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Pagetile and Title Element Relationship

The titles that appear in search results are a combination of the article name and the name assigned on MediaWiki:Pagetitle.

Pagetitle sets a portion of the <title> tag that appears in search engine results and in the tab at the top of a browser page. The default for MediaWiki:Pagetitle is the {{SITENAME}} of the community.

The title tag is a statement in the head of an HTML document that helps search engines understand the topic of a page. Concise, accurate titles are critical to both user experience and SEO success, so each page needs a unique title.

On Wikia, MediaWiki markup sets the HTML source code for the page. For example, article page title tags appear in the source code as Pagename plus Pagetitle. The recommended length for a title tag is 50-71 characters since that is the maximum length most search engines show on results pages. Pagetitle can be short and sweet since Pagename contributes more targeted keywords.

It was once a common SEO practice to add top searched keywords or phrases to the title tag to make pages appear more relevant to search bots. Something like: "SEO Wikia - Search Engine Optimization, SEO Rankings, SEO Best Practices." This strategy no longer effective and can look like spam to search engines.

Note that it can take days (or even months) for changes to Pagetitle to show in search engines. Commercial search engines use algorithms to decide which pages to crawl and how often, so the update process is outside of our control.

What to say

For communities that have descriptive names (e.g. "The Pokémon Wiki, Marvel Movies Wiki"), then our recommendation is to leave Pagetitle set to the default.

For communities that have a name based on fan knowledge of the subject (e.g. "Memory Alpha"), consider updating Pagetitle to include the main topic (e.g. "Memory Alpha - Star Trek Wiki") to provide more information to search engines.


How to say it

The <title> tag is controlled by two MediaWiki messages that can be customized by admins of the wikia:

MediaWiki Page Default Message Use
MediaWiki:Pagetitle-view-mainpage {{SITENAME}} applies only to the Main Page of the wikia
MediaWiki:Pagetitle $1 - {{SITENAME}} seen on all pages except the Main Page

The $1 in the regular page title inserts the Pagename of each page automatically. Because the main page is usually either called "Main Page" or SITENAME, it is redundant to include it in the title.


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