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I have an online classifieds website where posts (items) are classified into 4 categories, such as "life style", "buy and sell", "Moms to moms" and "jobs". At the front page all the recent items are listed and clicking on each item will take to the page of that item. In the item page at the top the title of that post (item) is displayed.

Was wondering if adding (concatenating) the category name to the begining of the item title would make a better SEO ranking for that page. For example, can we say

Life style: Drinking a cup of coffee a day would lower the risk of …

will have better SEO ranking compared to

Drinking a cup of coffee a day would lower the risk of …

?

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No, this wouldn't be recommended or beneficial in terms of SEO.

Search engines need it quite clear that one page is the single most important page for ranking for terms X, Y and Z. If you start duplicating category names in the page titles for product pages, this essentially dilutes the relevancy for those category terms on the category pages.

I.e - the 'life style' category would be hindered in terms of ranking for say 'life style products' (obviously this is purely an example as we don't know what is on your website or what products/categories it lists).

Product pages should be intended to rank for terms relating to that specific product. Page titles, metadata, page copy, imagery etc on that page, should purely be about that product.

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Update: This question was originally about links and not titles- the answer is the same.

Only if "life style", "buy and sell", "Moms to moms", and "jobs" are important keywords for the pages you are linking to. Yes. I said the pages you are link to! Not the site. It can dilute the potential of each page. For example, if a page is about meat-loaf (bare with me) and the link has "moms to moms" the link will effect the keyword weight of the post even if the post is about meat-loaf and has no content referring to "moms to moms". The link would be misleading.

What this will effect is the keyword list that Google Webmaster Tools creates which may not be keywords by which your content is found. In fact, it is a very misleading list and should only be used as a loose check-up and not a guide. I find keywords in this list that do not apply to search performance at all. In fact, there are only a handful of keywords in this list that are actual keywords by which my content is found.

Keyword loading is no longer a concept that anyone should follow. Drop it from your mind entirely. Each page must perform on it's own and not the site. The site will follow the natural performance of the pages and not the other way around.

From my SEO mind, I would not do this. I would rather have the links perform on their own merit and not try and manipulate how the page should be found simply because how the page should be found is based upon the content and not by the link. Yes the link is important, but be natural and do what is right for the user. If you feel this helps the user, then okay- do it. But if it adds not value for the user, then don't do it. Create your site for people and not machines.

What may not know is that Google has been a semantic search engine beginning in 2008. This means that it is the language and content that matters and not the HTML formatting. Of course HTML formatting is important too, but Google is no-longer looking to HTML elements except the title tag and links for clues to the topic. If these elements do not jive (match) with the content, then Google will simply ignore them when placing your content in the SERPs.

As well, I suspect that your list are not how people are going to find your content. Where your list can be used best is in the URL, sub-topic links, and in tags. Organize your site how you will using hierarchical linking and directory (even pseudo [virtual]) structure. Use bread-crumbs. Do these things and you will be okay. But do not keyword load anything. Create the site for your users and make sure it can be crawled by search engines. Everything will work okay. Honest.

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