In a recent blog post, I looked at Google changing page titles on its search engine results pages (SERPs). Now, Google has given its reasons as to why its algorithm may alter page titles, shedding some light on how webmasters can avoid mistakes and write better ones.
According to new information, there are four main reasons why Google may change your website’s meta title (the title shown on Google search) from your predefined text. These are:
The new system Google is using to rewrite meta titles can detect those that are shorter than the recommended 55-60 characters. Some websites may just have their website/company name set as the meta title, but the new system will now look elsewhere on the page and detect any relevant content that could be added to the meta title, or content that could replace the current meta title.
Sometimes you may find that duplicate meta titles are used across a website. Google will now change these so that they are unique. Alterations can be as minor as changing the year.
Micro-boilerplate titles means that the same title is used for a subset of a page. Google’s system can easily detect these and rewrite them to make them more unique. The following image from Google’s Search Central shows an example of micro-boilerplate titles.
If Google’s systems think the meta title has nothing to do with the content on the page, it may change the title to reflect the content on the page more accurately.
To conclude, in order to avoid your meta titles to be rewritten by Google, the best practice is to make sure they are unique, relevant to the content on the page, and not shorter than the recommended length.
At Engage Web, we offer search engine optimisation (SEO) for businesses, helping them increase traffic through to their website from search engines like Google. To find out more or to discuss our services, get in touch with our friendly team.
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