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Google Is Rewriting Title Tags: What Does This Mean for SEO?

Search Optimization

Did you know that Google has a new system of generating web page titles to show in the search results?

According to Google’s Danny Sullivan, their system is replacing web page titles with other on-page text that they think best describes what a content is all about, regardless of a user’s query.

As a Miami SEO Company, we understand that you may have a lot of questions in your mind right now, such as:

“Why is Google doing this?”

“Is it something I can opt-out of?”

“How can this update impact my website?”

“Does this mean I don’t have to create unique titles for my pages?”

Worry no more - this post will answer your questions and discuss what you need to know about Google’s new title tag system. Let’s begin!

What Did Google Change?

woman thinking

Before, Google would apply what a user typed in the search box to develop the title of the search result snippets. But now, Google says that it will no longer use a searcher’s query when generating these titles.

Instead, Google has a new system where it makes use of on-page text to produce titles that are much easier to read, more preferable to searchers, and better hints its relevance to a query, specifically text that users can see right away the moment they land on a page.

Why Is Google Rewriting Title Tags in the SERPs?

Google is rewriting title tags in the search engine results pages because it’s not always that a page’s HTML title tag precisely describes what its content is all about.

Sometimes, title tags are either too long, stuffed with keywords, or don’t contain any boilerplate text.

According to Danny Sullivan:

“Overall, our update is designed to produce more readable and accessible titles for pages. In some cases, we may add site names where that is seen as helpful. In other instances, when encountering an extremely long title, we might select the most relevant portion rather than starting at the beginning and truncating more useful parts.”

Does This Mean That Creating Unique Titles Is No Longer Necessary?

Danny Sullivan advises website owners that they should still focus on creating relevant and optimized HTML title tags.

This means that creating unique titles for your pages and optimizing them is still very important. In fact, Sullivan says that original HTML title tags will still be used more than 80% of the time.

So, don’t get complacent and rely on Google to generate highly relevant titles for your web pages.

Google’s New Title Tag System

Lily Ray, the Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital, tweeted Danny Sullivan, asking him how often Google will change its selected title for a page since it’s common for media outlets to alter titles after publishing.

Sullivan responded that Google’s updated title tag system is dynamic. When you modify your page’s HTML title tag, Google will acknowledge these changes and consider them.

However, Google will only display your modified title tag in the SERPs depending on the system’s assessment of the text and if it accurately describes what’s on the page.

Just remember that as long as your title tags are optimized and accurately represent what a searcher will find on the content of your page, Google will not replace your page title.

What Is the Effect of This New Title Tag Update on Websites?

Here are the observed effects of this new update rollout:

  • Some claimed that they lost traffic because Google altered their title tags.
  • Others complained that Google showed the wrong location in the SERPs, leading to users not clicking on their search results.
  • Google also distorted some health-related titles, adding the term “vaccination” even though the content of the page isn’t about vaccination or vaccination for the specific illness discussed on the page
  • Some reported capitalization errors in their search results.

Can You Opt-Out of This Update?

Sullivan said in a thread of tweets that websites cannot opt out of this update. However, he would like to give SEOs some sort of an option when it comes to retaining page titles.

“…I’d love to see us find a mechanism for site owners to very selectively indicate if there are problematic titles. Like perhaps in Search Console, you could say that you wanted an HTML title tag used rather than our automatic choice…”

He proposes a feature in Search Console where you’re able to tell Google not to modify the HTML title tag of specific pages on your site.

What Can You Do About This Update?

young businessman wondering

If you notice Google changing any of your page titles, it’s a sign that those titles didn’t quite reflect the content of your page.

But, if you’re also not satisfied with Google’s modification, you can write a new title tag for your page and possibly have that displayed instead.

As your go-to SEO Company in Miami, we suggest that you do not do any major changes to your HTML title tags and wait for Google’s final announcement about this recent update.

Don’t stress too much if Google changes your title page. Instead, focus on writing optimized and unique HTML titles and follow the tips below:

Keep your title tags at optimal length, which is less than 65 characters. Avoid making them too long or else Google will rewrite your titles.

Also, don’t stuff keywords into your title tags, unless it’s appropriate. If Google sees that your title tag no longer makes sense because of all the unnecessary keywords, the system will alter it.

Avoid using boilerplate text or generic terms, such as “about us” for the “about us” page. Using repetitive language or boilerplate text will get your HTML title tags replaced.

Make sure every page on your site has a title tag, or else Google will generate one for you.

What Does This Mean for SEO?

Considering how recently this title tag update rolled out, it’s difficult to draw any conclusions at this time.

Google is still in the process of refining this update and is accepting feedback.

But, since the goal of this update is to enhance the relevancy of a search result to searchers, you can rest easy knowing that it will likely end up being a good thing for websites. A Google-generated title could be more compelling to click on, helping you generate more traffic and leads.

Do You Need Help Creating Unique Title Tags and Optimized Snippets in Search Results?

Although Google’s generation of page titles and descriptions is completely automated, you still need to create unique title tags for your web pages and optimize them to prevent the system from altering them.

If you saw your CTR rate plummet or your traffic slows down because of this update, don’t fret because Digital Resource can help!

We offer a wide range of SEO services, from pay-per-click advertising solutions to on-page and off-page optimizations, including HTML title tag and snippet optimizations, and beyond. Contact us today to get started!

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