Google explains why it made the title change to the search results

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Search Engine Land reports that Google said it went from using your HTML title tag 80% of the time to 87% of the time in the past couple of weeks.

Google has confirmed that it not only made a change to what title it shows in the search results but also disclosed how much of a change it actually was. For the past few weeks, Google said it was using your chosen HTML title tag 80% of the time. Now Google said it is using as-is title tags 87% of the time, a seven-point increase:

"Title elements are now used around 87% of the time, rather than around 80% before. 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 then listed off other reasons why it won't use your HTML title tag:
  • Half-empty titles (" | Site Name")
  • Obsolete titles ("2020 admissions criteria - University of Awesome")
  • Inaccurate titles ("Giant stuffed animals, teddy bears, polar bears - Site Name")
  • Micro-boilerplate titles ("My so-called amazing TV show," where the same title is used for multiple pages about different seasons)

Google also provided some guidance on how to encourage the search engine to show your HTML titles:

"Focus on creating great HTML title elements. Those are by far what we use the most. 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."
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