In the last week of summer, on 27 August, Google has made a new change to the way it displays search results. Google search title tags change from the text you wrote in the website backend of each web page. From now on, the Google IA will create the title tags displayed on search result pages, by crawling the content and summarising what it is about.
Why Did Google Search Title Tags Change?
In a blog post explaining the decision, the Google team has explained that they wanted to improve the way these title tags appear in SERPs. They found out that most HTML title tags used by website content authors are:
- Too long
- Stuffed with keywords
- Missing altogether
- Repetitive, “boilerplate” content for related pages.
Since Google’s mission is to refine and improve the results selected for search queries, the company decided that Google search title tags need a makeover. The Google team believes that by letting the AI create these title tags, users will have a clearer view of what the page is about.
Which Websites Will Experience the Google Search Title Tags Change?
The author of the blog post, Search Liaison specialist Danny Sullivan, goes on to say that good HTML title tags will continue to be the best practice for content writers and webmasters.
This means that if you did your due diligence and created good, readable meta titles for each webpage, you will likely see no difference in the way it is displayed in SERPs. However, if you are missing HTML title tags, or they do not meet Google’s length and quality criteria, the Google AI will create Google search meta titles for all the pages affected by this issue.
Should You Start Optimising All Meta Titles Right Now?
“Will this change impact my SEO strategy?” We can almost hear all of our readers asking this question. The only answer we can give is the one posted by Google’s John Mueller on his Twitter page.
He says that the new Google search title tags will have no influence on your page rank, in the sense that the ranking algorithm will not take into account the new keywords generated for these titles.
So, should you start changing all your HTML title tags? We don’t advise doing so. You may inadvertently hurt your current rankings. Of course, we encourage you to perform a quick SEO audit and check for:
- Missing HTML titles
- Keyword stuffed titles
- Titles exceeding 60 characters.
How to Check If Your Google Search Title Tags Have Changed
The first warning sign that your Google search title tags were changed by the search engine is a sudden drop in clickthrough rates. If you experience this issue, you can use various third-party tools to check.
Here are our best picks for you:
Ahrefs is a great tool for generating long tail keywords and monitoring your organic keywords, as well. There is no magic button to show you Google search title tag changes, but the manual process is simple.
Go to the Site Explorer menu, select the Organic Keywords 2.0 tab and select Target only. Then, toggle between the date of August 27 and a previous date. You will be able to observe the differences between the title tags Google displays on search result pages.
2. Rank Ranger
If you use the SEO Monitor tool offered by Rank Ranger, you will first see a graph chart showing the page rank changes from day to day. Below this chart, the tool displays a list of all the changes made to the meta title or meta description, together with the date when the change occurred.
Any change that happened after August 27 is a Google search title tag generated by the search engine AI.
Finally, if you want a really simple tool to find changes to your Google search title tags, Sistrix is the right choice for you. Use the navigation panel on the left side of the screen and find the SERP Snippets function under the SERP category. Click on the ‘Show title changes” button (yes, it is THAT simple) and you will see these changes.
Any words coloured in red have been deleted from the title tag and any words coloured in green have been added by Google.
What Does This Change Mean for Your SEO Strategy?
We are used to the idea that Google will keep changing the way it ranks and displays websites. These changes are mainly dictated by the users’ choices and behaviours. Google more or less holds the monopole in the field of search engine and does not plan to lose it.
The fact that they will optimise the way Google search title tags appear in SERPs means that the company is committed to delivering meaningful and relevant search results. In this context, it is more important than ever to make sure that every bit of text on your website is properly optimised.
As this change proves, even the so-called invisible texts (meta tags, meta descriptions, etc.) are important. Right now, the Google search title tags generated by the AI do not impact your SEO strategy. But we don’t know what the Google team will decide in the future. Thus, our best advice is to perform a SEO audit of your website and make sure that every single part meets the Google ranking criteria.