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Why Google is Rewriting Title Tags

by Ellie Cregg | 01.09.2021

SEO professionals have noticed something different about the SERPs in recent days: Google is rewriting title tags. Considering that many SEO experts place high importance on creating title tags optimised for search engines, this update is interesting. Find out more below.

The SEO value of title tags

From an SEO perspective, [meta] title tags are one of the most important ways of helping Google (and search engine users) to understand the content of a webpage. That’s why SEO professionals will often write their title tags to be an optimal length and format [OW2] of between 50-60 characters when displayed in SERPs. However, Google has previously stated that this industry standard was externally created, and not one of their own recommendations.

What has changed following the title tag update?

Recently, Google has started rewriting the title tags on some pages, replacing it with other relevant on-page text, or even anchor text from a different page. But why? As with most algorithmic changes, we can assume that the reason behind it is to improve user experience overall.

How might this update impact your site?

Although title tags for the majority of webpages will remain unchanged, there are instances where Google will display alternative title tags in order to summarise a page’s content in the most clear and concise way. In fact, following this update, title tag snippets have become shorter too. However, neither of these changes will impact the rankings for these affected pages.

If you want to drive more traffic to your site, you should still write title tags with a view to generating more clicks from search results. And equally, optimising on-page content ensures that it is relevant to what users are searching for. Read more about the ongoing changes to the Google algorithm in our blog post: Google’s cookie stay of execution changes nothing.