The SEO world has been abuzz since Summer 2021, with talk about Google’s latest change in its search engine algorithms to help cut down on spam and provide better search results for users. It was at this point that Google introduced the automatic, AI-driven rewriting of meta title tags.

Who benefits from Google writing your site’s meta titles?

  • Product-heavy sites will do well with this. Imagine you upload 400 different clothing items for sale on your site, with descriptions written for each one. By using AI to produce the titles, you can avoid manually visiting each page to edit. Huge time-saver for SEOs managing e-commerce sites!
  • People with little-to-no SEO experience – an AI-written title is better than nothing!
  • Businesses and individuals with freeware or discount website builders. These often do not allow users the flexibility to make edits, so having Google auto-assign meta titles is an improvement for these services.

Several years ago, Google also stopped showing the meta descriptions written by customers. For many SEOs, this newest change meant a disconnect in the messaging they were sending, and what searchers were seeing.

However, we have some advice to help users still see the title tags that YOU GENERATE. Yes, that’s right, we can still circumvent Google’s edits.

Here is a short guide on how to write meta titles so Google doesn’t rewrite them:

  • Think like an empathetic marketer, not like an SEO. Do not try to “beat the machine”. Just speak directly to your target client.
  • Only place SEO friendly text in the <TITLE> tag – this includes company names, brand names and important product names.
  • Use natural language. Searchers today are usually logged in to Google or Safari, with location tracking enabled, and expect to be able to search for a term like: “Marketing near me” instead of “Marketing agency in Raleigh, NC”. They expect that the search engine knows them already, and can predict their location.
  • Avoid repetition. This should be pretty straightforward. Google understands keyword stuffing and favors concise language. Don’t stuff way too many SEO keywords into the <TITLE> tag or else it can also hurt SEO rankings because Google sees all those ‘redundant words’ as a sign of spam. Again, SEO keywords should be no more than one or two SEO keyword phrases a piece at the most – Google wants <TITLE> tags to read well and not just look like a list of SEO terms.
  • Meta titles should be between 50-60 characters long, including spaces. Google used to recommend 65, but they now recommend less as a best practice.
  • Meta titles should only contain the essential information about the page itself, and match what the user will find when they click. If you just put SEO keywords in your meta title tag, then it will likely show up as ‘not relevant’ in search results pages.
  • Don’t worry about using punctuation, commas or any other characters (other than letters) in SEO meta titles. SEO meta titles are for SEO keywords, not grammar.

Quality SEO isn’t just limited to the <TITLE> tag. Consider changing your whole SEO header and adding a short description about your brand or company.

After submitting these changes, be sure to watch your search pages carefully for any fluctuations. Within about 2 weeks, you should be able to gauge whether Google “liked” your edits, or if you should try something else. Results are different for every site, so be sure to monitor your SEO progress closely with tools (SEMRush, aHrefs, Surfer SEO) or hire a professional SEO agency if you find yourself struggling.