SEOs Share Their Observations On Title Rewrites From Google
In August, Google introduced a new way of generating title links for Google SEO content. The company stated that their new system generates more appropriate titles for SEO content as a whole to explain what they are about regardless of the user’s specific query.
However, many SEO agencies and online businesses provided numerous examples of titles that failed to explain what their respective pages were about. Not only that, but people also think that the rewritten title tags were confusing and might dissuade visitors from clicking through. Fortunately, things have improved since then, but putting faith in Google’s new system may result in giving up control over a crucial aspect of a site’s content, which could harm one’s SEO.
Below is a synopsis of how Google’s title updates have evolved. It also includes knowing whether or not a website’s titles have been changed and what to do to reclaim control over them.
Title Changes: Before And After
Google has actually been modifying title links for a long time now. The company stated that it might adjust a title to match the searcher’s query (to some extent) in 2014. This is an essential point because Google would refer to these old practices later as a guide for its new title rewrite update — a justification that some online businesses and publishers found deceptive given that the impact and magnitude of the changes contrast sharply.
According to an SEO, they rarely come across examples of significantly worse rewrites for large-scale sites that they’ve done in-depth audits for. It wasn’t initially the case for about a month after the update, but Google appears to have since adjusted the knob and made the change function as intended. Many other SEOs reported similar situations.
SEOs touted the many instances of poorly rewritten titles in the search results following the new title update’s release in August. According to their tweet, many of the title rewrites appeared to make sense, and they were unlikely to impact performance. However, there were also far too many cases of title rewrites gone wrong.
Some SEOs were concerned that title modifications would be inaccurate, or simply worse than the original tag. While the titles themselves do not affect rankings, they may influence clickthrough rates (CTR), impacting company KPIs like revenue. As a result of Google’s bungled rollout of title updates, some SEOs urged for the option to opt out.
Danny Sullivan, a Google Search public liaison, also called for a similar function. He stated that he wanted Google to use whatever title he gave it. Google replied that the need to be creative is particularly important in situations where individuals have failed to supply titles. In the past, he has argued that as a solution, Google should provide site owners with an option where they can state that they only want their original page titles to be used.
The Nature Of Google’s Title Rewrites
It seems Google was truncating some article headlines in odd ways that altered the meaning of the title. The punctuation, such as dashes and quotation marks, caused the title to break early in other situations. The search engine occasionally used words from the Google SEO content itself or anchor text to display as a headline, which was sometimes taken out of context and misrepresented the full page material.
According to SEOs, Google has a particular dislike for obvious branding. They also observed that the search engine tended to remove the pipe symbol.
Google has since enhanced its title rewriting system. SEOs have gathered various title modifications that may still be found in search results and took note of some of the changes. Here are some of their observations:
- There were a lot of title rewrites where the site name with a hyphen was included, even though the name wasn’t originally in the <title> tag. And there were other situations where the vertical bar with the site name was changed to a hyphen. Most SEOs, however, still prefer the vertical bar after the update.
- Long title tags that result in truncation are simplified at significant parts of the snippet. One particular example had an entire section of the title link removed, with the site name then inserted after a hyphen.
- For some SEOs, a complete overhaul was uncommon, but there were rare instances where Google took the title link out and replaced it with another one. In some titles, the H1 was used to replace what had previously been written in the title tag.
Google has since improved its title rewrites. Sullivan put out a post defending the company’s decision after the SEO industry slammed it. After that, Google released additional guidance on controlling titles and descriptions in Search several weeks later. Just as crucial is the fact that Google’s justifications appear to have led to improvements in its title change algorithm.
Fortunately, many people offered suggestions and examples to Google, convincing them that the title rewrite system still needed to be improved. Since then, it’s evident that Google has made various improvements to the title overwrites and even restored many of the most egregious offenders to their original <title> tag.
Some SEOs noticed that their clients’ title tags were altered by 5% or more without causing any significant changes to their CTR. They saw it drop to 2% just before the Google announcement of rollbacks. The client worried about a few high-traffic terms, but those have now been rolled back.
Improve Your Title Tags With Position1SEO
Google continues to launch new updates, like the recent Title Rewrite update. However, the SEO community must still strive to write relevant and unique title tags and meta descriptions instead of relying on the new update.
We use white-hat tactics to achieve our clients’ goals without resorting to black-hat strategies that result in Google penalties. Position1SEO also combines years of experience and a no-stone-unturned approach to ensure that every aspect of your website is fully optimised for the search engine results pages.