The google search engine has become synonymous with searching to the extent that people refer to Google as a verb now. The search results are ranked according to the algorithm whose main goal is to rank websites and show the most relevant page to the user. This algorithm is always a moving target and it is ever-evolving. In fact, the team at Google is always researching ways to improve the overall user experience of users across the globe.
Such an analysis has led them to realize that reviewing the titles of listed web pages is one of the most popular methods that people use for determining the relevance of a particular search result. So basically the titles added for a document by the content writer were given high importance when displaying the result to a keyword that is associated with the said title. So what has changed this last week?
Even before we go right into the matter, keep in mind that title changes by Google have been happening since 2014. Earlier, search queries triggered various titles. The Google algorithm then generates what is shown in search results by pulling information using various page elements like anchor text, headings, and inbound links. So based on the query, the titles for web pages would change.
Now Google has announced a change in this process by introducing a new system where titles for pages gets generated by Google itself. Google has decided to provide titles that serve justice to the documents overall and can describe what the documents contain. They are going beyond HTML texts to create titles that users can visually see when they arrive at a web page and give higher consideration to those content that site owners usually place within <H1> tags or other header tags, the headline showed on a page, and also prominent contents.
The page elements considered for the purpose of title generation are usually texts that include:
● Image file names
● H1 headings
● Image alt text
● Anchor text for incoming links (either external or internal)
Why Bring about this Change?
The main reason to enforce this change is that the HTML title tags mentioned on the page by the developers may not be appropriate according to Google. The anomalies include the following :
1. The Title tags may be longer than necessary
2. The naming of the title tags may be repetitive or irrelevant
3. Overstuffed with keywords in an attempt to rank higher
4. They are not readable or accessible
5. No HTML title tags are found
With the update, Google can understand the content and offer sensible titles rather than the gibberish added by inexperienced creators. Sometimes, they add the website name if it seems helpful to the brand. In other cases, they will truncate the title if they are extremely long to offer shorter titles.
1. Brand recognition: As mentioned above, the move to include the site name in the title suggests that more emphasis on branding is given. Brand recognition is highly important and good content published needs to be associated with their brands.
2. Quality content: More focus will be given to creating quality content on all page elements, especially page titles and headlines. This only means that Google will evaluate the title content and will use your page title if it’s deemed accurate. So it’s time to put your thinking cap and put more emphasis on writing those page titles. Also, check your grammar and spelling.
3. Click-through-rate: Although the new titles given may not immediately have an impact on search rankings, the click-through rates (CTR) may be affected. Some speculations have been made about this on Twitter and other social media sites. To see if the update has any impact on your own site, use Google Search Console to closely monitor the changes in CTR. Compare the data from the week prior to the update and the current week, to better understand if the update is impacting your click-through-rate traffic in any way.
Like all new changes, in order to get it fully correct, it may take some time and cooperation from everyone. Although it sounds perfect on paper, the idea needs to be better polished for flawless implementation. It was quickly identified by some netizens that there have been some embarrassing examples of outdated results being returned for certain keyword searches. A recent example is a search for President Joe Biden, with just the keywords Joe Biden where the top results referred him to as Vice President in the attempt to generate titles that better describe the page. This has since been rectified once it was pointed out.
Thus Google has requested feedbacks from all site owners about the new change and how it has affected their online presence. Filling out the form with details will help them to refine the new process and together increase the quality of search engine results for one and all.
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