Google’s Title Tag Rewrites: What It Means for Your Website

In August 2021, Google introduced a new system to generate webpage titles.

For over a decade, Google rewrote tags by making minor edits, such as adding a business name at the end of titles in its results. This time around, they’re testing a new system of rewriting title tags by replacing the text with information from the webpage.

In this article, you’ll learn:

Why Google Changes Titles in Search Results

Types of Title Tags that Google Changes

Best Practices for Creating Titles

Final Thoughts – Google Rewrites Title Tags in Search Engine Results

Why Google Changes Titles in Search Results

Google changes the titles to improve the click-through rate. Instead of showing webpages with titles of Homeand Untitled, it tries to show meaningful and relevant titles.

With Google’s new system, it finds an alternative title from a webpage to describe the relevance of a result. Using relevant alternative text, Google helps its users find the information they are looking for, increasing their chances of clicking the result.

Types of Title Tags that Google Changes

Google uses HTML title tags 87% of the time. It’s the remaining 13% webpages that require alternative titles.

Here are the title tags that will benefit from this Google update.

Half-empty Titles

Large websites use a template of [Summary | Website Name] for their titles. If they miss the summary, you see webpages with title tags like:

| Website Name

Google’s systems detect such titles and adjust them by looking at headers and other content to produce a more descriptive title tag such as:

Product Name | Website Name

Obsolete Titles

Several websites have webpages with recurring time-sensitive information. If the website owner updates such a webpage’s content without editing the title, the title is considered obsolete. For example:

2020 Admissions Criteria | ABC University

If Google detects that the content has been updated and the title tag has been missed, it automatically corrects it to read:

2021 Admissions Criteria | ABC University

Inaccurate Titles

Sometimes, titles don’t reflect what the page is about. For example, a page with dynamic content may have a title like:

Coats and jackets, yellow blazer, brown pea coat | Website Name

Due to dynamic content, the webpage might not mention the yellow blazer in the future — which will be misleading. Google’s new system adjusts the title to ensure that the Google searchers see what they expect from the title.

For example, Google will change the above title to:

Coats and jackets | Website Name

Micro-boilerplate Titles

In micro-boilerplate titles, the same title tag is used for the webpage and its subpages. For example, in a discussion forum, usually the TV show and its various seasons have the same title tag:

My TV show

My TV show

My TV show

You can’t decide on a search result without opening it. Google detects this and makes the title tag more helpful by analyzing the content:

Season 1 – My TV show

Season 2 – My TV show

Season 3 – My TV show

You can use these tools to check if Google changed your title tags in the search engine result pages (SERPs).

Best Practices for Creating Titles

Google uses an automated process to create alternative titles. It takes information from the page’s content, meta titles, and backlinks to develop a title that accurately describes the page.

Still, only 13% of posts require alternative titles. If you already include HTML title tags and ensure their accuracy, you can rest assured that Google will show your set title.

You can ensure the quality of your pages’ titles by following these best practices:

  1. Make sure every page has a title tag.
  2. Create descriptive titles. Titles are critical to your webpage and SERPs – they provide quick insight and show whether or not the page is relevant to a user’s query.
  3. Write concise titles. Google tends to shorten long titles to improve readability.
  4. Avoid repetitive boilerplate titles. Give distinctive title tags to pages on your website.
  5. Avoid keyword stuffing. It looks spammy and low-effort to Google and users.

Final Thoughts – Google Rewrites Title Tags in Search Engine Results

Google admits that no system for producing titles will be perfect, so they are working with website owners and developers to refine their system. In the meantime, Google advises website owners to follow the best SEO practices for creating title tags.

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Tiffani Anderson
Tiffani Anderson |

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