Algorithm Rolled Out: August 17, 2021
Algorithm Summary: Overall Gist
Google is betting big on user experience.
Google’s obsession with optimizing the user’s search journey — from entering a search query to landing on the correct page with the best possible content quality, relevancy, and load speed — has grown with the introduction of Core Web Vitals and a slew of other user-centric updates.
And the most recent meta title update is no exception. After all, reviewing the titles of listed pages is one of the foremost ways people determine which search outcomes are relevant to their query. Let’s look at the update, its impact, the tools you can use to analyze your title tag, and some expert opinions on this new update in this post.
What Changes Did Google Make in Their New Meta Title Update?
Previously, Google used metadata to display title tags more relevant to a searcher’s query. Google announced a new system on August 24, 2021, that can generate titles for web pages in a revamped way. The system will know to focus more on accurately describing what a page is about rather than adapting to the search query. Regardless of the query, the new system aims to return titles relevant to the page’s content. Google is now using the page’s text content to generate relevant title tags.
“We are using text that humans can see when they arrive at a Web page in particular.” We consider the page’s main visual title or headline, the content that site owners frequently place within H1> tags or other header tags, & large and prominent content through style treatments. “As well as text about links that point to pages, other text on the page may be considered,” explained Danny Sullivan in the announcement blog post.
Furthermore, the most recent system update means that title elements are used around 87% of the time, up from around 80%.
The Effect of Website Changes
This update only affects the visual aspect of the SERPs, so your CTR may be affected but not your ranking positions. That is, if Google rewrites a page’s title tag with something that does not match the page’s context, users may scroll past the result, decreasing CTR.
However, a decrease in CTR can indirectly have a long-term impact on your rankings.
So, what are your options? Let’s hear some expert advice based on their own experiences.
Is it a big deal if Google rewrites your title tags? Not exactly. Most experts agree. For nearly a decade, the search engine has been doing so; the only difference is that their system is now attempting to craft titles that work better for documents overall—to describe the contents of each search result better regardless of the specific search query. Furthermore, Google admits that its dynamic title-creation system is not and will never be perfect. They continue to welcome webmaster feedback to improve the system, and their main advice to website owners remains the same: “Concentrate on creating great HTML title elements.” “Those are by far the most commonly used.”
Overall, the key takeaway is that all you can do is try to craft user-optimized HTML title tags that outline your page’s content and address the searcher’s concerns. If you do that well, Google will likely base its rewrite on it (or not rewrite at all!).