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Google Title Tag Update: Change in Titles/Headings does not affect the ranking

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We are sure a lot of you SEO folks are already aware of the chaos in the industry regarding Google rewriting Title Tags. However, for those who are unaware, allow us to be the first ones to inform you about the buzz surrounding the issue for the past couple of weeks. 

Google has recently rolled a testing algorithm where Google picks what Title Tag it wishes to display on the SERPs. Many SEO professionals are already unhappy about this. They are also curious to know if the recent change in Title Tags affects the current rankings of the website. Well, the answer is NO!

John Mueller – The search Advocate at Google, recently confirmed this in one of his Twitter interactions.

Kevin IndigDirector of SEO at Shopify asked, “If Google rewrites my title, does it take into account the keywords in the title when it measures the relevance of a page based on the new or old title?” which John replied, “No”. John further added, “It’s purely a display change. It’s not about changing rankings. It’s easy to sort things out for testing.”

Apart from this, Lily Ray – Senior Director, SEO & Head of Organic Research at Amsive Digital, also pointed out certain speculations surrounding the SEO industry.  Many people have come to the conclusion that the change in Title Tags only resulted in H1 Tags switching to Titles. This is not true as Google stated, it does a lot more than that.

Below are some examples shared by Lily Ray in her recent tweets:

Here’s an example where Google Rewrites Title from the File Name of the Hero Image.

An example where Google decides to show Different Title Tags on Different Devices

Signs where Google shows Punctuations could also be a Factor for Rewriting Title Tags 

This is not the first time where Google has decided to test the snippets on SERP. Below are some of the past alterations conducted by Google:

  1. Pixel Limit: The limit for how much content can be displayed within a Title Tag or Meta Description can vary from one device to another. There are still certain pixel limits that are followed by SEO professionals (often simplified to just ‘characters’). Google can sometimes make the pixel limit longer or shorter for each metadata element that is unknown.
  2. Meta Description Modification: According to a study conducted by Portent, where they examined search results for 30,000 keywords, it was found out that Google rewrites meta descriptions for pages over 71% on mobile devices and 68% on desktop. Google’s John Mueller shared three reasons why Google rewrites meta descriptions:
  • The first reason is a poor use of a meta description that does not summarize the content present on the web page. 
  • The second reason is to accurately match the search query with the web page, especially when the content is missing a part of the search query.
  • The third reason is when Google tries to match the search query with the content, but the match isn’t made in the meta description

So, the conclusion is that the titles written by you may still be taken into account by Google when it ranks results. So, don’t stop optimizing your titles just because of this change. Google constantly rolls out ranking changes to encounter rankings fluctuations; however, they will not be because of Title changes.

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