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Google refines title tag guidance

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Google has updated Search Central guidelines for managing the display of title tags in search. The update did not change the manual itself, but made it significantly more understandable and eliminated numerous ambiguities in the wording that made it difficult to understand.

Google is changing title tags

Heading tags are metaelements whose purpose is to describe the content of a web page. They are also ranking factors.

For this reason, many publishers use the title tag to indicate which keyword phrases they want a web page to be relevant for.

Google displays title tags on search results pages (SERPs), which makes using key phrases in title tags even more important.

Google has been rewriting title tags for years if its algorithms revealed more descriptive text than the publisher provided.

In the summer of 2021, the title tag rewriting feature in search results skyrocketed, causing concern among publishers and the search marketing community. Many have reported a decrease in search traffic due to Google rewriting their title tags.

One study found that over 61% of search results contained overwritten title tags.

Changes to the title tags guide

On October 08, 2021, Google published a unique guide to managing title tags titled, Control your link titles in search results (Snapshot of the original guide on Archive.org here).

Updated title tag guide changes to clarify what they meant by using “header“.

Word “header” is ambiguous because it can mean either a heading at the top of a web page or a link to an HTML heading element (H1, H2, H3).

As it turns out, the original version of the manual used the word “header” means both a heading at the top of a web page and a link to an HTML heading element (H1, H2, H3, etc.).

Although the heading at the top of the page is usually a heading element, the new version of the manual is more accurate, as shown below.

Here is the original version:

“Explain which heading is the main heading of the page.”

This is the updated version of the guide:

“Explain what text is the main heading of the page.”

Here is an excerpt from the following sentence of the original version:

“…and it can be confusing if multiple headlines have the same visual weight and prominence.”

New updated version:

“…and it can be confusing if multiple headlines have the same visual weight and prominence.”

The original version of the third updated proposal:

“Consider making your main title stand out from other text on the page and stand out as the most visible on the page (for example, using a larger font, placing the title on the first visible element

on the page, etc.).”

Updated version of the same sentence:

“Consider making your main title stand out from the rest of the text on the page and stand out as the most visible on the page (for example, using a larger font, placing the title text in the first visible element

On the page). , etc).”

As you can see, clarification goes a long way in making it easier to understand the purpose of the manual.

The last change concerns the part that describes what Google uses to determine the wording of the title link to display in search results.

This is the original:

“Primary visual title or title displayed on the page”

Updated version:

“The main visual title displayed on the page”

Google Title Tags Guide clarified but not updated

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the manual itself has not changed. What has changed is that the document is less ambiguous and much more understandable.

Read the recently updated rules for using title tags here:

Control your link titles in search results


Featured Image: Eugene Partizan/Shutterstock


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