Google revealed that they have changed how titles are created for search result listings. It was only last week that Google launched a new system of generating titles for web pages. Earlier, Google used the query keyed into the search box when creating the titles. Now, Google will no longer use the same query to create web page titles. Generally, it describes what the page is about irrespective of the particular query. It is usually the content that is placed in <H1> tags, within other header tags. Moreover, it is enlarged and highlighted through the use of style treatments.
Title tags are still relevant for a majority of web pages. Google confirmed that around eighty percent of the results will have the usual HTML title tags. HTML title tags are most commonly used as per Google. Why is Google changing the title tags? Google announced that this update is meant to provide readable and accessible page titles. In some instances, Google may include website names where it is helpful. In other cases, when coming across a lengthy title, Google picks the most relevant part of the title.
Google Algorithm Updates 2021:
Earlier in June 2021, we published an article on Core Web Vitals – which was a comprehensive guide to create a better user experience.
What is Google’s Web Page Title Update?
Google is now informing the general public “How They Generate Titles”. This is actually phenomenal, but we may need to work on a few things. This will be used mostly for On-Page content. Google’s Danny Sullivan posted on Google Search Central saying: “Last week, we introduced a new system of generating titles for web pages. Before this, titles might change based on the query issued. This generally will no longer happen with our new system. This is because we think our new system is producing titles that work better for documents overall, to describe what they are about, regardless of the particular query”.
As it was noticed in live search engine results, Google’s new method for creating web page titles has been thoroughly documented. Earlier, the Meta Titles of a page would change depending on the keyword searched by the user. This won’t be happening going forward. Google’s new algorithm will fetch and create titles from the content it feels relevant to the user. Essentially, Google is making use of text that users can see when they visit a web page like H1.
You might have a question, why does Google search for the title in the content when there is a title provided already? This is because title tags do not always describe the page. The title can be too long, keyword stuffed or a boilerplate. Google recommends you to create exceptional HTML title tags. Out of all the ways used to create titles, content from HTML title tags is most likely used by Google.
How title tag update has caused fluctuations in website traffic & conversions?
Now, let us find out how the title tag update has caused a disruption in website traffic and conversions.
Google is not displaying publisher title tags for around twenty percent of search results. This is also known as SERP and SEO specialists around the world are not happy with this update from Google. It stems from the fact that these websites have started losing traffic due to poorly written titles in the SERPs.
1. Google Title Tag Update Fatality
Popular search marketer Lily Ray tweeted about a fatality due to Google’s update. She remarked that clicks decreased by more than 60,000 in the last week or so. Interestingly, the website did not lose ranking and the position too remained the same. This means the website lost traffic due to Google’s title tag update. She termed the whole phenomenon as Google Titlepocalypse.
2. Incorrect Location in Title Tag
Tons of complaints have been registered against the title tag update. So, Google began a Webmaster Help Forum thread where users can discuss bad title tags in SERPs. A business owner with a local site remarked that Google was rewriting title tags and using the incorrect location. It is not good to have an incorrect location in the SERP title. This is because a user will not click on the result when it shows a location that is not the one they are looking for. The discussion forum states: “Hello, the latest change to titles is not properly representing the ‘brand attribute’ of the title. You are appending – AAA Northern California regardless of the location of the search. This business operates in multiple states outside of the Northern California region. CTR has dropped significantly in these instances.”
3. Google Skips Health Related Titles
If there is one thing where Google erred the most is the implementation in Healthcare. The Title Tag update has seen the worst implementation which is worrisome. Google is including the word “vaccination” in the title for pages that are around a disease but not about the vaccination for the illness.
4. Capitalization Mistakes
Search marketer Jennifer Slegg too tweeted about the search engine adding the incorrect capitalization in the SERP titles. This results in a weird looking sentence with lowercase words merged with upper case words.
We checked the code of the web page and the combination of lowercase and upper case in the title doesn’t exist on the page. The weird looking appearance of the title in the search results is all thanks to Google’s faulty algorithm.
Tips to Optimize Web pages as per this update:
Titles are important to provide users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it is relevant to the user. It is always the main piece of information used to decide which result to click on. Hence, it is crucial to create quality titles on your web pages. Some important tips to manage your titles:
- As mentioned above, ensure each page on the website has a particular title mentioned in the <title> tag.
- Create descriptive and precise page titles. Avoid unclear descriptors like “Home” for your home page, or “Profile” for a particular user’s profile. It is best to avoid long titles, which might get shortened in the search results.
- Try to avoid keyword stuffing. At times, it is better to have particular keywords in the title. However, there is no reason why the same words should appear multiple times. A title like “Web development, web development company” etc. doesn’t help the user. It is also known as keyword stuffing. This can make your results look spammy to Google and to users.
- Best to avoid repeated titles. It is crucial to have different, descriptive titles for each page on your website. Giving a title “Best products for Sale”, on an e-commerce website doesn’t help differentiate pages on the website. Even long titles are bad for the website. The ideal option is to use a concise title and use the meta description to depict your website’s content.
- Brand your titles, but keep it minimal. Your website’s home page is the perfect place to add some additional content about your website. For example,, “ExampleDatingSite, a perfect place for single moms”. Though displaying the text in the title of every single page on your website affects readability and will look repetitive if several pages on your website are displayed for the same query. So, it is best to include your site name at the beginning or end of each page title, separated from the rest of the title with a delimiter like a hyphen, colon, or pipe etc.
There are various issues reported by the marketing and SEO community that it is possible that the Title tag algorithm update was not comprehensively tested. Google has hundreds of search quality ratings. You would feel that some of these mistakes might have been avoided especially in the health and safety sector. If you need further help understanding Google updates, you can get in touch with Nimblechapps,a professional SEO company in India.
Nisarg is the Business Development Manager at Nimblechapps, a top mobile game development company and has been with the organisation since its inception in 2014. He likes to update his knowledge on changing trends in technology and marketing and pens his thoughts regarding the same on various blogs and LinkedIn.