Google Title Tag Update Casualty
Search marketer Lily Ray tweeted about a casualty from Google’s update. She noted that clicks declined by over 60,000 in the past week.
The site didn’t lose rankings, the average position stayed the same.
The conclusion is easy, the site lost traffic because Google rewrote the title tags.
Lily Ray Calls Google’s Update Titlepocalypse
1st significant casualty of the Google titlepocalypse:
This is a subfolder on an ecomm site where <title> tags switched out for <h1>, making them look a lot worse on Google.
CTR declined by .6% and clicks declined by over 60k in the past week!
(avg position stayed the same) pic.twitter.com/6hl9YdqhlC
— Lily Ray 😏 (@lilyraynyc) August 25, 2021
all the other possible variables are not related to that decline?
— Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick) August 25, 2021
Wrong Location in Title Tag
Because there have been so many complaints, Google has created a Webmaster Help Forum thread where publishers may report problematic title tags in search results.
Google was rewriting title tags and using the erroneous location, according to one publisher with a local type site with various locations.
A user will not click on the search result if it shows a city location that is not the one they are searching for. Having the wrong location in the SERP title is negative because a user will not click on the search result if it reveals a city location that is not the one they are looking for.
The discussion post states:
“Hello, the latest change to titles is not properly representing the ‘brand attribute’ of the title. You are appending – AAA Northern California regardless of the location of the search. This business operates in multiples states outside of the Northern California region. CTR has dropped significantly in these instances.”
Google Mangles Health-Related Titles
A particularly bad implementation of Google’s Title Tag update is in the health sector. Google is adding the word “vaccination” in the title for pages that are about an illness but not about the vaccination for the illness.
Last week, we introduced a new system of generating titles for web pages. Here’s the rundown on how it works: https://t.co/tgOGR8y8Ww
— Google Search Central (@googlesearchc) August 25, 2021
Here is one of those topics that seems small, & gets zero wide media coverage, but affects everyone reading this tweet in a small way every day, and in theory happens 5,443,200,000 times every day.
You can see it here, as spotted by @lagringaeterna. Can you spot it?
— dan barker (@danbarker) August 25, 2021
Jennifer Slegg, a search marketer, recently tweeted about Google incorrectly capitalising SERP headings, resulting in an uncomfortable appearance with lower case phrases mixed in with upper case terms.
One of the weirdest things about the title tag update in Google is I am seeing far more titles with no capital letters, even for the first letter, and it looks so odd. pic.twitter.com/iBaCWdAfzu
— Jennifer Slegg (@jenstar) August 21, 2021
Screenshot of Lower Case Titles
Screenshot of Web Page Showing Upper Case
I checked the code of the web page and the mix of upper case and lower case in the title does not exist on the page. The awkward appearance of the title in the SERP is entirely the fault of Google’s algorithm.
Was Google’s Title Tag Algorithm Rushed?
Because the publishing and search communities have reported so many problems, it’s tempting to believe that this algorithm upgrade was not fully tested.
Thousands of search quality ratings are said to exist on Google. One would expect that some of these flaws, particularly in the sensitive areas of health and medicine, would have been discovered and corrected prior to the update’s release.
Is this a sign that Google is a little too confident in its algorithms?