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Google Title Tag Update: All You Need to Know

Stay updated on Google’s title tag algorithms. Emphasize user relevance and clarity. Craft concise, keyword-rich titles to enhance SEO, ensuring improved visibility and user appeal in search results.

Home / Blogs / Google Title Tag Update: All You Need to Know
Raghav Tayal

Head Of Operations - Digital Web Solutions

February 5, 2024

If you haven’t heard, Google has recently implemented a significant change in how it showcases web page titles. This update grants Google the ability to modify a webpage’s title if it doesn’t align with certain guidelines. Understandably, this development has raised concerns among website owners. Let’s delve into the details of this update to gain a comprehensive understanding of its implications and explore strategies for web owners to adapt to these changes effectively.

Google’s Title Change

A title tag is an HTML element that defines the title of a web page. It appears in the browser’s title bar, and it is crucial for SEO because it provides a concise description of the page’s content.

Since a web page’s title is crucial for a website’s SEO, the new Google update aims to optimize it. Website owners or their content teams earlier used to generate title tags. However, after the new algorithm update, Google started rewriting title tags to align them more closely with the website content.

According to Google’s Danny Sullivan, Search Liaison, the primary intention of this update is to make titles more readable. In many cases, Google may also snip off long titles and add a few parts from the original version to make it easier for readers to understand. Overall, the main reason for this update is to provide relevant content to the users based on their search intent.

Why Is Google Changing Title Tags?

There are numerous reasons why Google may change your title tag. If you want to display your title on the search engine results page, you must be aware of the reasons:

Length:

The first reason Google may change your title is that it exceeds 60 characters. According to Google, any title that exceeds 60 characters is too lengthy. In this case, Google automatically cuts the extra characters in your title tag.

On the other hand, if your title is too short, meaning it is below 50 characters, Google will automatically rewrite it to make it informative. In both cases, you lose the chance to display your title to your target audience, and the entire power of how your title is displayed lies in the hands of Google. Therefore, ensure that your title is above 50 characters and below 60 characters.

Special Characters:

Google doesn’t appreciate special characters such as brackets or parentheses in titles. If your title has a bracket, Google will probably remove it along with any words within.

The same happens with parentheses as well. Around 61% of the time, Google removes parentheses from the titles. Therefore, avoiding special characters when crafting a title is a good practice.

Title Separators:

As per the new Google update, using title separators such as dash, colons, and pipes is not a good practice. Google removes pipes from the title tag around 42% of the time, and dashes get removed around 20%. Therefore, try to avoid them as much as possible.

Additional Factors:

Google always aims to give its users accurate results for their search queries. Therefore, numerous additional factors may lead to Google changing your title tag along with the abovementioned reasons to ensure a good user experience, such as:

  • Keyword stuffing
  • Matching content to search queries
  • Duplicate title tags
  • Unnecessary brand names

How Does the Google Title Update Affect Your SEO?

The Google title update can affect your SEO in various ways:

SERP Rankings:

While a title update by Google is meant to improve your search engine rankings, it can also result in the opposite. It may impact your SEO strategies, and you may lose your ranking in search engines due to the update.

Click-Through Rates:

An optimized title by Google may also improve your website’s click-through rates, increasing traffic and ranking.

User Experience:

The Google update is aimed at improving the user experience of your website. Hence, the new update will show more accurate search results to your target audience and improve the overall experience of your website visitors.

How To Stay on Top of the Title Changes

Google updates your title to improve user experience and provide the most accurate information to search queries. However, if you want the original version of your title to be displayed on search engine results pages, here are some guidelines:

Keep it Short:

Even with a perfectly written title, if it is too long, i.e., it exceeds 60 characters, chances are Google will cut it short. It is best to keep the title between 50 to 60 characters. Keep your title crisp, clear, and concise, and avoid unnecessary phrases in your title. You also use Rank Watch’s meta tag analyzer to determine if you meet the guidelines set by the Google update.

Brand your Titles:

Adding your brand name is another practice to help you effectively deal with the Google title change update. However, remember that you must be mindful of adding your brand name in the title, meaning that you must use it only when it is necessary and doesn’t look forced.

Highlight Page Content:

Your title should be relevant and highlight the content on your web page. It should clearly indicate what your content is about so that the search engines can accurately understand and rank your page.

Use Different H1 Tags:

A mistake the website owners make is adding identical H1 tags to all their pages. Similar H1 tags will make it harder for Google to differentiate between the content on the web pages, which may lead to your web pages not getting ranked. It is best to have different title tags to help Google distinguish between the content on each page.

Over-optimization and Keyword Stuffing:

While you must optimize your title and add relevant keywords to make it stand out, don’t overdo it. You must focus on adding one or two keywords within the 50-60-character limit. Moreover, ensure that the keywords you are adding look natural and don’t impact the readability of the title.

Ignoring Branding and Unique Selling Points:

Every brand has unique selling points; adding them to your title will help improve your brand awareness and search engine rankings. Moreover, including your USP will make you stand out from your competitors and increase the chances of your title getting displayed on search engines.

Skipping Targeted or Engaging Titles:

Your title should be clear and concise. But at the same time, it also needs to be engaging to encourage your target audience to click on your website. You must closely study your audience to understand their preferences and frame titles that are clear, relevant, and grab your audience’s interest.

How Google’s Title Tag Update Hints at the Future of Meta Tags

On average, the Google search algorithm changes 500 to 600 times a year. Therefore, it is likely that Google search algorithms on title tags will also evolve. The main purpose of these updates is to improve user experience and to provide them with the most relevant and accurate search results based on their search intent.

Website owners must be well informed about these updates to stay on top of their game. Following the guidelines mentioned above, they can strategically tackle these changes and improve their website’s search engine ranking and overall presence.

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