Google has confirmed that it not only made a change to what title it shows in the search results but also disclosed how much of a change it actually was. For the past few weeks, Google said it was using your chosen HTML title tag 80% of the time. Now Google said it is using as-is title tags 87% of the time, a seven-point increase: “Title elements are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before,” Google wrote.
Why the change. “We’ve used text beyond title elements in cases where our systems determine the title element might not describe a page as well as it could. Some pages have empty titles. Some use the same titles on every page regardless of the page’s actual content. Some pages have no title elements at all,” said Google. The company then listed off other reasons why it won’t use your HTML title tag:
- Half-empty titles (” | Site Name”)
- Obsolete titles (“2020 admissions criteria – University of Awesome”)
- Inaccurate titles (“Giant stuffed animals, teddy bears, polar bears – Site Name”)
- Micro-boilerplate titles (“My so-called amazing TV show,” where the same title is used for multiple pages about different seasons)
- and more.
If you noticed changes to your click-through rate from the Google search results, it may be related to these changes. Hopefully, those changes are positive since it is a win-win for Google to provide titles that its searchers want to click on. If not, Google said it will keep making improvements. It’s critical that SEOs continue to provide feedback on the adjustments to the title tag system as well as any changes that play out in real-time.