It’s been a little while since Google began using content headers instead of titles in search results, and over the past month, many SEOs have been left wondering how often Google is actually doing this.
“Title elements are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before,” said Google.
So why the change? Here’s Google’s explanation:
“Since 2012, we’ve used text beyond title elements in cases where our systems determine the title element might not describe a page as well as it could. Some pages have empty titles. Some use the same titles on every page regardless of the page’s actual content. Some pages have no title elements at all.”
Google even went as far as to issue its own guidelines for encouraging the search engine to use your HTML titles.
“Our main advice to site owners about titles remains generally the same as on our help page about the topic. Focus on creating great HTML title elements. Those are by far what we use the most,” said Google.
“Beyond this, consider the examples in this post to understand if you might have similar patterns that could cause our systems to look beyond your title elements. The changes we’ve made are largely designed to help compensate for issues that creators might not realize their titles are having. Making changes may help ensure your title element is again used. That’s really our preference, as well.”
What are your thoughts on all of this? Are you ok with Google using HTML titles most of the time or would you prefer that it leave your titles alone?