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Today Danny Sullivan, Google’s Search Liaison, has posted on the Google Search Central Blog, a piece on the Page Title Update Confirmed by Google, followed up by a Tweet at 1.55am UK (5:55pm PDT 24/8/21).

New System for Generating More than HTML Titles

Google has confirmed that the changes we were seeing in the titles appearing in SERPs during the middle to end of August 2021 is “a new system of generating titles for web pages” based on what Google thinks the page is about, “regardless of the particular query”.

To generate the titles they are “making use of text that humans can visually see when they arrive at a web page“, particularly the “main visual title or headline“, ie the <H1>, other text on the page, and anchor text.

Google says that this is because many title tags don’t describe pages very well, are too long, keyword-stuffed, contain repetitive ‘boilerplate’ text, just contain the site name, or aren’t populated at all.

What does this mean and what should you do?

Google insists that sites should still “Focus on creating great HTML title tags” and that the title tag is still their most commonly used way of generating titles for “more than 80% of the time“.

Essentially, this means that if you wish to retain control of your pages title’s, you need to write relevant, well optimised, concise and unique titles which are consistent with the page content, headings and anchor text describing the page, all of which should form part of any good technical optimisation process.