Why Page Titles Matter
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• Google reminds webmasters that page Titles are used in SERP real estate.
• Optimized page Titles are a basic SEO best practice but are sometimes overlooked.
• Write concise, descriptive Titles. Avoid repeated or boilerplate Titles.
Google recently reminded webmasters that page Titles matter and are an important part of the search results displayed. Why did Google write another post about “better page titles in search results” when the majority of webmasters already know that relevant descriptive Title tags are an important component of a properly constructed Web page?
The short answer is that people do not always follow the basic principles they know are correct. Oftentimes this is a result of the fact that webmasters find themselves pulled in multiple directions. Thus, when developing a complex website, descriptive Title tags are frequently no longer the top priority. On many occasions a webmaster’s client is more interested in meeting specified deadlines and how a page renders in the browser. The inevitable result is that since clients do not care as much about taking the time to look at the source code to see if there is a descriptive Title, neither do many webmasters.
However, Google primarily uses the tag, if one exists, to display the hyperlinked headlines users’ see in the search engine results pages. Since that is the case, this is likely a reason Google elected to spend the time to remind webmasters of the value it places on page Titles.
But for some pages, a single title might not be the best one to show for all queries, and so we have algorithms that generate alternative titles to make it easier for our users to recognize relevant pages. […] Other times, alternative titles are displayed for pages that have no title or a non-descriptive title specified by the webmaster in the HTML. […] Another common issue we see is when a webmaster uses the same title on almost all of a website’s pages, sometimes exactly duplicating it and sometimes using only minor variations. Lastly, we also try to replace unnecessarily long or hard-to-read titles with more concise and descriptive alternatives.
Google provided further encouragement to use <title> tags by encouraging a visit to their updated help center that contains their page detailing best practices to use when constructing a <title> tag. As a follow up, Google proceeded to remind webmasters that if either a page’s title is not descriptive or does not exist then it will use an algorithm to display a title it deems most appropriate to users. A warning is also added to that Google is more likely to replace duplicated titles across WebPages, titles that contain only minor variations, and <title> tags that are needlessly lengthy.
The bottom line and takeaway is that even certain seemingly small and fundamental components such as page titles still matter. Therefore even though there is much more involved in SEO as the search landscape continuously evolves, it is important not to overlook the basics by placing an exorbitant amount of effort on the other and newer factors.