Google is rewriting title tags for a limited amount of pages in search results, often replacing the text with a page’s H1 tag.
It’s known that Google adjusts titles in SERPs by making small tweaks, such as appending a business’s name to the end. But now Google is overriding titles with different text.
SEOs started taking notice of this on August 16, as evidenced by tweets mentioning a “massive” title rewrite on Google.
The scale of title rewrites is unknown at this time, but it’s widespread enough for multiple SEOs to come across it already.
Evidence suggests Google is pulling in text from H1 tags for a majority of these rewrites. However, Lily Ray notes that’s she’s seen Google replace a page’s title with anchor text from an internal link.
In theory, it sounds like Google may choose to grab any relevant text from a page and display it as the title in SERPs. That’s long been the case for meta descriptions, as Google can dynamically adjust the description in search snippets to better match a user’s query.
What Does This Mean For SEOs?
It’s impossible to draw any conclusions about Google rewriting title tags at this time.
Google is known to run A/B tests in live search results, so it’s possible what we’re seeing will go back to normal in the near future.
On the other hand, we may be seeing the initial stages of a permanent change. Assuming for a second this is how Google will handle titles in search snippets going forward, it could end up being a good thing for websites.
The apparent goal of replacing titles is to enhance the relevancy for searchers. If that’s the case, a more relevant title could be more compelling to click on.