Google change standards for TITLEs. read this!

demib
Shopify Partner
123 12 56

Google have over the past few weeks rolled out a new way of generating titles (the clickable link in search results).

The most important changes are:

  • They no longer dynamically insert keywords from searches in the titles
  • They will sometimes use your headlines (H1 or H2) as a title instead of what is in your TITLE-tag
  • They will replace your TITLE-tag if it is:
    • Too long
    • Not unique
    • Not specific enough (and relevant for the content on the page)
    • Use keyword stuffing
    • Are auto generated in a bad way

So what does this mean for you? How should you (now) optimize your TITLEs?

Maybe you are already doing everything perfect. In that case there is no need to change anything. 80% of search results still use the content of TITLE-tags. But moving forward this is what you should do to secure that you always have the best titles in Google Search Results:

  • Make sure all your TITLE-tags are unique
  • Make them very specific and descriptive for each page
  • Do not make them too long (in my experience and tests you are on the safe side if you keep them under 55 characters)
  • Do not repeat your keyword(s) too much (keyword stuffing). It can hurt more than it benefit you
  • If you automate your TITLE-tags with one of the many apps that offer this option you have to make sure they do not appear too identical and auto-generated across your pages.
  • Make sure your primary headline (usually H1) is as close as possible to the wording of your TITLE-tag. This way - if Google chose to use that instead of your TITLE-tag it will still be good (for you)

And remember - optimizing TITLEs have two goals:

  • To make your pages rank better (TITLEs is still an important ranking factor element)
  • To make more people click (your link instead of one of the 10+ others on page 1)
SEO Geek since 1996, consultant author and public speaker. Admin of the Shopify SEO Facebook Group

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Replies 6 (6)
akshay1994
New Member
2 0 0

Hey @demib, thanks for sharing helpful tips regarding the optimization of the title after the update!! I have a little bit of confusion regarding this update but after reading your post I got cleared understanding.

Totally helpful post!!

RedYellowBlue
Tourist
8 0 1

Thanks for the update. Although a side-note from my side. If Google is changing titles, that isn't bad per se.

There are some situations where 'rewriting' the title from Google's side is very obvious (and handy). 

Let's say the title of your page is 'fresh apples'. The first paragraph is about fresh apples in common. After that you will have a few headings/paragraphs combinations like: Red Apples, Green Apples, How to grow your own apples. 

If some body now searches for 'how to grow fresh apples'. It could be that Google will use that heading 'How to grow your own apples' and using the next paragraph as description in the search results. 

This is a situation where google will 'match' the users search query with a specific part of content on a page. The advice to use (nearly the) same headings as titles would be an advice if you want to prevent that Google is rewriting titles. But that wouldn't be mine advice. If you have multiple topics or variations within a topic on your page, make each heading related to the content. In that way Google can optimize/change the user's intent with your content. 

The title of a page should represent the content of the whole page, headings should represent the following paragraphs, just like how you would write a book...  

There is a lot of criticism on the new update. If you see 'bad' examples of title rewrites, please report it to Google in here: https://support.google.com/webmasters/thread/122879386/your-feedback-on-titles-shown-in-search-resul...

Regards Peter (Google Search Gold Expert, https://support.google.com/webmasters/community)

demib
Shopify Partner
123 12 56

Actually with the update Google will no longer inject search queries into titles dynamically. They used to do that on occasions.

The main reason for this change is the fact that many websites do not provide the correct META-data. That has always been one of the challenges for search engines and actually the reason they dropped support of the META-keyword tag many years ago. Studies showed that only a fraction of all websites actually used the META-keyword tags and out the ones that did the far majority used them wrong. So it wasen't reliable data.

We have the same problem with TITLEs, META-descriptions and Schema-data - although not as bad as it was with METAS-keywords. Sometimes the data is just not there, sometimes it's not accurate and sometimes spammy on intent. 

In any case, as a consequence search engines need to validate all META-data. And they do. If it's detected as a spam attempt it may hurt you site but if it is just not Google Google will change it. They did for a long time. The update is just about how they do it.

And for us, as SEO's, it is (off course) important to follow such development closely and understand how they decide what TITLEs to show. I want as much control as always because the fact is that automated systems rarely produce as great titles as I can write.

So my post here was more about how to secure that the titles you want is always (or most of the time) what Google will actually use. My tips above provide a good basis for that. 

SEO Geek since 1996, consultant author and public speaker. Admin of the Shopify SEO Facebook Group

Was your question answered? Kindly mark it as an Accepted Solution 🙂
RedYellowBlue
Tourist
8 0 1

Yeah the main problem is that most 'content creators' or 'webshop owners' are not developers. And most of the time in the past you needed to be a developer to set title and description. Meta keywords was in the very old days. It was ignored by search engines, because crawling content was more representative than relying on keywords of a developer. 

With these title and description updates of google, they try to make titles and descriptions more representative for (parts) of a page. 

Overall your post is good, and good research if you want to have control over your title. My only side note is that people shouldn't bee too strict about this... one character more or less wouldn't be the difference between google changing your title or not. Overall would my advice be: your title should represent the content of the page. Or should communicate what the user can expect to read. 

So thanks again for your post and keeping users aware of keeping attention to their titles and descriptions.

demib
Shopify Partner
123 12 56

Also important to keep in mind that it is still only approx 20% of TITLEs Google change. Most of the times they do use the text in the TITLE tag 🙂

SEO Geek since 1996, consultant author and public speaker. Admin of the Shopify SEO Facebook Group

Was your question answered? Kindly mark it as an Accepted Solution 🙂
Cacavazamento
New Member
2 0 0

Ótima dica, meu site de caça vazamento Dificilmente fica com título curto, mas vou tentar. Obrigado