Google makes the lives of millions of users easier on a daily basis by providing reliable search results for online queries.

However, being the world’s most popular search engine has not stopped Google from constantly updating its algorithms to enhance user experience.

On 24 August 2021, Google announced a change to the process in generating web page titles on the platform. On 17 September 2021, it further explained how the new title tag system would function.

These changes were not only targeted at improving the quality and accuracy of search results. It was also intended to provide clarity to website owners and marketers as to what kind of title tags are ideal.

Changes in the New Title Tag Guidance

Google’s update on title tag generation mentioned that irrespective of the search query, they would look at the main visual titles and headlines that users can see when they visit the website and then generate a web page title accordingly.

Just a little over a month after the update, Google issued an updated Title Tag Guide on how to control your title links in search results.

This update offered clarity to users and removed several ambiguous recommendations from its previous guidance document that confused users worldwide.

One of the first changes is that the “Best practices for writing descriptive <title> elements” sub-heading was changed to “Best practices for influencing title links”.

The updated guide mostly clarifies the meaning of the term ‘headline’. Previously, there was ambiguity concerning whether ‘headline’ referred to the main title of the page or the HTML headings (H1, H2, and so on) or both. The updated guide removes this ambiguity by using the term ‘title’ instead.

The old guidance read as follows:

“Make it clear which headline is the main headline for the page.”

The new guidance now reads as follows:

New tag guidance

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How the New Update Affects Your Website and SEO Strategy

Title tags are HTML elements on a web page that determine what the web page title is and how the same is displayed to users on search engine results pages (SERP).

Even if your page is high-ranking, an accurate title tag is essential to help boost the number of people visiting your web page.

Since these title tags also appear on the top of web browser tabs, they play an important role in deciding how users perceive and remember your web page. That’s why you must create engaging, reliable title tags.

While the words used in the Title Tag Guide from Google have been changed to offer more clarity, the guidance itself has not changed. Therefore, the advice from industry experts also remains the same.

Creating relevant and keyword-rich HTML title tags should still be at the top of your SEO checklist.

Here are quick tips when creating title tags:

  • They should depict what your website offers.
  • Keep titles crisp and short.
  • Don’t repeat keywords.
  • Replace brackets ([]) with dashes (-).
  • Match your title with the H1 header of your web page.

This will help you create user-friendly titles. When you do, not only will Google display your website to more users, you will eventually see a spike in your CTR (click-through rate).

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Make sure to optimise your title tags

Although your web page titles may no longer be fully in your control, creating quality title tags should still be at the top of your list.

Google’s new system is designed to eradicate flaws and errors in existing title tags. If you put in the effort to create meaningful titles that are accurate, your web page titles will simply not be rewritten by the new system.

If you’re opting for any comprehensive online marketing tool, look for robust SEO features that will help you optimise your title tags.