 at 19:03
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    @TheEstablishment - Jeff's opinion is just that. An opinion. Yes, he founded SO and wrote large swathes of it. Doesn't make him right on every little issue. – Oded Apr 24 '12 at 19:05
  • @Oded: Didn't mean it was correct because Jeff wrote it. I meant it was correct because I agree with it. I would have posted my own answer, but I didn't see the point in duplicating it. – Cody Gray Apr 24 '12 at 19:06
  • @TheEstablishment - Fair enough. If you agree with it, it must be the correct answer ;) – Oded Apr 24 '12 at 19:07
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    Stack Overflow is not in need of your SEO skills. – user1228 Apr 25 '12 at 14:26
  • Hi, I'd like to bring this up again, as I see that some of my suggested edits that were removing tags were rejected for being 'too minor'. I took notice of this issue only after my questions were edited this way, and I was told it wasn't considered minor. Is there an official policy or is it for mods consideration? – Noich Mar 21 '13 at 9:36

But since google probably doesn't look at the tag

It does. The tag is part of the page markup so will be part of the indexed page and will show up just fine as a relevant search result in Google. Additionally, as @animuson answered, the tags get prepended to the <title> of the page, so will definitely be seen by Google and used in ranking.

But to answer the question - I would go with option 1, as the other two are just redundant if the question has been tagged correctly.

You really should be titling and tagging for the users of the site - the people who answer questions and those reading them, not for Google.


The primary tag for the question is automatically prepended in the title of the page, which Google does look at. So to Google, your question would look like bash - how to concatenate lines into one string, unless you used some other more-primary tag that overrides it.

  • How do you know this? I'm not saying you are wrong (or right), just curious about your source. – vascowhite Apr 24 '12 at 19:53
  • @vascogotlost: Try copying the complete title of any semi-old question that Google has had time to index, search for it, and find the Stack Overflow link. You should note though that if the tag is already present in the question title, it does not get automatically prepended. It will use another one. – animuson Apr 24 '12 at 19:55
  • Thanks for the tip, it seems you are right as usual :) – vascowhite Apr 24 '12 at 20:14

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