One SEO professional asked John Mueller in a hangout about their page title tags.
So, a few days ago: they optimized their page title and description. After this change, they saw the page title and description changed when using the site: search on Google.
However, after a longer period of time, they found that the page title and description were back to the original one in the first place.
Their main question is: Does Google think the former page title and description are better than the one they had optimized?
John explained that he wouldn’t assume that if Google changes to something, that it thinks it’s better and that you should be using that one too. It’s more like: Google selected a different page title for the page. This doesn’t mean that it is better.
Usually, the page title is chosen on a per-page basis. So this would feel a bit weird if they showed one title first, then shifted to another title later on.
It may also just be that they shifted to an older version of the page for indexing and processing in general.
Then, they will shift back to the new version as soon as they can process that properly again.
From this perspective, John wouldn’t see it as a sign that what the SEO professional did was not perceived as being good by Google.
Just that it is being shown like that. One of the things they can do specifically with titles, because they’re based on the page itself and not on the query, is you can submit that page for reindexing and reprocessing. Then, once this is reprocessed, you can look at the title using the site: query search operator to see what the current page title is.
Then, you can use this process to fine-tune the titles that you optimized on your pages and see how Google actually shows this page title.
Does it change the words, does the separator make a difference (do parentheses or brackets make difference as the page title separator) and so on.
Doing this, you can optimize the page title to the best one for Google (and for you).
This happens at approximately the 00:50 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
SEO Professional 1 0:50
Okay, good. So I’ve got one question about page title and description. So a few days ago, we optimized our page title and description. And after that changing, we see the title and description changed when using the site to search in Google. But after a longer while, the title and description has been back to the one in the first place. So in this case, does Google think the former title and description are better than the one we optimized? That’s why it changes or any other possible reason may cause this?
I wouldn’t necessarily assume that if Google changes it to something that Google thinks it’s better, and that you should use that title too. It’s more that our systems have kind of selected a different title. And usually, the title is picked on a per page basis. So that would feel a little bit weird if we show one title first, and then shifted to a different title later on.
So it might also just be that we kind of have shifted to an older version of the page for indexing and processing in general. And then we’ll shift back to the new version as soon as we can kind of process that properly again. So from that point of view, I wouldn’t necessarily see it as a sign that kind of what you did was not, not perceived as being good by Google.
But it’s, it’s just being shown like that. And one of the things you can do, specifically with titles, because they’re based on the page itself now and not on the query, is you can submit that page for reindexing and reprocessing. And then pretty much as soon as that is reprocessed, you can look at the title with a site query to see what is the current title.
And you can use that process to kind of fine tune the titles that you give on your pages and see, how does Google actually show this title? Does it change the words, does the separator make a difference to kind of like parentheses or brackets make a difference? And essentially, kind of optimize the title for what you would like to have shown for that specific page.
And since you’re working on a larger site, probably you have templates that are across lots of different pages. Sometimes you can update those templates as well to use the same things that you learned from optimizing a single page title.
SEO Professional 1 3:37
Yes, we do have the templates, like you said, for our different specific page type. Yeah.
So I think in a situation like this, what I would do is try to see, is Google maybe accidentally switching back to an older version of a page in general? And will it switch back to the new version? Kind of to separate out the aspect of the page title changing and then going back. And then really try – on a per page basis – to figure out what is the best way for you to show titles so that they can be picked up and shown in search?
SEO Professional 1 4:18
Okay, okay, good. We’ll try the method you said. Thank you.