Page titles have a big impact on CTR because they provide important context for search engines, but a recent study shows that Google rewrites page titles more than 60% of the time.
A recent study analysed more than 80,000 title tags from 2,370 sites to determine how many site title tags were used in search results. They found that the search giant rewrote at least some part of 2/3 of the title tags.
More evaluation showed that distinct factors contributed to the chances of a title tag rewrite. Google’s objective is to supply consumers with the greatest title tags to provide context for what the webpage includes. If the title tag just isn’t up to par, Google’s algorithm changes it.
This is usually aggravating for site owners and search engine optimization professionals, who invest a good deal of time creating the perfect title tag. Google’s modifications ranged from a solitary term to a complete rewrite of the title tag.
Factors for page title changes
There is hope for websites that want page titles to be used as is. The study showed that some factors increased the likelihood of Google rewriting the title tag, but that doesn’t mean following these rules is a guarantee.
Titles too short or too long
The ideal page title length is between 50 and 60 characters. If the page title is too long, Google truncates the search results, which leads to a bad user experience, and short headlines don’t provide the information users need.
Of the more than 2370 websites analysed, Google rewrote over 95% of the extremely short and long title tags. Page titles with more than 70 characters were changed 99.9% of the time, and titles from 1 to 5 characters were changed by 97%.
It makes sense that Google rewrites extremely short and long page titles to provide a better understanding of the website content. The ideal title length was 51-60 characters, which were only changed between 39 and 42 percent of the time.
Brackets and parentheses
Many websites use brackets and parentheses to make page titles stand out, but Google is much more likely to change the title if you use parentheses. The search engine changed the page title in brackets 77% of the time and completely removed the words in brackets 33%.
Parentheses fared much better at 62 percent, comparable to most headlines, and only about 20 percent of the team removed the words in parentheses.
Title separators like colons, pipes, and hyphens are common ways to split titles, but Google isn’t a fan of the pipe. The study showed it replaced or removed the pipe 41% of the time, but only removed the dashes 19.7% of the time.
Changing the pipe was most often removing the pipe and replacing it with a dash.
Google is all about information, so using too many keywords, the same titles for multiple pages, and unnecessary use of brand names have regularly led Google to make changes.
Can you stop Google from making changes?
SEO experts and website owners often create specific page titles and want them to show as is, but there’s no way to guarantee Google won’t change that. In a recent Twitter thread, Google search analytic John Mueller said a mechanism is unlikely to become available to stop Google from changing metadata.
However, there is a light at the end of the metadata tunnel. H1 tags are an important ranking factor for Google, and matching H1 to title, even containing commonly modified factors like pipes, reduced the likelihood of rewriting to 20.6%.