Google continues to work hard to refine their methods of determining the best page title to display to users in search results. In their most recent update they hope to give webmasters more information on how they generate search titles and the best practices to ensure your page is found on relevant search terms.
What is a page title?
A page title refers to the HTML title element of a web page. It is also commonly known as the “title tag.” The page title is a critical component of a web page’s metadata and plays a significant role in search engine optimization (SEO) and how search engines like Google display and rank web pages in search results.
The page title is typically displayed as the clickable blue link in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and appears at the top of the web browser’s window or tab when the page is loaded.
How does Google determine what page title to show?
Google has specified that a new system for generating page titles has been implemented. The previous method involved titles changing based on the query the user searched, giving them the most relevant title for the search term. This often ignored or added to the meta title currently on the page.
The new system will not change the title based on the query but create a title that works better for the page overall, helping to describe what the page is about without regard for the search query itself.
Is the meta title field still relevant?
Google has taken the meta title into consideration for some time when generating the search title in the results, however they have gone beyond just the meta title for over a decade. Focusing on HTML text such as the main visual title or H1 as well as the other header tags present on the site, also considering the content that is large and prominent via the use of style elements via CSS.
Meta title tags throughout the internet have often been either very long, stuffed with keywords not applicable to the current page in hopes of driving keyword rankings, or site can lack title tags all together. The most recent update hopes to improve the search results and show users the most relevant title of a page regardless of the search.
Good HTML title tags are still important.
Google has stated that their main advice for site owners remains the same, create great HTML title tags that follow the content of the page and stay within the character limits. This will help to ensure the titles generated by Google are more inline with what they display in search results and content from HTML title tags is still more likely to be used, more than 80% of the time.
Do you need help with content creation and meta tag generation for your site to ensure users see the most relevant information possible? Let our team of Organic Website Optimization experts help you today.