Google Will Now Change Title Tags in Search Results if Needed

November 18th, 2009

Your meta description tag is a short description used to describe each page on your website. Although most major search engines do not use it to determine where your website ranks in their search results, they do use it in their search results to give searchers an idea of what your page is all about.

A good meta description tag can entice searchers to visit your website, over some of the other listed results. Basically it’s used to quickly grab the attention of a searcher so that they click your link in the search results.

For years, if you left out a meta description tag, or your meta description tag did not properly describe your page, Google would attempt to find more relevant snippets in your webpage content. of course, this caused a problem because now you have no control over what’s displayed in Google’s search results. Leaving it up to a computer (Google’s indexing software), means you never know whether or not it will entice people to click your link, or even if it would make sense.

Recently, Google has started doing the same thing with Title tags. Title tags are what you see at the very top of your web browser when you visit a webpage. They are probably the most important on-page optimization you can make on each of your webpages. If you leave your title tag out, or if you do not have a title tag that accurately describes your webpage, Google will attempt to change it to something more relevant. Of course, this causes the same issue with the meta description tag.

A good title tag has the following characteristics;

  • It accurately describes what is one the corresponding webpage
  • It is between 60 and 120 characters long
  • It includes 2-3 keywords or keyword phrases that you want to rank well for
  • It’s different for every one of your pages

You can watch Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, talk about this change below.

With a free Google Webmaster Tools account and XML Sitemap, Google will give you advice and feedback on all your title and meta tags. Just check your Google Webmaster Tools account and click the Diagnostics tab and then the HTML Suggestions tab on the left hand side.

For iWeb users, make sure you use iWeb SEO Tool to add unique title tags and meta tags to each of your pages to properly follow Google’s guidelines.

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