In recent months Google has been rewriting Title tags in it’s SERPs at a rate of about 13%, (sometimes up to 20%).
“What the heck!” you say… what does this mean for my website?
Well this is not as bad as you think, the Google algorithm already does this to a certain degree anyway when it finds issues with poorly constructed titles (e.g missing or obsolete titles). Google has shown however that it is taking further steps to make titles more relevant for users.
In other words, if your title doesn’t match the content of the page well, the search result will be manipulated. To do this, the GoogleBOT will determine if your page provides the user with a good outcome. If not it could be forced to:
- automatically include the H1 heading
- substitute the tag with prominent, meaningful text from the page (e.g this could even be a date or product name)
- apply text within links that point to your page
- use in-page anchor text
To ensure better retention of your titles, you should do the following:
- don’t stuff your title tags with too many keywords (this old technique just doesn’t work)
- Don’t make your titles too long (55-65 characters including spaces)
- It must be relevant - a concise title that helps the user interpret what the page is about is now vitally important
- Multiple titles shared throughout your site (avoid a boilerplate approach where all page titles appear to be the same)
All in all, we think Google is taking the right approach. In any business, if you put the customer first they will keep coming back, so finding ways to get a positive search result should pay off for all in the long-term.