This Google title change has been causing a lot of stir in the SEO community. Personally, I think it will eventually blow over, like so many other things. But ultimately most SEOs by far want an opt out feature to force Google to use your HTML title tag over something else it finds on your page or pointing to your page.
The issue I have with a simple to use opt out or meta tag to force Google to use your HTML title tag is that it might be used as a default on popular CMS platforms. So if WordPress, Wix, Joomla and others by default implement this, it won’t solve the problem Google is trying to solve.
Google obviously found a way to make the titles it shows in Google Search better as a whole by using HTML titles less in some cases. Of course, SEOs found many examples of Google’s algorithm getting it wrong. But as a whole, I have to imagine Google would not have pushed this live if it didn’t see an overwhelming positive side to this change.
Heck, a poll from Marie Haynes kind of proves this (most people who are upset take polls, happy people don’t often fill out polls – according to a recent poll ;-P) :
SEO’s, which best describes your experience with the great title tag fiasco of 2021?
— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) August 27, 2021
So if Google adds a simple opt out of this, and people just use it and create really bad HTML titles, it will be an issue for Google who is trying to improve titles in its search results. So do we implement a robots meta tag and/or x-robots-tag for this like Fili Wiese’s poll says?
Do you want to see an opt-out option to be usable with the robots meta tag (and x-robots-tag) which tells search engines to not rewrite the page title (e.g. notitlechange or usetitle) for their SERPs, like max-snippet?
— Fili Wiese (@filiwiese) August 26, 2021
Honestly, if I was at Google, I would NOT do this. What would I do?
I would implement a tool in Google Search Console that first showed you all the pages Google is not using your HTML title tag and then give you a way to opt out in bulk or on an individual basis.
This report would show you the HTML title tag compared to the title Google wants to use. It would show you your CTR before and after the change from Google Search. Then you can make an informed decision if you want to force Google to use your HTML title tag or use what Google came up with.
Plus, most novice site owners likely would not know to use this report and only more savvy SEOs who likely write solid HTML title tags would use this. So it would be a win win.
So I think it should not be a meta tag but rather a Search Console report with a way to force Google to use your HTML title tag.
With that in mind, John Mueller of Google said what will happen soon is more changes and tweaks to what Google did. He said in Friday’s video at the 28:32 mark “I suspect with with all of the feedback that we’ve gotten around title tags what will happen is we’ll do a bunch of iterations in the algorithms. Which on the one hand I think will make things better on the other hand SEOs will always be like oh no more changes. But hopefully there’ll be reasonable changes or changes that you all think makes sense as well.”
John did said on the opt out meta tag concept, “there was also a little bit talk about having some kind of opt-out meta tag or something like that. I don’t know. Personally, I don’t see that happening at least not in the near future because it’s also something that we didn’t really need in the past as well. And making a setting just because the algorithm currently is maybe a little aggressive in that direction
that seems like the wrong approach. Because it should be something we should improve in the algorithm not rely on an extra setting to get a handle.”
Here is that video embed:
Forum discussion at Twitter.