Experts in the SEO industry don’t doubt it: titles are why people click on a Google search result. Moreover, an attractive title can lure many into an utterly unknown website, even leaving trusty ones aside. As this is no mystery, Google puts a lot of effort into providing the best possible titles.
However, users started noticing something weird in recent weeks. Firstly, Google web results started changing their titles. Because of this, SEO insiders began wondering if Google had finally changed the way it generated titles. However, this didn’t remain a mystery for much longer.
Last week, Danny Sullivan, adviser of Google’s search division, confirmed they had a new update to generating web page titles. Throughout this article, we’ll dive deep into how the system works now and how it used to. We’ll also explore how this new change will affect web pages. So, keep on reading to find out more.
How Titles are Generated
Before the update, “titles might change based on the query issued.” However, this will rarely happen with Google’s new update. In contrast, the new update works at producing better titles for documents overall. According to the company, it succeeds in providing a more fit description of what they are about, regardless of the topic.
The new system makes more use of HTML text. Specifically, the new update makes use of the text humans see when they open a web page. It considers the main title, subsequent headings, the document’s content, especially that within H1, and much more. All in all, the new update will base the decision of what the title will be much more like a human would.
Why More Than HTML Title Tags are Used
Even after so many years, people keep wondering why Google doesn’t use the HTML title tag in all cases. There might be a few reasons Google has in mind when it rejects implementing this. This include:
- Many times, they’re very long, which means they won’t fit on the results page or that users might not pay attention to it because of the length;
- They can be completely unreflective of the content of the website, misleading and angering users;
- As web developers want their web page to appear on top of Google search results, HTML titles are often filled with keywords, making it nonsensical and useless;
- Often, websites have no title tags altogether or have generic boilerplate language. For example, every web page calls its home page “Home.” Moreover, many pages in a site might appear as “untitled” or have the site’s name as its own.
All things considered, Google designed the update to generate more easy reading titles for pages. In addition to this, they may incorporate site names in cases where it can be helpful for users. Lastly, if a very long title comes up, the update will try to pick the most relevant content rather than what’s at the beginning of the document.
A Focus on Good HTML Title Tags Remain Valid
While some new tips will eventually come to Google’s help page about titles, the basics will remain exactly the same. Web developers must focus on adding good HTML title tags. There are many ways in which Google generates titles. Nevertheless, 4 out of 5 times, they do so by using content from HTML title tags.
As it happens with any other system, the results, by which we mean the titles, can’t always be perfect. No, even with Google’s immense team and unlimited user data. Because of that, Google’s refining its system taking feedback from users and web developers into account. The company’s confident that they will perfect their title generating system with time.
Can I Opt Out of This Update?
It’s a repeating cycle. Every time a change, especially once we know so little about it, there’s a lot of people who are resilient to it. Google’s new update to generating web page titles isn’t the exception to this rule. Many people in the SEO industry who were used to how the old system worked previously are asking for a way out of this update.
Though it seems unlikely Google will answer positively. This is understandable as they had probably found their way around the old one to get the titles they wanted. Nevertheless, and to many web developer’s dismay, the update isn’t optional. Consequently, there’s no way of securing the title your web page currently has.
However, not all hope is lost. A few days ago, Sullivan commented that “he would like SEOs to have at least some option when it comes to preserving page titles. After his statements, Sullivan went on to explain how Google could achieve this. In his mind, Google’s Search Console could include a particular feature.
This tool would allow SEOs to command Google’s system not to alter the HTML title tag for some pages in particular. Unfortunately, there has still been no official comment regarding this issue on Google’s part.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to the internet, and specifically Google, billions of dollars are at stake. SEOs would do anything to get a perfect formula to rank better among other search results. For this reason, Google’s new update, or any other really, is controversial for many. Websites live and die by the number of people that click on them.
Undoubtedly, any change is frustrating, as it upsets the balance for people who have been studying how to make their website be on the top results. Nevertheless, as we have seen, it appears this one is not the game-changer we initially thought. Only time will tell if the company will consider SEOs or if more undisclosed changes are on their way.