This is more like a reminder to me then an advice for others to follow. It reminds me that I should stop playing with page titles and get them right from the beginning.
WordPress default post titles
When I first started this blog using wordpress the default template had something like "Patchlog ›› Blog Archive ›› Post name" for the post titles.
That's really not good for search engines. Having that "Patchlog ›› Blog Archive" in front of every post title is looking like all posts have the same title to a search engine because they only consider a small number of characters from the title when they index your pages, and because the part that makes them different is in the end it may not be considered or may not show up in results.
The first change and the imediat result
By the time I finally decided to change this, google had already indexed all my pages with the wrong titles. After I changed it google started to re-index everything because it thought that everything changed ( see how important the page title is ? 🙂 )
That was all fine but because it started to re-index my posts were not showing anymore in google results for relevant keywords until it finished the re-index.So during that time the traffic decreased till my posts were back in it's database with the new titles.
The second change
The only problem is that I did not get the page titles right so I had to change them again after the site was already re-indexed and I'm back in the dark on google.
Take for example my post about making squid 2.6 transparent proxy to work if you are used to squid 2.5 config. That post got more then 400 visits from people searching for squid 2.6 transparent or phrases containing squid 2.6 or transparent or proxy last month. This month got around 100 and I think that was in the beginning of the month before I did the second round of changes to my page titles because I did not notice any increase on those numbers in the last week.
So if you want to change something as important as your page / post titles and you know it will affect all the pages on your site, think twice before applying the changes to make sure you get it right the first time.