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Why do we have PlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea and PlaceHolderPageTitle in master page.

What is the difference between the two?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The only difference would be where your master page places them. Out of box master pages usually have the PlaceHolderPageTitle in the head section - title tag.

<head>
   <title><asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitle" runat="server"/></title>
</head>

PlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea is instead used in the title table, so it is inside the actual page body.

<table class="s4-titletable" cellspacing="0">
   <tbody>
      <tr>
         <td class="s4-titlelogo">....</td>
         <td class="s4-titletext">
            ...
            <h2>
            <asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea" runat="server" />
            </h2>
            <div class="s4-pagedescription" tabindex="0" >
               <asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageDescription" runat="server"/>
            </div>
            ...
        </td>
        ....
     </tr>
  </tbody>
</table>
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