Your page title (the one you see in the browser bar) is undoubtedly one of your most important sources of SEO keyword juice. Your page title reflects the one true the title of the current page, and it is not easily obscured from search bots, so Google quite naturally lends a lot of weight to it.
Conversely, if you have multiple pages with the same page title, you are making it harder for search engines to distinguish between pages and to figure out for what search terms the page is relevant.
Products with duplicate titles
If you run a webstore that sells multiple versions of the same product, it can be hard to avoid duplicate title tags. For example, a website that sells gem stones may sell multiple blue sapphires. The owner of the website can get more specific, like Australian blue sapphire, but there is a limit to how creative you can get. If you go so far as “The first Australian blue sapphire we found in May 2013”, you are losing sight of the fact that you are trying to accurately describe the contents of the page.
The result? Google Webmaster Tools will tell you off for having duplicate titles:
Your first knee-jerk reaction might be to only let Google index the most recent stone. This will get rid of the duplicate titles indeed, but you lose all autority of the older page. What if somebody has linked to this particular stone in their blog, or on their website? You don’t want to lose this ‘credential’, just to avoid duplicate titles.
The solution in the end is simple, because every one of your products does have something unique to them: the SKU! Adding your product number in your title still doesn’t give you extra unique keywords for your identical products, but it gets rid of the duplicate titles, without sacrificing your backlinks.
tl;dr Adding the SKU to your page title with Yoast WordPress SEO
If you are using Yoast WordPress SEO (which is awesome), this fix will only take 5 minutes. Your WooCommerce SKU is stored in a custom field called
_sku. To add the SKU to your title, go to your SEO Titles & Meta settings and look for the ‘Products’ post type on the Post Types tab.
In the ‘Title template’ add
%%cf__sku%% to display the SKU. If you are not sure where, put it right after
Save your settings, and done. You fixed all your duplicate title tags in hardly a few minutes.