As I start to get more active in making edits and discussing things in the heap, I wonder if we have specific guidelines and thoughts on the title of a question?

In this question, we mentioned that we wanted clear titles and it was also mentioned that we shouldn't repeat tags. My question is - should we be a bit -more- specific and include the tag or a portion of the tag where appropriate?

Our first goal, I would imagine, is to be a place for people to ask their DB related questions and get solid answers. With a secondary goal of being a resource for people to learn from already answered questions.

That said, when someone searches for an issue that affects a particular DBMBS they tend to search for that DBMS included in the search string.. From an SEO standpoint, matching the title, the URL slug and content in the page to a search string means a higher page ranking and better hits - better repeat help provided. So in that case having "SQL Server" in a question that really just applies to SQL Server may seem redundant from an organizing and tag perspective, but it actually provides a little "oomph" in search engine ranking, I believe.

What is our official policy on this and what is the guidance for this?

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1 Answer 1

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Nota bene: How do I write a good title?


No, you are not to repeat tags in the title unless it can't be ommitted for clarity. Example follows:

Error during create Oracle Schema: 4312563392934939394020192349502 1

body

tags: oracle oracle-schema

In this case we see that the tags1 are repeated in the question title, but if it merely read:

Error during create: 4312563392934939394020192349502

that would be ridiculous.

And this is just right out:

Oracle: Error during Create Schema: 4312563392934939394020192349502


If the title were:

Right join SQL query not returning what I need, are my complex-joins too complex?

body

tags: sql complex-join query

(to wit: query is a shitty tag, but we digress) then in this case the tags don't need to be in the title, or at least, not so redundantly:

Right join query not returning what I need, are my joins too complex?

See how we haven't lost anything by keeping the tags out of the title?


A little trivia for the curious: The SE Engine includes the tags in the page title and in the sargable parts of the page that crawlers take note of. Therefore, you don't need to include them repeatedly, but do include them for the sake of readability when the title would be useless without them.

Keep in mind that the SE team has already considered all the things you're asking about, and they've spent many many engineering hours ensuring that those features are already taken care of for you so you don't have to.

Apparently you're not in the business of searching google before asking on the Stack Exchange network, but as someone who does do that, I assure you, our google juice is quite high.

And to address an additional point that is likely not known to the general public, but which old stackhands will know:

The primary generation of visitors should be from search results, not from direct traffic. We anticipate that most people will have never heard of the Stack Exchange network and that we will only get new visitors from search engine traffic.

That's why the SE team optimizes for the search engines, even before you.

Therefore, your job is to write good questions, and to provide amazing answers, and to encourage others to do the same. And as a community, we should eliminate broken windows. There's enough new stuff to focus on without those.


Additionally, these are bad titles:

How do I write SQL?

How do I unstick my problem query from the queue?

How do I bandersnatch my gunthernozzle from the heebyjeeby?

and conversely these are good titles:

Tablestructure for fast inserts/deletes with foreign keys

Determining if indexes are redundant

Dynamic change to innodb_flush_log_at_trx_commit


1 I don't care how silly the example is, it works

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I'm a bit confused. The answer to the Nota Bene question you referenced seem to be incongruous with your answer here. Ex: "5. Don't sweat replicating a tag keyword." I am trying hard to strengthen a community by supplying answers to questions, so I use the facility to subscribe to notifications for questions that have certain tags. If a tag is left off because it is mentioned in the title, I would not receive notification, would I? And the tag system uses synonyms, whereas if I were searching in the title, would I not have to search for them individually? –  WarrenT Dec 18 '12 at 6:03
    
Synonyms are only used at the point of application, so I wouldn't worry too much about those. As for "what if the tag is in the title and not in the tags" the answer is "edit any questions you find where a title-keyword would be well served as a tag as well". Note that you don't have to remove the tag from the title, just ensure it is so-tagged as well. Additionally, the NB I linked to is a bit more diatribe than my answer. Mine was given as a sort of lackadaisical airwaving "this works" and the NB was the official network-wide stance for all SE sites. Does that help clear things up? –  jcolebrand Dec 18 '12 at 14:55
    
I hope so ;-) Thanks. –  WarrenT Dec 19 '12 at 12:50

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