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Google Clarifies its Title Tag Recommendations

Google clarified its instructions for modifying title tags that appear in search results.

Google made changes to the Search Central rules that govern how title tags are displayed in search results. The update clarified and eliminated numerous ambiguities in the terminology that made the guideline difficult to understand without altering the guidance itself.

Google Changes Title Tags

The function of title tags, which are Meta elements, is to explain the subject matter of a web page. They also influence rankings. To make their website relevant for specific search terms, many publishers employ the title tag. Making use of keyword phrases in the title tags is even more crucial in the fact that Google displays title tags on the search results pages (SERPs).

For years, Google changed title tags when its algorithms found more descriptive text than the publisher had included.

In the summer of 2021, the title tag rewrite feature in the search results increased significantly, upsetting the publisher and search marketing groups. Many people noted drops in search traffic, which they attributed to Google changing their title tags.

According to one study, the title tags for more than 61 percent of the search results had been changed.

Changes to Guidance on Title Tags

Control your title links in search results is a novel piece of advice on title tags that Google issued on October 8, 2021. (Archive.org snapshot of original guidance here). The revised title tag advice revisions make it clearer what they intended by “headline.”

The term “headline” is unclear because it could refer to the heading element in HTML or the title at the top of the page (H1, H2, and H3).

It turns out that the word “headline” was used in the guidance’s initial iteration to refer to both the title at the top of a webpage and the HTML heading element (H1, H2, H3, etc.).

Although the page’s title is typically a header element, the revised version of the guidance is clearer, as illustrated below.

Text is shown below:

Make it obvious which headline is the page’s main headline.

The most recent version of the advice is as follows:

Make it obvious which text is the page’s main title.

Here is a portion of the original language that goes like this:

Additionally, it may be confusing if several headlines have the same prominence and visual weight.

The revised text reads, “and it might be misleading if many headings have the same visual prominence and weight.”

Consider making sure that your primary headline sticks out as being the most prominent on the page by, for example, using a larger font or positioning the headline in the first visible h1> element on the page, according to the original form of the third revised phrase.

Consider making sure that your primary title is different from other text on a page and emerges as the most prominent on the page (for instance, by choosing a larger font or by placing the title text in the first visible h1> element on the page, etc.).

As you can see, the explanation significantly improves the guidance’s ability to convey its intended meaning.

The final modification concerns the section that explains how Google chooses the language used in a title link that appears in search results.

Google Title Tag Guidance Clarified But Not Updated

The advice itself is unchanged, as was stated at the opening of the post. What has changed is that the paper is now substantially clearer and less unclear.