Having a duplicate site title is definitely a deep part of how SEO works, but this is an example of it not working at all.
SEO goes deeper than what you can see sometimes, especially when you find duplicate site titles added to your listings in the search engines and in social sharing. This problem is not easy to find as you cannot really see the second site title on too many of my pages as the search engines only show a certain amount of characters.
Over the years I have seen all sorts of problems arise but this one was just too simple for me to see and I was looking in all the wrong places.
Check out the screenshot below of a listing in the search engines. Ouch!
Also when I went to share my site on Twitter I noticed the duplicate site title there too!
I had to find the answer to this quickly as my rankings were in shatters.
What Caused the Duplicate Site Title?
I Googled this situation and found a common result. The Yoast SEO Plugin. I was shocked. The funny thing is, I use SEOPressor on all of my sites except for this one. I like to experiment and I had seriously forgotten that I had this plugin installed.
So apparently the Yoast SEO plugin had added a site title and so did either my new theme or my previous one. Hmm I had no idea that was going on in the background, causing my website rankings to drop fast.
How Did I Fix the Duplicate Site Title?
1. In the WordPress dashboard, click on appearance, then editor.
2. On the left hand side you will see a list of files. Click on the
header.php file to edit.
3. In that code look for the
<title> tag as shown below. Also look for where it ends and delete it all.
4. Now replace that old code with this below.
<title><?php wp_title(''); ?></title
5. Press save. Now you can see only one title there. See the screenshot below when I tried to share my link on Twitter.
Please note that the search engine results will not show up changed until the search engine bots have crawled your site to see the changes.
I also had to make sure the Yoast plugin rewrite site titles option was not checked!