What is the story behind Google SEO title tags being rewritten?
Adjusting title tags isn’t uncommon for Google. In the past, the search engine giant has made small changes as part of A/B testing. In this case, Google has altered titles with different text by replacing it with the web page’s H1 tag.
Experts in the SEO community started noticing this trend in August 2021 and it’s not confined to H1 tags.
There have also been instances of Google changing the page title with anchor text from an internal link and including dates.
Why is this important?
SEO title tags are important for a couple of reasons:
- They provide additional information about a page in SERPs and determine what users read when they click-through
- They determine the relevancy of the web page as a result in a search query and act as a strong ranking factor
Why have Google title tags changed?
In a recent announcement, Google explained the reason for rewriting SEO title tags was “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.”
Another key point from the announcement is Google is putting greater emphasis on “the main visual title or headline shown on a page.” This refers to content placed within H1 tags.
The announcement confirmed what many digital marketers already suspected. Google has made the change to improve the relevancy of certain pages. With an altered title, these pages could become more compelling and give users more of a reason to click-through.
What does this mean for your SEO?
Since the SEO title tags have been made, the general view is that there has been no major changes to search rankings. When Google makes updates of this nature, there can be times when brands are impacted.
According to Google, there has been a positive reaction of searchers finding the new titles to be more accessible. For people who may be questioning the change, Google’s Danny Sullivan has proposed a way to refine the update.
From Sullivan’s perspective, Google could offer an update to Search Console to allow users to indicate when they want to keep a specific page’s HTML title in the SERPs. He went on to say that this feature could be limited to 5 – 10 users per site and have an expiration period to reduce the chances of making a mistake.
At this stage it’s hard to tell what kind of long-term impact the Google title tags change will have. You don’t have to worry about altered title tags effecting your website ranking.
SEO title tags and meta descriptions remain a vital part of your overall SEO strategy. It’s better to focus your energy on adhering to best practices and here are some helpful tips.
SEO title tag and meta descriptions best practices
Title tag techniques
Always stick to the correct length
When thinking about SEO title tag length, remember the sweet spot is between 50 – 60 characters. While Google doesn’t recommend a specific length, sticking to 50 – 60 characters ensures that the full title will be displayed in SERPs and won’t be cut off.
Select the most relevant keywords
Choose the most appropriate keywords to put into your title and always avoid keyword stuffing. If you use the same phrase multiple times in a Google title tag, the search algorithm will penalise you.
Create unique titles
As all your web pages are unique, this should apply to the title tag too. Write titles that differentiate one page from another and try to avoid generic phrases like ‘Home.’
A unique SEO title tag example might be ‘Men’s Clothing | Purchase a wide range of clothes today!’
This title tag has the name of a page and includes a specific call to action (CTA). For a page that has similar products you could use a different CTA .
Meta Description tips
Avoid duplicate copy
When writing a meta description, ensure the text is unique and isn’t copied from the page that you’re writing it for. Duplicate copy will impact search rankings.
Don’t use unnecessary punctuation and symbols
Every character in a meta description is prime real estate. It’s the chance to capture your audience’s attention in the SERPs. Avoid using hyphens, quotations and punctuation that will take up space.
Finish with a strong CTA
It’s good practice to feature a clear CTA at the end of a meta description. This means you’ll be able to direct readers towards clicking through to the page.
Write and test multiple variations
Did you find that certain landing pages performed better than others? Test different variations of meta descriptions to see if they are having an impact on the amount of traffic being brought in.
This could involve using different language, focusing on challenges and benefits, using alternative keywords etc.
Create a strong SEO strategy with Bobble
As a strategic SEO agency in Leeds, Bobble is well-versed in providing SEO services across a range of industries. Whether you need help with creating better SEO titles and meta descriptions or a full keyword strategy, we’ve got you covered.