Setting SEO titles in Jekyll
What titles work best for SEO and for your readers sometimes differ, let's see how we can have the best of both
In Jekyll, a common way to set what goes into the
<title> element is to check for the page title, if there is one use it, if there isn’t use the site-wide title. We write this code like this;
This means if your post was called “My favourite 10 Gems” this is what would come out;
This title makes a lot of sense in the context of your blog. Someone can be reading a list of your articles and know who you are to know it is your favourite ten gems.
In a search engine results page the context is completely lost so the fact they are you’re top ten favourite gems isn’t useful.
We’d like to set a different title, but not impact what we use day-to-day on our site.
How we’ve approached this is to use a custom bit of data in our Front Matter called
seo_title. When set this will be what goes into the title of our page.
The code to accomplish this is only slightly longer than our original:
First we check if
page.seo_title exists, if it does we spit it out, if it doesn’t we check if
page.title exists and spit that out, finally if neither exists we default to the value of
site.title, which will be set in your
You’ll notice we’ve used
page.seo_title != empty, this is because by default if we’re on a page this will return a truthy value, we want to only put out the seo_title if there is an actual value against it.
To set this on your blog post, you add
seo_title: 10 Gems worth checking out in 2019.