John Morgan, Director of Analytics and SEO for MHP/TeamSI, sits down for a discussion about Google’s recent updates to the way it selects its page titles in its search results. To avoid a potential loss in click-through-rate (CTR) and organic traffic, it’s important to understand the changes being made.
Google just updated the way their search results work again. The new update can dramatically impact the organic traffic to your site. What they’ve started to do is take the liberty of rewriting the page title element, which is a very important on-site and ranking element. The “page title element” is usually the blue link text that appears in search engine results, so that means this update also impacts the click-through rate from organic search. That’s why it’s important to keep this update in mind, and to keep monitoring your organic traffic.
Google is now going to be grabbing content from the page to use as its page title element text. They’ll be pulling from headings, ALT text, and even content scrapped from the page, with no clear pattern.
They may try to rewrite the page title as it appears in search engine results, which could drop click through rate, or it could increase click through rate. What’s recommended right now is for everybody to keep an eye on the appearance of their page titles and search engine results, as well as keep an eye on the organic traffic to their site to see if it has any dips or suspicious activity.
As of right now, there is no way to opt out of this feature. It appears that Google is mainly targeting titles that are too long, use pipes, or titles that it thinks does not reflect the content of the page.
For pages that have been affected by this change, it’s recommended that you update the meta title to accurately reflect the page and avoid “keyword stuffing”. Republish the page, request a recrawl from the search console, check the SERP to see the title change, and then just monitor to make sure it doesn’t change again.
And if it does, then definitely let us know, or what you can do is you can start to look at your page titles and try to rewrite them and manually submit the pages back to Google and see if that helps, but definitely keep in touch and keep an eye on this channel and we will keep you updated as best we can.