Google explains why it made the title change to the search results


Google has confirmed that it not only made a change to what title it shows in the search results but how much of a change it was. In the past few weeks, when Google made the change to using your HTML title tag less often, it said it was using your HTML title tag 80% of the time. Now Google said it is using it 87% of the time, a 7 point increase.

Google wrote “title elements are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before.”

Why the change. Google wrote “we’ve used text beyond title elements in cases where our systems determine the title element might not describe a page as well as it could. Some pages have empty titles. Some use the same titles on every page regardless of the page’s actual content. Some pages have no title elements at all.” Google then listed off reasons why it won’t use your HTML title tag:

  • Half empty titles
  • Obsolete titles
  • Inaccurate titles
  • Micro-boilerplate titles
  • and more.

Guidance. Google also gave some guidance on how to encourage Google to show your HTML titles. Google said “focus on creating great HTML title elements. Those are by far what we use the most,” Google said. Google reshared the help document on titles, that it recommended you read. Google added “consider the examples in this post to understand if you might have similar patterns that could cause our systems to look beyond your title elements. The changes we’ve made are largely designed to help compensate for issues that creators might not realize their titles are having. Making changes may help ensure your title element is again used. That’s really our preference, as well,” Google said.

But Google said it is not done and said “our work to improve titles will continue.”

Why we care. If you noticed changes to your click-through rate from the Google search results, it may be related to these changes. Hopefully, those changes are positive since it is a win-win for Google to provide titles that its searchers want to click on. If not, Google said it will keep making improvements.

About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry’s personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here.



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