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November 15, 2021

Your Questions About Title Tags and Google’s Latest Update Answered Here

Google’s recent page title update has got a lot of people talking – and thinking – about title tags.  Why did Google make changes to their system?  Why are title tags important?  What should I be doing?  Does this update affect my SEO?

This article will answer all those questions plus give you some tips on how to write title tags that Google will love!

Title Tags and Google’s Latest Update Questions Answered

A little Title Tags background

Title tags, also known as page titles and meta titles, are the HTML elements titles of pages which ‘label’ pages for the search engines as well as for actual users in response to a search query.   They’re one of the many factors that Google uses to determine where a page will feature in its search engine pages (SERPs).  

Google is constantly making changes to its algorithm and to its systems in order to improve people’s experience and link them with the most relevant content possible in the fastest time possible.   

This latest move by Google has brought significant change in the way title tags are generated.   In the past, the titles generated by Google’s system varied depending on the search query, but the update means that titles are now produced which describe the actual content of a web page and which will remain unchanged, regardless of the search query.

Many people have asked why Google felt this update was necessary and are keen to understand what it means for their websites in terms of search rankings.  

What Google’s Latest Update means for your website

Millions of webpages don’t have proper title tags.  Others have titles that are just stuffed full of keywords.  Some contain what’s known as ‘boilerplate’ language ie. ‘home’ for a home page, ‘untitled’ for other pages or simply repeated use of the website’s name as the title tag for multiple pages.  Others are just too long.  

None of these titles are of much value to searchers and so it’s completely understandable that Google has decided to rewrite the title tags it is not happy with in order to give users precisely what they’re looking for.

The challenge for website owners is to write title tags that have a positive impact on their SEO and which won’t be edited by Google.   

Any website owner worth their salt wants a title tag that encourages click-throughs.  After all, organic traffic is a key imperative for SEO success and the more compelling and descriptive your title tags, the greater your chances of boosting your click-through-rates.

So what can you do to improve your title tags?  

There’s no guarantee that Google won’t replace what you’ve written, but they’re much more likely to focus their attention on titles that are incomplete, inaccurate, repetitive or outdated.   

Here’s what you can do to increase your chances of preventing your preferred titles from being replaced in the search results.

The first step is to look at the guidelines published by Google.  These give clear recommendations on how to write title tags, which style treatments are best for creating prominent content and how to use <H1> tags and other header tags appropriately.  

Their key points are:

  • Ensure every page has its own title specified in the <title> element
  • Each title should be unique
  • Titles should be descriptive but accurate
  • Don’t repeat text
  • Use keywords sparingly
  • Brand your titles where appropriate by including your brand or company name
  • Use style treatments (like bold text or CAPITALS) to draw attention to text

 

The changes also mean that people will be able to locate special features on webpages (such as images and videos) more easily.

How to add title tags

Most content management systems such as Shopify, Squarespace and Wix have a place where you can add title tags without needing to delve into the coding.  WordPress users will probably be using an SEO plugin such as Yoast, SEOPress or RankMath which will have easy-to-follow pathways for writing/editing titles.   And if you have any issues, there’s always the Google search option which will get you the answers!

A final word on title tags and Google’s recent update

You need to add title tags.  There’s no two ways about it.  Otherwise, Google will write its own ones which may not correlate exactly with what you want.

Title tags are crucial for SEO.  They are an important driver of organic traffic and it’s vital to get them right – and to have a system in place for monitoring and refining them – so that you get the very best outcome.

Title tags are among the key topics covered in my online, self-managed and hands-on SEO course, The SEO School.  This course is designed for website owners and managers looking to implement a successful SEO strategy using tried and tested techniques and tools.  Participants also get loads of insider secrets and tips garnered over my 20-plus years of experience as a Perth digital marketing expert, as well as practical guidance and support for the duration of the course. Find out more or book your course at The SEO School.

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