In August 2021, Google confirmed an update on the code that creates titles for web pages. The first people to notice were Search Engine Optimisation experts who reported new title tag rewrites displayed in the SERPs.
Multiple tweets confirmed the significant change, pointing out the title rewrites.
In some cases, Google overrides HTML title tags and makes minor changes, including the business’s name at the end.
The new method overrides titles, rewriting them in different words, and swapping the text with the H1 tag or anchor text sourced from a link within the page.
Previously, website owners could manage the way their page titles appear in search engine results. The new update helps to ensure that the titles displayed on the search results are more accurate, accessible, and readable.
Google’s Explanation of Why This Change Happened
If you know how Google comes up with titles, you’ll be able to customize the title tags and Meta descriptions in a way that helps potential visitors find your content easily. Optimizing a page’s URL for Google increases the chances of the page getting displayed on search engines.
Google uses title tags, keywords, and Meta descriptions to determine a website’s quality. Some search engines don’t differentiate between descriptions and title tags. This creates a challenge as you may find the keywords displayed on the Google title tag are missing from the Meta description or the other way round.
What are the New Changes that Google Made?
Previously, Google relied on Meta tags and general information to select the title tags that are most relevant to the search query. By design, the new method generates titles suitable for any question by picking text from the page’s content. It minimizes the chances that the webpage will show headlines that are different from the search context.
According to Google, the new system uses text that’s visible from the website. It uses style treatments that consider the main headline, content under <H1> tags, or enlarged, prominent text. It sometimes also uses anchor text from links that direct the user to the relevant pages.
How the New Method Works
The new system selects actual content from a page to describe it, changing how websites get ranked. It focuses on the website’s relevance to the search query.
When a user searches a particular term, Google evaluates the quality of answers available on websites. It considers the website’s technical quality, architecture, and third-party links to show the most relevant results.
How Google’s Title Rewrites Impact Organic Traffic
Changing title tags could potentially affect page rankings. However, this only applies if the changes are directly on the website.
Although the rewritten title tags don’t consider search engine results page (SERP) rankings, they can affect the click-through rates (CTR). For instance, Google can replace the title tag with content irrelevant to the page’s context. It will result in visitors scrolling past the results, which causes the CTR to drop.
How to Avoid Title Tag Rewrites
Although Google’s title tag generator is the default, it’s possible to prevent title tag rewrites.
Some examples include:
Ensuring Title Tags Are Short
If the HTML title tags are long, Google will most likely rewrite the titles. Aim to have only 65 characters or less.
Avoiding Keyword Stuffing
It’s best to add keywords to title tags when it’s necessary. Having too many keywords on title tags to improve rankings will have the opposite effect, as Google will skip your HTML title tag.
Using Non-repetitive Language
Avoid using generic title tags as the new system will automatically modify the language.
Including a Title Tag at All Times
If a page has no title tag, Google will create one. To avoid this, ensure that all pages have title tags.
How to Optimize the New Title Generation
- Include keywords in new titles to motivate users to click on your link. Google confirmed an algorithm update that prioritizes titles with keywords.
- Ensure that your page titles are precise and have a description
- Avoid using boilerplate titles or standards. Common texts used repetitively
- Brand your headings and add a delimiter to prove originality
Initially, the new title tag generator had some issues, but Google continues reviewing the feedback and will keep making changes for better results. Instead of implementing significant changes on HTML title tags on your website, experts advise using strategies that curb rewrites.
Google will keep using title tags to rank pages despite the changes in the SERP. It’s therefore essential to monitor organic CTR to ensure any rewrites have no negative impact on the click-through performance.
The change is there to enhance the user experience in search engine results. It’s essential to note that the title tag rewrites don’t undermine the value of title tags on your SEO strategy. They highlight the title tags that need improvement for better performance in search engines.
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.