Google Replaces Title Tags

Posted on November 11th, 2022 by nms

In a recent move by Google, the search engine now only shows site names in mobile searches for entire websites, removing title tags. Previously, searchers would see title tags for specific websites, particularly when searching for its name.

The new feature is available only in English, French, Japanese, and German language searches and does not work for subdomains. It will be supported in other languages in the coming months.

Why Google is Replacing Title Tags

The shift is in line with Google’s effort to make it easier for web users to identify specific websites in the SERPs. In particular, Google hopes to simplify the process of identifying websites associated with specific results in mobile searches. 

Currently, Google only supports homepage site names at the domain level, disregarding the subdomain. Therefore, mobile searchers only see a website’s generic name. By shifting to site names, Google hopes to make searches more informative for mobile users.

Positive Outcomes from the Change

The shift from title tags to site names has many benefits for web searchers and site owners. According to Google, switching to site names on mobile searches makes it easier for searchers to identify other websites associated with the results.

Because the site’s name appears in the result, users can quickly identify the right page and navigate it more easily. It undoubtedly makes search results much more straightforward than before. It also has the added benefit of making search more user-friendly in general.

For site owners, there is a significant advantage to having more space freed up in the search result. Over time, this could lead to more clicks on the other listed sites.

Negative Consequences

Like any new feature or process, there are some bugs to iron out in transitioning from title tags to site names. For one thing, it doesn’t always work. When searching for a compound word domain name, for example, typing in “Search Engine Journal” and “searchenginejournal” will return the same results. The title link will be the new site name in this case. 

On the other hand, searches that use the compound word domain name “HubSpot” returns the previous version results, this time with title tags. However, searching for “Hub Spot” works as expected and returns the site name.

Searches for the compound word names “Wordfence” and “word fence” also return the same site name. We can gather from this that Google doesn’t consistently return site name results for specific sites‒HubSpot, in this case‒but does so for several other sites.

Google Recommendation

Developers will, of course, have to make changes to their sites for SEO purposes. Google recommends using the WebSite structured data type, which was previously considered irrelevant. Because Google could readily identify websites for what they were, there was no need to use structured data for indexing.

But the recent change has made WebSite structured data type relevant again. It is because Google now uses the “name” property to determine a website’s site name.

Google further recommends placing WebSite structured data on the site’s homepage, specifically in the root URI at the domain level.

Google Explains

According to Google’s documentation regarding on-site names, structured data is used with on-page, off-page, and metadata information to determine a particular web page’s site name. In essence, Google uses the following to understand site names:

  • Website structured data
  • Title tags
  • Headings
  • Open Graph Protocol metadata, particularly “og:site_name”

It is important to note that og:site_name is an optional property, meaning there is no requirement for identifying the site name. Even so, Google strongly recommends using this Open Graph property.

The bottom line is that many reasons justify Google’s transition to site names. When featured in Google search, the new site names appear more visually attractive when viewed on mobile devices.

Furthermore, using site names reduces clutter in the SERPs when performing searches for home page brand names. While the reduced influence of title tags may disappoint some in these types of searches, the benefits ultimately outweigh the negatives.

About Agency Tsunami

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