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Google Guides Us on Enhancing Title Optimization for Search Results

Google has recently updated the page on title tags in Google Search Central. The new sections provide insights into how website developers can influence the display of title tags by adhering to best practices.

But what exactly are title tags, and why is it crucial to adhere to Google’s guidelines on them? Keep reading to find out.

What Is A Title Tag or Link?

The meta title is the text visible on search engine results pages (SERPs) and also appears on browser tabs. Other terms for meta titles include title tags, page titles, meta title tags, and title links.

Here’s an example of what a meta title looks like:

The text below the URL and hyperlinked in blue constitutes the meta title.

What Is A Meta Title For, And Why Is It Important?

For both internet users and search engines like Google, a title tag’s purpose is to convey the content of a page. Meta titles inform Google and other search engines about the information on the page and its relevance to specific search queries.

For website owners and search engine optimization (SEO) specialists, the significance of a meta title differs slightly. The title link serves various functions.

Firstly, if you aim for your page to feature on the first page of Google search results, you must optimize all of its elements, including the meta title.

Furthermore, meta title tags indicate to online users whether your content aligns with their query, influencing their decision to click on your page when they encounter it on a Google search results page. Additionally, meta titles appear on social shares, underscoring the importance of ensuring they are both engaging and optimized for SEO.

Another reason meta titles hold importance is that they present branding opportunities. Within the confines of Google’s regulations, you can include keywords and your company’s name in page titles, which can enhance your online presence and augment your SEO endeavors.

Meta titles must, at the very least, be accurate, pertinent to the page’s content, legible, and easily accessible. To enhance the click-through rate (CTR), titles should also be attention-grabbing. This is a substantial ask for a brief snippet of text, but a technical SEO expert can make it effective.

In fact, SEO professionals and website owners usually invest substantial effort into crafting title tags. This can be laborious, especially for websites with numerous pages.

Hence, it can be disheartening to realize that Google’s algorithms have modified the title tags that were meticulously constructed.

Why Is Google Altering Page Titles?

In August 2021, Google announced the development of a new system that autonomously revises or modifies Google title tags for web pages. While Google has been fine-tuning title tags since 2012, their approaches to generating title tags have evolved.

The process is now entirely automated. According to Google, it factors in both the page’s content and its mentions from other sources online. The new system aims to create a title link that accurately describes each result on a Google search results page, thereby enhancing the user experience.

Moreover, in the past, Google relied primarily on HTML text to formulate Google title tags. Now, it also takes into account the text that humans see when they visit a web page. This includes headlines enclosed in header tags like <H1> and <H2>, as well as text that stands out due to stylistic treatments. Google may also extract text from the following:

  • Content within <title> elements
  • The primary visual title on the page
  • Anchor texts
  • Text within links pointing to the page

With Google’s revision to their rewriting system, it’s anticipated that the likelihood of your title tags being abbreviated, altered, or revised will increase if they are:

  • Excessively lengthy
  • Overloaded with keywords
  • Blank
  • Contain boilerplate text like Home, Services, and Contact
  • Include repetitive language, such as using the company name as the title tag for all pages on the site

Taking Command of Your Title Tags

Google has disclosed that you can “indicate your preferences” by adhering to their best practices for title tags. Fortunately, you don’t need to be a technical SEO expert to enhance your chances of meeting Google’s criteria. To get started, follow these suggestions:

Utilize the <Title> Element

This might seem obvious, but it’s a common oversight for some individuals, especially those who have built their websites using templates or DIY tools, to neglect using the <title> element. Ensure that you denote a line of text as a title by enclosing it in the <title> element so that search engines can recognize it.

Be Distinctive

Avoid employing repetitive, ambiguous, or boilerplate descriptors like “Contact” for your contact page and “Blog” for your blog page.

Keep it Clear and Concise

Extensive titles can get truncated on a Google search engine results page. Google doesn’t specify a maximum character limit, but it advises keeping title tags concise as they may get shortened based on device width. Some SEO experts recommend limiting titles to 60 characters, as most phones, tablets, and computers can display up to this length.

Incorporate Keywords Sparingly

Google discourages stuffing titles with keywords solely to improve rankings in SERPs. Instead, use keywords judiciously and avoid excessive repetition. For instance, a title tag like “High Heeled Shoes High Heels Heeled Shoes Shoes With Heels” may come across as spammy to both search engines and users, offering little value.

Avoid Title Repetition

Google advises against using identical titles for distinct web pages. Assigning the same text as titles to multiple pages can confuse users. Moreover, it’s not recommended to try circumventing this by modifying just one or two words in boilerplate text within a title element.

For example:

“Oatmeal Cookies: Recipes, Videos and Tips” and “Chocolate Chip Cookies: Recipes, Videos and Tips.”

A more effective approach is to employ title text that accurately describes the page’s content. Therefore, if the Oatmeal Cookies page doesn’t contain recipes, the word “recipes” should not be included in the title element.

Effectively Brand Your Titles

Some websites employ the brand name as the title for all pages. As mentioned, Google disapproves of having two or more pages with identical title text. A workaround suggested by the search engine is placing the brand name at the beginning or end of the title text, separated by a hyphen, pipe, or colon.

For instance:

<title>Cookies R’ Us: Place an Order <title>

Or

<title>Place an Order | Cookies R’ Us <title>

**Clearly Identify the Title Line**

Google doesn’t solely rely on the title element to ascertain a webpage’s title. It also considers the primary visual title, headings, and other instances of prominent text. To ensure that a specific line of text is unmistakably recognized as the title, make sure it stands out visually. For example, you can place it within the H1 element of your page or use a larger font size.

Employ Robots.Txt Wisely

Robots.txt should only be used to prevent search engines from crawling a website. It does not always prevent pages from being indexed, especially if another website links to them. Google cautions that if pages are blocked from being crawled by robots.txt but are linked to by an external website, Google may use the website’s anchor texts as the pages’ meta titles.

If you want to prevent Google from indexing a page on your website and from using other websites’ anchor

 texts as your meta title tags, you should use the noindex rule instead of robots.txt.

Use the Same Language as Your Website Content

If your website primarily operates in Spanish, ensure that your titles do as well. This is because Google endeavors to match the language and writing system of the title to that of the content on a page. If the language or writing system of the page and its title don’t align, Google might select a different line of text as the title.

Next Steps After Updating Your Titles

Once you’ve adjusted or refreshed your titles in accordance with Google’s best practices for title tags, you can either wait for the search engine to crawl and process your pages again, although this process may take a few weeks.

Alternatively, you can request Google to index a few URLs through the URL Inspection tool. For multiple URLs, it’s more efficient to submit a sitemap. Employing a technical SEO service provider to handle this for you ensures timely reinspection of URLs and saves you time.

Addressing Common Challenges in Title Links

Adhering to Google’s best practices for title tags might seem straightforward, especially if your website has only a few pages. However, generating creative, catchy, and unique titles can be challenging, particularly for websites with numerous pages.

It’s also vital to keep an eye on your titles in case Google automatically alters or shortens them despite your best efforts. If this occurs, you’ll need to revisit your previously written tags, revise them, and either wait for Google to re-crawl the pages or submit a request for reindexing.

Leadshouse: Your Partner in Digital Marketing

Leadshouse is a reputable digital marketing agency equipped with a team of technical SEO experts and content writers specializing in on-page SEO services for businesses of all sizes and industries. Our SEO consultants handle the task of creating and monitoring your title links, along with various processes aimed at enhancing your website’s SEO and content.

A pivotal component of our on-page SEO services, a technical SEO audit enables us to pinpoint areas for improvement in your website’s SEO and ensure its compliance with the guidelines of major search engines like Google. Meanwhile, our metadata analysis involves scrutinizing and optimizing your title tags, keywords, alt attributes, meta descriptions, and robots tags to ensure they bolster your SEO performance rather than hinder it.

As part of our SEO content writing services, our team crafts compelling, high-converting content complete with title tags and metadata that align with Google’s policies.

Discover more about Leadshouse’s technical SEO services and SEO content writing services, and learn how we can optimize your website for increased high-quality traffic and conversions. Get in touch with our SEO consultants today.

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