Google switched to a new title generation system around August 17th 2021.

In the past, Google displayed the HTML title tag as the title (large blue copy) and the meta description tag as the description (smaller, black copy beneath the title). Your title and/or description may have been updated based on the specific query if they thought it better served the user. There is a much higher likelihood of a description change than a title change. If the title changed, it is most likely just truncated.

Their new system for producing and displaying titles has been introduced.

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What changes has Google made to the way titles are displayed?

  • The importance of page text will continue to rise for Google
  • A specific query is generally not taken into account by Google

Text on page

On some pages, Google uses the main headline displayed on the page (often the H1 tag or an H2) as the title displayed.

Titles may also include other text from the page, such as anchor text of a link pointing to the page from another page.

Specific Query

According to Google, “Before this, titles might change based on the query issued. The new system will generally prevent this from happening. The new system is producing titles that, regardless of the query, describe the documents better, regardless of what they are about.”

Find out more about the title display change on Google’s blog

Why has Google changed how they will display titles?

It is not always possible to describe a web page adequately through its HTML title tag.

The title tag is sometimes auto-generated, resulting in long article titles or nondescript “Home” or “Untitled” titles.

However, it is not just these extreme cases that are being updated.

What is the impact of the title update?

The HTML title tag will still be used more than 80% of the time, according to Google.

This update was intended to provide the user with the most relevant description of the page, but there have been some initial bugs.

There are more title tags than HTML in use

Isn’t it better to always use the HTML title tag? We began going beyond the tag significantly in 2012 for the same reasons we explained back then. Title tags in HTML don’t always describe a page well. A title tag may include:

  • Rather lengthy.
  • Creators mistakenly believe that adding a bunch of words will make the page rank better, so they stuff it with keywords.
  • Title tags are missing entirely or contain boilerplate language. Home pages, for example, might simply be called “Home”. It is possible for a site’s pages to be called “Untitled” or simply the site’s name.

It aims to produce more readable and accessible titles for pages. It may be necessary to add site names in some cases. If a title is extremely long, for instance, we might select the relevant portion rather than starting at the beginning and truncating useful parts.

Title tags are still an important part of HTML

This recent change will be reflected in our longstanding help page about titles soon. On that page, we still offer the same advice to site owners. Make your HTML title tags stand out. Among all the ways we create titles, HTML title tags are still by far the most likely to be used, more than 80% of the time.

The titles we generate will not always be perfect, as with any system. We appreciate any feedback you provide in our forums. Based on your feedback, we are already making changes to our new system, and we will continue to improve it. Testing shows that the change we’ve made produces titles that are more readable and preferred by searchers than our old system.

What are clients seeing?

Several clients have had their titles updated. What we are seeing is reflected by the 80% rule.

As of now, we have only seen titles change from HTML titles to H1 titles with branding.

No misleading information has appeared in a title for a client. Although, we have had spammy titles appear due to all lowercase letters in the title. Due to the styling of the H1, an all-caps headline resulted because the H1 was coded without casing in mind.

What actions need to be taken?

Improving the way Google displays your site title and description

Actions needed to improve the way Google displays your site’s titles.
If your SEO agency hasn’t already handled this, you should:

  1. View how your titles are currently displayed

    To see your results, enter “” into Google.

  2. Make sure your H1 tag summarizes the page correctly

    Maybe now is an appropriate time to refresh these which may already have been completed.

  3. Code your heading tags to match your brand’s case style

    When styling your heading tags to display in all caps or all lowercase, make sure they are typed in the case style you want to be displayed in search results (title case, sentence case, etc.).

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