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Google updates guidelines for page titles

Google has updated its guidelines for writing page titles, and although none of us will need to go back to the drawing board, the tips are certainly worth bearing in mind.

There are six main points:

  • Make sure every page on your site has a title
  • Write descriptive and concise text for your titles; avoid vague descriptors like “Home” for your home page
  • Avoid keyword stuffing – there’s no reason to have the same words or phrases appear multiple times.
  • Avoid repeating text in titles for each page on your site
  • ‘Brand your titles’ concisely, so e.g. just your site name at the beginning or end of each title, separated from the rest of the text with a delimiter such as a hyphen, colon, or pipe
  • Be careful about disallowing search engines from crawling your pages

We’ve already mentioned here how Google has started to rewrite our titles and show something else in the results in certain cases. The new guidelines hint at the reasons why, including:

  • Clearly half-empty titles (e.g. with just the site branding part)
  • Out of date titles not reflected by the page content
  • Inaccurate titles not reflecting the page content
  • Repeated titles not reflecting the page content

There’s also a link to give feedback if we’re not happy with what Google is showing.