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SEOS, Are You Okay?

July 15, 2021
September 2, 2021
Kelsey Donk

In mid-August, SEOs noticed that their title tags weren't appearing in Google search results as intended — they were getting algorithmically rewritten. What does that mean for organic search strategy?

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News that sent SEOs spiraling this week: Google has started algorithmically rewriting title tags in search results. 

For example, a blog post titled “What Does Woodworm Look Like?” started displaying as “What Does Woodworm Beetle Look Like?” (Emphasis ours.)

It was a solid edit — but for a full week, SEOs didn't know why it happened. 

And, unlike John-Henry Scherck, they worried about it.

What changed?

Last Tuesday, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan published a blog post explaining the following:

  • Google is now pulling the title tags that appear in its SERPs not purely from meta titles, but also from “visual titles” (our read: display titles), H1s, body text, and backlink anchor text.
  • Page titles will no longer change based on search query.

While some cried “dictatorship,” Google has been openly changing title tags in search since 2012. So this is more of an update than a new system.

And Sullivan said users seem to prefer the new system.

What can you do?

Instead of panicking, SEOs and brands can keep focusing on creating title tags (and overall content) that are as useful to searchers as possible.

And if you notice traffic drops due to the new titles, try optimizing your H1s (and requesting a Search Console recrawl).

Kelsey Donk
about the author

Kelsey Donk is a writer at MarketerHire. Before joining MarketerHire full-time, Kelsey was a freelance writer and loved working with small businesses to level up their content. When she isn't writing, Kelsey can be found gardening or walking her dogs all around Minneapolis.

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