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SOLVED – Woothemes and Yoast SEO Produce Double Title Separators

NOTE: Many updates to Woothemes themes and the WordPress SEO plugin make it easy to resolve this problem. Go to the WordPress SEO plugin settings > Titles & Meta > then check the “Force Title Rewrites option.
Woothemes makes some amazing themes. It also comes with some basic SEO settings baked in. If you’re looking for something more robust that includes things like XML sitemaps, webmaster verification codes, SEO checking tools, etc… Yoast makes a great plugin called WordPress SEO. Unfortunately they don’t always play nice even if you don’t use the Woothemes SEO functionality.

The Problem

I’ve been having a problem with my titles showing double title separators. For example, the title would look like this: “Sample Post || Sample Website”. If I disabled the Yoast plugin or changed themes, the problem would go away. Woothemes does try to detect a SEO plugin’s existence, but doesn’t seem to work just right yet.

Some people have reported the following 2 things that might fix the problem (but not for me):

  • I did try checking the “Force rewrite titles” box in SEO > Titles. It did make the separator only show once, but then the site name was shown twice now.
  • I also tried checking the “Enable woo_title()” box in the Woothemes SEO settings, but that did nothing.

The Solution

Here’s how I fixed the problem: at the top of SEO > Titles, Yoast makes the suggestion that you need your Header.php to show the following line to work correctly:

<title><?php wp_title(''); ?></title>

I replaced the code below with the code from above in Header.php and bam! The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is now working correctly. WARNING: If you go this route, you must remember that any theme updates will overwrite this new code. Luckily its very simple.