The page title tag plays a crucial role in SEO, shaping how Google’s algorithms perceive and rank your content. Altering your page titles can significantly impact your search engine rankings, visibility, and the traffic generated for your primary target keywords, either positively or negatively.
When prospective buyers search for your products, page titles act as a “mantra” for your business. Combined with your meta description and URL, they create a sort of “flyer” that users see and use to decide whether to click on your link.
It’s not uncommon for websites to change the titles of their pages, and we do it, too, often to improve our rankings. Sometimes, we realize that our page titles may need to be more effectively conveyed the message we want, and by modifying them, we can make them more relevant and valuable to users.
Changing your page titles can make them more or less relevant to both Google and the end-user. Relevance is a critical factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, influencing whether users click on your search results. Google uses these user engagement signals to adjust a page’s position on the search results page.
In a recent Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout on February 4, John Mueller, Google’s Search Advocate, discussed frequently changing page titles and their impact on website SEO.
Askash Singh, an SEO specialist, joined the livestream and posed a series of questions to Mueller, including one regarding the consequences of regularly changing page titles. Singh mentioned that he operates a website that updates real-time stock value, necessitating daily adjustments to page titles to reflect the most current stock values. He sought guidance on whether this practice could have adverse effects on SEO.
John Mueller commented,
“I think that’s fine. I mean, it’s something where we wouldn’t give it any special weight if your title tag keeps changing. But if you want to update your titles regularly that’s totally up to you.
The difficulty, I suspect, is more that if you change your titles daily, we might not re-crawl that page daily. So it might be that you change it every day, but in the search results, the title that we show is a few days old just because that’s the last version that we picked up from that page. But that’s more of, I’d say, like a practical effect, rather than a strategic effect.”
Mueller does not discourage the practice of altering page titles daily.
Frequent updates to page titles yield only some SEO advantages, so the decision ultimately rests on whether you believe it provides value to searchers.
It’s important to note that just because you change your page titles daily doesn’t guarantee that Google will reflect those changes in search results daily. Google may update them less frequently, perhaps only once a week or monthly.
If your page titles contain time-sensitive information, such as stock prices, they could quickly become outdated if Google’s indexing frequency is less frequent than your updates.
As a follow-up, Singh wonders if Googlebot might increase its crawling frequency for a site with continuously changing page titles.
You can’t dwell on it, according to Mueller.
“I mean, it helps us to recognize when something has changed, but it’s not necessarily going to happen that we’re going to say ‘oh, we’ve seen this page change every day. Therefore, we will recrawl it every day.’
It might be that we re-crawl it every day, it might be that we re-crawl it every week or every month. So it’s not that the changes that you make with the titles would affect how quickly we re-crawl.”
The Google Search Console’s index report can provide insights into the frequency of Googlebot’s page crawls.
This data can inform your decision regarding the need for daily page title changes.
It’s important to remember that Google takes the liberty of rewriting approximately 61 percent of page titles.
So, even if you update your titles daily and Google re-crawls your pages daily, there needs to be assurance that Google will consistently display your chosen page title.