In August 2021, Google announced that it would begin rewriting some title tags on the SERP. Some marketers are perfectly fine with Google taking the wheel, but some are not happy with them (plus, it’s happening very frequently).
But what can you do to prevent Google’s rewrites of your precious titles? Here are 10 things you can do:
- Keep Your Title Length In Check: Google’s desktop results have a display limit of 650 pixels, so aim for between 51-60 characters.
- Match the Title Tag to the H1: When the title is different than the H1, Google may choose to use the H1 instead.
- Don’t Break the Title Into Sections: It’s common and tempting, but it leaves room for Google to choose one part of your title to remove. You should write your titles in more sentence-like language.
- Use the Right Title Separator: If you must separate your titles, Google’s favorite separator appears to be the simple, short “-” en dash.
- Use Parenthesis Instead of Brackets: Google also seems to prefer (parenthetical) text to [bracketed] text.
- Use Keywords That Match User Search Queries: The more generic your title is, the more likely it will be rewritten. Check the top keywords users search and include them in your title.
- Avoid Repeating Keywords: Keywords are great, but Google can sniff out when you’re “stuffing” them into titles. Use synonyms!
- Avoid Irrelevant Boilerplate: “Boilerplate” is the non-unique text used across multiple pages like brand names. Only include it when relevant to a page.
- Don’t Publish Half-Empty Titles: Duh, right? But marketers are still leaving empty titles or aren’t making them descriptive enough.
- Keep Your Titles Up-To-Date: Check your titles after every content update.
Maybe you aren’t too concerned but would like to be notified: Ahrefs has a flag for “Page and SERP titles do not match.” Check out the full Zyppy article for real title examples.