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Google Title Rewrites - Why Google Is Rewriting Title Tags And What Does This Mean For SEO?

When SEOs around the world discovered Google had rewritten title tags for pages in some search results in August 2021, they panicked.

The H1 tags on these pages appear to have been used as the title by Google.

Google has been very active this summer in terms of core algorithm updates.

SEOs were perplexed by yet another change to monitor between the new core web vital metrics and the GA4 launch.

This trend could be due to Google's history of conducting A/B tests in live search results.

This change hasn't affected all sites, and there's no way of knowing whether it'll last.

However, understanding why Google title rewrites is beneficial.

Understanding Google's rationale for the change of titles in the SERP allows us to prepare for the possibility of this new normal and ensure that our sites, or the sites of our clients, are updated to reflect this new change.

Why Is Google Rewriting Your Title Tags?

A finger using tablet and google on screen
A finger using tablet and google on screen

One of the most common methods for people to decide which search result to click is to look for the most relevant titles that match their search query.

This is why Google strives to provide the best titles possible that accurately describe the contents of the page.

They need to deliver precise results, and they don't want a sloppy title to get in the way of that.

Google has been rewriting page titles in search results for a long time.

However, more aggressive factors have recently been added, necessitating a rewrite.

To put it another way, Google's algorithms will change your title if it isn't up to par.

The rewrite can be anything from a single word to the entire title tag.

Factors For Title Tag Rewrites

Is it possible to prevent Google from making changes?

While there are no guarantees, according to Zyppy, the following title tag scenarios were the most common in a Google title rewrite.

Keep these factors in mind to ensure that your title tags appear as you intended.

Too Long, Too Short Title Length

Title length was the most common reason for a Google rewrite among the 81,000 titles examined.

Titles that were either extremely short or extremely long were rewritten 95% of the time.

This is due to the way titles appear on various devices.

Google sets a limit of 650 pixels for desktop search results and slightly more for mobile search results.

This means that Google will rewrite your title tag if it does not display correctly on certain devices.

It's not uncommon for your title tag to appear differently on mobile than it does on desktop.

Match The Title Tag The H1

Google has stated that HTML elements, particularly any H1 headings, are taken into account when creating a title.

Pages with a matching title and H1 are less likely to be rewritten.

When the title does not match the H1, Google may choose the H1.

This is particularly true if Google considers the title tag to be less important than the H1.

Title Separators

To break up titles, separators are frequently used. A common separator is |:>.

You might not realize it, but Google prefers certain separators over others and is more likely to replace them.

Because it receives the fewest rewrites, the dash "-" appears to be Google's favorite separator.

Only 19.7% of page titles containing a simple dash were rewritten.

After the dash title separators, the pipe "|" came in second.

Avoid Brackets

Who'd have thought Google despises brackets?

Google prefers parenthesis over brackets in addition to separators.

Indeed, 77.6 percent of bracketed titles were rewritten.

Worse, Google removed brackets from titles in 32.9 percent of cases.

In contrast, Google only removed parenthesis 19.7% of the time.

Use The Right Keywords

When writing your title tags, think about keywords that match user search queries.

Google is far more likely to rewrite titles that are irrelevant or vague.

They want titles that are relevant to the content of the page and accurately describe the user's search.

Include keywords that correspond to how users will find your page in search results to ensure your title is relevant.

The Google Search Console Performance Report is a fantastic tool.

This will help you determine the most appropriate keywords for each URL.

What Does This Mean For SEO?

SEO letters where O is in form of magnifying glass
SEO letters where O is in form of magnifying glass

It's difficult to draw any conclusions at this point given how recently this title tag update was implemented.

Google is still fine-tuning this update and would appreciate feedback.

However, because the goal of this update is to improve the relevance of a search result for users, you can be confident that it will benefit websites.

A Google-generated title may be more appealing to click on, resulting in increased traffic and leads.

How Can SEO’s Prepare?

H1 tags have always been important for page optimization, but in the coming months, they will become even more so.

It will be crucial to respond to the question as quickly as possible.

H1s that are optimized and have clear instructions are required.

Because search engines aren't people, SEOs have more control over the narrative than search engines do.

What is this page's main purpose?

If we know what that is, we can put it in the H1 header and paragraph to let search engines know what we're talking about.

Marketers should be aware of the functions of each section of their website, as well as the pages they promote.

It will be crucial to be able to step back and refocus on a page level rather than a keyword ranking level. What is the function of this page? Are we best suited for this purpose? What is the average time it takes to get to the point? Giving the user what they want as soon as possible is critical to success.

Best Practice For Creating Titles

"Add new post" and "Enter title here" screenshot
"Add new post" and "Enter title here" screenshot

Google uses an algorithm to generate alternative titles.

It uses information from the page's content, meta titles, and backlinks to create a title that accurately describes the page.

Despite this, only 13% of posts require alternate titles.

If you include HTML title tags and ensure their accuracy, you can be confident that Google will display your set title.

People Also Ask

What Is Google Title Update?

The new system is designed to deliver titles that are relevant to any query, reducing the chances of a webpage displaying different titles based on search intent.

Google now generates relevant title tags from the text on a page.

How Long Does It Take Google To Update Title Tags?

When Google updates the Meta Title and Description, how long does it take?

Within 7 to 15 days, your meta title and description should be updated.

As a result of various factors, Google may take less or more time.

How Do You Come Up With A Google Title?

Write descriptive and concise text for your title> elements.

Avoid using ambiguous descriptors for your home page or a specific person's profile, such as "Home."

When using long or verbose text in your title> elements, keep in mind that it will most likely be truncated when it appears in search results.

Conclusion

Because no title generation system is perfect, Google is working with website owners and developers to improve theirs.

Meanwhile, Google advises website owners to use best SEO practices when creating title tags.

About The Authors

Matt Robinson

Matt Robinson - Since the late 1990s, I've been helping companies of all kinds flourish online, with a focus on SEO, local search marketing, and blogging/social media. I've worked as a consultant for businesses as large as Target.com and as small as a mom and pop shop selling handmade wooden pens out of their garage. My whole life has been surrounded by small businesses. I like public speaking and am always excited to have the opportunity to teach/train businesses, groups, or people on effective internet marketing strategies and approaches. Since 2004, I've been giving talks at search marketing and social media conferences on a regular basis.

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