February 8, 2007
This article reprinted from the the TypePad Hacks Weblog. The original article can be found online:
© 2008, John T Unger
Phil Van Treuren at The Wal-Mart Files sent me a link some time ago to his tutorial on creating dynamic title tags for TypePad blogs.
This is one of the easiest and most effective SEO (search engine optimization) techniques you can use to improve your rankings and your click-throughs with Google and other search engines. Most search engines use the title tag of a page to create the link to your site in search results… usually, there's a brief description below it pulled from either the top of the page, the post summary, or the blog description depending on the search engine and how they index. If you've written a good title for your post, having the title show up is the best way to get readers to decide that your result is the one they want. The link is the first and most compelling thing that people see when looking at search results.
Phil was inspired by Chris Pearson's instructions for creating dynamic title tags for WordPress blogs, The Simplest, Most Effective SEO Move You Can Make. Chris makes the case pretty eloquently when he writes:
This key SEO component is so powerful because it serves both search engines and people. Oftentimes, we become so involved in site building details that we lose sight of the ultimate truth here—search engines, without people, are basically useless.
Actually, TypePad does automatically do this for you but the default setting is for title tags to read Blogname: Title of post, which is not the most efficient way to alert search engines to your content. If your blog has a long name, this can work against you. Also, if all the results from your blog show the same name before the title, it can appear to be duplicate content. If your headlines contain strong keywords that apply to the individual post, having that content show up first can often make a huge difference in how your blog places in search listings.
Phil's tutorial shows you how to edit your templates so that the top of each page displays the title of your individual post… I've documented a few other options which you might prefer in my own tutorial below. Click the "continue reading" link to get started. Please note that you will need a TypePad Pro account to edit your blog in advanced templates.
Note: when altering your existing template code, it is a very good idea to copy your code and paste it into a text document in case you make a mistake and need to start from scratch. More tips on Code Hacking Safety can be found here: 10 Tips for Working with Advanced Templates.
- Log into your TypePad account and go to the Design tab for the blog you wish to edit.
- Click on Create new template module towards the bottom of the page.
- Give your new template a name of head-individual by typing it in the Template Name field.
- Copy the code in the box below and paste it into a plain text document to do your editing.
Note: If your text editor uses Rich Text format, it may cause problems when you paste the code back into your template. If you're unsure how to set your text editor to plain text, you can do your editing in a blog post using the Edit HTML view.
- Here's where you have some options. The standard code you just copied has a line which reads:
<title><$MTBlogName$>: <$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1"$></title>.
This generates dynamic titles in the following format: Blogname: Title of Post.
To convert to dynamic titles which only show the Title of Post, you can replace the line with
To convert to dynamic titles which display Title of Post: Blogname, replace the line with
<title><$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1"$>: <$MTBlogName$></title>
Or you could choose to create titles that say something like Post Title from Blogname. To do so, replace the line with
<title><$MTEntryTitle remove_html="1"$> from <$MTBlogName$></title>
The examples above should give you an idea of the possibilities. I chose to go with Title of Post: Blogname because it gives search engines and readers the most important info first (the title) but also includes the name of the blog as an orientation for new readers.
- Once you have chosen a format for your titles and altered the code accordingly, copy the new code and paste it into the Template Body field.
- Click Save.
- Select Individual Archives from the drop-down menu labeled Select a Template to Edit: and click "go."
- Click Save. Click Publish and select Publish All Files from the drop-down menu.
Additional Options: If you'd also like to customize the title tags for your index page or archives pages, you can find the necessary code in TypePad's Help section on template modules. There's probably no need to alter the code for your blog's index page, since it automatically displays the title of the blog, but you might want to change the titles on your archive pages. The default setting is Blogname: Category which is how I left mine, but I thought about changing it to read Category from Blogname or Category at Blogname, etc.