Is Matching Title Element to What Google Shows Good For SEO?
Google’s John Mueller recently addressed the question of whether it is advisable to align the title element of a webpage with how Google rewrites it in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Specifically, someone on Mastodon noticed that Google tends to remove the site name from the title elements on webpages. This raised the question of whether including the site name in the title tag is redundant and should be eliminated.
In response, John Mueller advised against assuming that a rewritten version of the title is better for SEO or users. Instead, he recommended keeping the site name in the title tag, as it helps confirm the identity of the website displayed above the title. Additionally, since including the site name is a well-established pattern, Mueller emphasized that there is no need to change it solely for Google’s sake.
When considering what is good for SEO in relation to HTML elements, it’s crucial to refer to the standards defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), as Google largely aligns with these standards. The W3C defines the purpose of the title element as identifying the content of the document in a broader context. It’s important to note that the title element is not an isolated component but represents the entire document.
- The title communicates the overall content of the document.
- The title element is a property of the entire document.
Google’s official recommendations for title tags echo the W3C’s guidelines. Google advises that title elements should be descriptive, concise, and not vague. In terms of branding, it is acceptable to include the site name, but repetitive marketing slogans across the entire site are not considered concise.
Google rewrites titles for several reasons. One common reason is that the original title fails to accurately describe the content of the page. Many SEO sites focus on keyword inclusion in title tags rather than providing a concise description of the page’s content. Google aims to represent and describe each search result appropriately, which may involve rewriting the title element to align with the specific context that the page is being ranked for.
In conclusion, it is not advisable to merely match Google’s title rewrite. Google’s rewriting of titles may be influenced by ranking the page for a subtopic rather than the main topic. It is recommended to have a clear understanding of the webpage’s content and use the title element to accurately represent that content. To gain insight into the appropriateness of the title element, you can utilize tools like ChatGPT to summarize the document in ten words.
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