The full names of the second and third games in The Witcher franchise are The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Since we have a 35 character tag limit, we should expand the tags for these to their full names:

With the tag renaming craze that came with longer tags I love to see the names that were shortened to be extended.

But for a game name to include it's subtitle when it's already a numbered entry, I feel like its going overboard?

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    Why do you feel it's going overboard? What's the downside of using the full name of the game, aside from the minor inconvenience of having a meta topic and a one-time rename? – Thunderforge Mar 1 at 2:36
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    Just gut feeling. I dont think I have a logical reason to say its overboard. – Fredy31 Mar 1 at 13:20
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    @Thunderforge But what is the upside of adding the subtitle to the tag? If you are looking for a quest hint or walkthrough. Do you actually google The witcher 2: Assassins of kings or do you just google the witcher 2? – Lyrion Mar 7 at 13:53
  • @Lyrion By having the full name in the tag, Google will be able to direct people who use either the shortened name or the full name to the site. Yes, I agree that the full name is probably used less often, but for the rare situation where it happens, it would be covered. I guess the question is: what's the advantage of keeping the shorter name? – Thunderforge Mar 7 at 14:34
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    @Thunderforge On the SEO front, I've done some checking. Google no longer checks a list of 'meta tags' (to stop sites from tag-spamming), so the only things that matter on SE sites are the Nav Title, The Question Title (added to the nav title), the first tag (appended to the Nav Title), and the meta description (first couple of sentences from the question body). So by extending the tags we'd go from "the witcher 2 - How do I..." to "the witcher 2 assassins of kings - How do I..." In the Nav Title, but otherwise Google should be unaffected. – Robotnik Mar 15 at 23:04
  • @Robotnik Interesting, I appreciate you providing updated information on how SEO worked. How does that influence your opinion on whether or not these tags should be renamed? And will this lead to a precedent for other games named similarly? – Thunderforge Mar 16 at 0:35
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    @Thunderforge I'm of the opinion that we should use the full name for a game tag wherever possible, but I guess my concern is more towards tags that were shortened due to the old 25 char limit. I still have no problem with actioning this rename but I don't have a real stake as to which I prefer in this case. – Robotnik Mar 16 at 1:01
  • @Robotnik I appreciate your humility with not taking a stance when you feel you don’t have a stake. The reason I asked is that you’ve been the only moderator to act on these recent tag renames, so whether it gets renamed or not unfortunately seems to be up to you. This request has been open for a month and frankly I’d like to see a definitive yes or no from you or another mod instead of having it languish for several more months. – Thunderforge Mar 16 at 1:12
  • @Thunderforge - Right now I'd say this is 'contested'. This happens a lot on SE sites, and the default position is to keep things the way they are until there's overwhelming consensus to change it. The proposal is at +9/-3, and an answer saying it's probably overboard is at +5/-1. Two users have explicitly called out their concerns above. If you really want this done my advice would be to seek more input - ask people in chat to weigh in if they have a stake. I'd rather the post 'languish' awaiting more input than have a red tag applied (which has a tendency to stop discussion completely). – Robotnik Mar 16 at 2:08
  • @Robotnik Fair point, thanks for your feedback. – Thunderforge Mar 16 at 2:32
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    On the SEO point, we should also remember that the title is limited in the google search page. Making a longer name would change how much of the question can be seen. Example: the witcher 2 - how do i do things... VS the witcher 2 assassins of kings - how... – Fredy31 Mar 16 at 14:54
  • @Fredy31 - Turns out you were right, the Nav title does get used on Google. I've written up a more in-depth overview of the SEO impact as another answer :) – Robotnik Apr 12 at 6:11

The tag should be expanded to be consistent with other tags on the site

Looking at tags for numbered games, we already are in the habit of using the full name of the game including the subtitle. For instance:

Adding the subtitles for the Witcher games continues this practice that is already established and provides more consistency for the site.

Also, in the rare event that someone does search for the full game name, our results will be more likely to match.

It won't affect SEO

Update: Read Robotnik's far more thorough analysis of SEO. My original answer is below.

As @Robotnik has noted in the comments, SEO will not be affected.

On the SEO front, I've done some checking. Google no longer checks a list of 'meta tags' (to stop sites from tag-spamming), so the only things that matter on SE sites are the Nav Title, The Question Title (added to the nav title), the first tag (appended to the Nav Title), and the meta description (first couple of sentences from the question body).

He clarified as well that, despite initial investigations, it doesn't look like the nav title will be affected either.

When I checked, Google doesn't seem to pull from the nav title for the blue link, they appear to grab the question title instead. So a tag change shouldn't affect that.

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    I've written up a more in-depth overview of the SEO impact for your consideration :) – Robotnik Apr 12 at 6:10

This answer is more to clarify some points that I made in comments regarding SEO and to provide image evidence of what I'm talking about with regards to Page (or 'Nav') Title vs Question Title, what Google uses, what changing a tag will do, and so forth.

For the purposes of example, I'll use this question: So I was out drinking last night...how do I remove a tattoo? - the highest voted question tagged , it has high views as well, making it a prime example.

So here's the page, rendered in a private browser window (Firefox):

Above linked question screenshot

This is the view that every 'drive by' user sees when they visit Arqade (probably with ads though, I left Adblock enabled for this as the ads aren't really relevant to the point at hand).

Page Title vs Question Title:

There are a couple of things to point out here:

Page vs Question Title

As you can see, the Page title is different from the Question title: it contains the first tag on the question, and then the question title. If we view the page's source (i.e. the raw HTML) - we can see the full Page title, which shows that it also appends '- Arqade' to the end of the Page title:

View Source

Side note: Adding the Game's name anywhere in the question will stop it from being also added from the tag, for example:

question with no pre-pended tag

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) is a large topic encompassing many different techniques to improve a site's visibility in search results. A lot of these techniques aren't relevant to us as users of the site (instead, they're relevant to the Stack Exchange Developers!) - but the main 3 areas where we can have an impact on SEO are:

  • Question Titles
  • Tags
  • Question Body

The first two form part of the Page Title - which Google appears to use... sometimes. I have seen evidence of them both pulling and not pulling from the Page title. Google's SEO guide has this to say:

Create good titles and snippets in search results

If your document appears in a search results page, the contents of the title tag may appear in the first line of the results.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide

So the Page title is used by Google, and therefore a Tag change will affect this.

How will a tag change affect rankings?

Here's a few searches showing how the above question ranks:

Search for 'remove tattoo witcher 2' Search for 'How do I remove a tattoo in witcher 2?' Search for 'Witcher 2 remove tattoo'

The search terms is what I would expect people looking for this information would type into Google. For the given searches, it seems to rank somewhere between third and fourth result. If we compare to the other results present - you can see that they generally have the search terms "higher" in the title - whereas for our result, it's cut off.

So in general, If we increase tag lengths, we risk pushing down or 'cutting off' the more relevant words of the title.

For our specific question example, we could potentially:

  • Remove the 'out drinking' portion of the question title, Or
  • Add the game to the end of the question i.e. "...in The Witcher 2?", the tag would be removed from the nav title, and it wouldn't 'push out' the more relevant portion of the question, or
  • We could do both!

That's the thing with SEO, is that it's meant to be a bunch of 'incremental improvements' that add up to our content being easier to find and more accessible.

Conclusions

  • Tag changes affect SEO... for questions that don't already have the name of the game in them.
  • Tag length can mess with results if the question title is long
  • People should append "..in GameName" to their questions if they don't want the tag at the front of the Nav title.

So, should we rename The Witcher tags?

Keeping in mind that tags can affect SEO - I'd still say probably yes. Take a closer look at those search results again - each one except us uses the full game name, either in the title or the description.

I think that having the full game name appear in the Page title would probably end up helping SEO for the majority of questions, even if it does push some more relevant keywords a little further down. That problem should instead be mitigated by ensuring that the question is concise enough, or by putting the game title further down in the question, so the tag doesn't end up at the front in the first place.

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