Correct Way to Manage Title Tags in WordPress

The title tag is a very important feature of any website. It is displayed at the top of browser tabs and also read by search engines. So, it should be clear to read as well as SEO friendly.

WordPress is so powerful that it has customization options for almost anything in its structure. The title tag is no exception to this. However, while creating a WordPress theme, what is the best way to generate or modify title tags?

The earlier method was to include title tag in WordPress head using wp_title() function. But this method was supposed to be deprecated in WordPress version 4.4, but was kept for backward compatibility.

So, you should not use wp_title() as sooner or later it will be deprecated and removed.

Starting WordPress version 4.1, the recommended way to add title tag is to declare ‘title-tag’ compatibility in the theme itself. You can do this using the following code snippet.

add_theme_support( 'title-tag' );

This code will ensure that title tags are automatically added to the head of all HTML pages (posts, pages, archives, etc.). The format of the title tag is also automatically decided by WordPress. Here is the default structure of the title tags based on the current page-

Home Page- <Site Name><Separator><Site Tagline>

Posts- <Post Title><Separator><Site Name>

Pages- <Page Title><Separator><Site Name>

Archives- <Archive Title><Separator><Site Name>

And similarly all other WordPress generated pages will get automatic title tags.

The values of Site Name and Site Tagline are those which we define in Settings > General.

You can add theme support directly in the theme if you are creating one. Or, you can create a child theme and add this code in its functions.php file.

If you are declaring theme support in a plugin, then use the action hook after_setup_theme to ensure that theme support is added once all the plugins and themes are loaded.

If you are undecided about where to add your code, I have a very good article about where to add custom code in WordPress.

Now, this structure is perfect for most websites and good for SEO. However, in certain scenarios, we may need to modify the title tag.

To do that, WordPress has a filter hook document_title_parts using which we can hook into the title tag generating function and modify it dynamically.

Following is an example snippet of code to do that-

add_filter( 'document_title_parts', 'modify_title_on_home_page' );
function modify_title_on_home_page( $title_array ) {
    $title_array ['title'] = 'Modified Page Title';

This code modifies the page title on the home page of a WordPress website.

The document_title_parts filter passes an array containing the title of the current page, page number (in case of paginated pages), site tagline, and site title/name which we can modify and return back.

And that’s it. You are now ready to utilize the power of WordPress to manage the title tags efficiently.

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