It was announced recently that Google had started rewriting titles within SERPs.
I didn’t see much of a problem with this at first because usually Google get things right in the interests of their search users, and SEOs and website owners always get used to it.
This time, however, I’m not too sure that they’ve got it right.
This one stinks a little bit.
What’s the Deal?
Sometime last week, SEOs began to notice that Google was completely rewriting their beautifully optimised titles within their search engine results pages.
Some noticed that they were instead favouring the H1 tag, which is more natural.
But it seems like it’s only for specific page types right now.
For example, product pages.
I’m almost certain that Google will still be using your optimised title to work out the relevance and value of a page within their search results, but they won’t be display it to users.
What’s the Issue?
From Google’s perspective, I can see why they think this is a good idea.
They know SEOs optimise page titles and work as many keywords in as they naturally can, but still these titles probably look messy and potentially slightly spammy to users (and Google).
The problem is, if users search for a product, how do they differentiate between results?
For example, I have a drop-shipping store in the vaping industry.
Now when I search for a specific product type that I rank for, most of the listings have exactly the same title. Just a raw product title. What is the point in that, exactly?
Are users now expected to differentiate between results based on meta descriptions?
As a Google user, when I am served search engine results, I skim titles to decide which I am going to click. I don’t skim meta descriptions, and I think this is the norm.
So this change completely goes against that natural behaviour.
It actually makes the experience of search users more frustrating if anything.
So What Now?
There have been many complaints from SEOs and site owners, and Google acknowledge that they probably need to do something about it. What that will be I don’t know yet.
Personally, I am hoping they reverse this change after observing feedback.
Is it likely? Potentially not. But I am still hoping.
It’s a change that wasn’t needed and, in my opinion, actually makes the lives of Google users more difficult rather than providing a better search experience.
Is there anything you can do about it as an SEO?
As mentioned above, Google seem to be prioritising the H1 tag when rewriting page titles.
If you still want to feature a unique title in search and stand out from the crowd then it might be worth trying to optimise your H1 tag, although this is a bit of a risky one.
It can look spammy to both Google and users, as well as quite messy on the site.
Let’s see how Google react over the coming days and weeks.
What are your thoughts? Drop a comment below.